Eve Marbot takes on the American experience as an exchange student

Standing near the top of the aluminum bleachers at the first football game of the season, sophomore and foreign exchange student Eve Marbot realized that this was the high school experience—the American experience—and the basis of every great teen movie ever.

When chants of “Go home freshmen!” erupted though, the reality of the somewhat scary experience kicked in, and Eve realized she had been incorrectly seated the entire time. 

“There are no high school sports [in France],” Eve said. “The first game, I was in the freshmen section. I didn’t know there were sections, and I was being yelled at. I didn’t know everyone would scream at freshmen.”

High school sports play a major part in American social events. In her new environment, this helped Eve integrate into her new community. 

Eve decided to join the crew team, and she is more than happy with that decision—as well as what she has discovered in the sport.

“I feel like it made me connect with people easier and faster,” Eve said. “I have friends from crew who I still have right now, because right now it’s not crew season anymore, so I just want to stay connected with those people because I got really close to them really fast. Usually, a big problem with being an exchange student is making friends because you are the new person in the high school, but being in the sport really helped me make friends.”

In France, the opportunity never presented itself for Eve to participate in crew. Fortunately, even upon her first go at it, she thoroughly enjoyed crew. Eve plans on participating for the duration of her time spent in America. 

The American Adventure Club is another place Eve finds herself spending time. In being a foreign exchange student, finding herself a group of friends began as difficult, but she found success in the endeavour here. Foreign exchange students get the opportunity to meet and partake in activities as a group. So far, the festivities have included a visit to New Salem Haunted Corn Maze and a Friendsgiving.

In an effort to bridge the gap between these new students and the resident student body, Eve has one main ideology: “Come and talk to us, because we can be shy.”

Many reasons fuel this so-called “shy-ness.” Initially, there was a major barrier that Eve viewed as much more problematic upon arrival: the language.

Speaking with Eve, I was surprised and almost unbelieving when she declared that upon arrival to the states, she had not been entirely fluent. 

In an effort to bridge the gap between these new students and the resident student body, Eve has one main ideology: ‘come and talk to us, because we can be shy.

“It’s mandatory to learn English [in France],” Eve said. “I started learning English in first grade. I wouldn’t say I was bilingual coming here, but I was almost fluent. I feel like I am fluent right now. English is the international language, so we have to learn it. I feel like anywhere in Europe, everyone learns English.”

Even though this seems like something that would be intimidating or frightening, Eve was most looking forward to becoming bilingual in this experience. 

“I’ve wanted to be an exchange student for four years because of becoming bilingual, discovering another culture and just having friends in another country,” Eve said. “It’s interesting—just finding another place where I know I can go and I know people and I can be safe.”

This isn’t Eve’s only go at learning more languages though. Chinese and Spanish fluency are also in the works. Chinese poses a struggle, but Eve believes with the basics she understands, she could hold certain conversations about certain topics in a respective manner. And though her journey with Spanish has been slightly less satisfactory, it is impressive nonetheless. 

Taking Chinese Two as one of her electives as she navigates FHC, Eve finds her classes to be rather easy; not to say that isn’t ok with her.

“School is really easy compared to France,” Eve said. “I took pretty easy classes because my main goal coming here was not to work a lot to be honest. We have a lot more homework. A French typical school day is from eight [a.m.] to five or six [p.m.]. It’s really long.”

By taking this opportunity and seizing it for all that it is, Eve is working to take all she can from this “American High School” experience

“Honestly, it kind of looks like the films,” Eve said. “I feel like I’m in a movie. The high school looks exactly like the movies, so it’s pretty much what I expected. Everything is interesting because it is really different from France. I feel like every day I am learning new things about America.”

But, Eve was quick to tell me the people have made this once in a lifetime opportunity all that it is to her, and she is thankful for all of the people who have not made her feel like “the new girl.”

“The people I meet here [are the best part],” Eve said. “I would just say I hope they stay in my life because they are really nice.”