French stu­dent to spend year in Cov­ing­ton

The Covington News - - Front page - JOY BRATCHER jbratcher@cov­news.com

Six­teen-year-old Priscille Faure, from Lyon, France, chose to take a leap of faith this year and spend an en­tire school year in the U.S. with peo­ple she never met for the op­por­tu­nity to study abroad. She is cur­rently stay­ing with Sharon Lord and her daugh­ter Solange who vol­un­teered through the PAX Aca­demic For­eign Ex­change pro­gram to be Priscille’s host fam­ily for the year.

“We were able to choose from ap­prox­i­mately 30 students,” said Sharon, who is also a PAX co­or­di­na­tor. “I got to read their bios and es­says they wrote to why they would like to come to Amer­ica. I also was able to look at their grades as well. Solange and I chose Priscille be­cause we thought she would be a per­fect fit with our fam­ily.”

Solange was equally ex­cited to wel­come Priscille into their home.

“I am look­ing for­ward to

Priscille be­com­ing a part of the fam­ily and be­ing a sis­ter to me,” she said.

Priscille first be­came in­ter­ested in the pro­gram af­ter her many trips to Amer­ica with her fam­ily. When she learned she had been cho­sen to come to Amer­ica, she im­me­di­ately be­gan to study up on her U.S. His­tory.

“The goal of my trip is to learn per­fect English and be­come com­pletely bilin­gual,” she said. “I know most of my English from be­ing taught at school, but I want it to get bet­ter. I also want to learn more about Amer­i­can cul­ture and am look­ing for­ward to meet­ing new peo­ple.”

While Priscille would have nor­mally been in eleventh grade in France, she is a year be­hind in the U.S. due to many dif­fer­ences be­tween the two school sys­tems. She will be in tenth grade at East­side High School as one out of four for­eign ex­change students at the school.

“School is very dif­fer­ent in France,” she said. “We start school in Septem­ber and get out in June. We also only go to school from 8:30 a.m. un­til 12 noon on Mon­days, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fri­days. On Wed­nes­day, we go to school from 1 p.m. un­til 6 p.m.”

In Lyon, students go to school for six weeks and have a two week break in re­turn. Priscille’s year in the U.S. will cause her to be a year be­hind in France, but she said it’s worth it.

“I won’t get to grad­u­ate with my friends, but a year in Amer­ica is worth it all,” she said.

To get to Cov­ing­ton, Priscille had a five hour car ride with her fam­ily to the air­port in Paris and then catch a plane from Paris to NYC to At­lanta spend­ing a to­tal of 16 hours on a plane. France is six hours ahead, but she said she didn’t have a prob­lem get­ting over jet lag.

She ar­rived in At­lanta Fri­day evening on July 27 where Sharon and Solange were at the gate wel­com­ing her with open arms.

“We got spe­cial per­mis­sion to be able to be at the gate when Priscille got off of the plane,” Sharon said. “I called Harts­field Jack­son air­port and ex­plained the sit­u­a­tion to them, and we were able to get spe­cial passes. I didn’t want Priscille to have to worry about mak­ing her way through the air­port by her­self or have the fear, ‘Oh my good­ness, I can’t find them.’ It worked out for us though be­cause we got to be the first peo­ple she saw when she stepped off the plane. It was great!”

Priscille was equally as glad that Sharon and Solange was able to greet her at the gate.

“It wasn’t my first time fly­ing by my­self, but I was so ner­vous that I was very glad they were able to be there when I got off the plane,” she said. “Their wel­com­ing was per­fect.”

Sharon’s birthday was the day af­ter Priscille ar­rived. She con­sid­ers Priscille to be a spe­cial per­son whose ar­rival was the best kind of birthday present.

“It was great, she was able to be here in time to cel­e­brate my birthday with us,” Sharon said.

Sharon, Solange and Priscille went to Johnny’s Pizza af­ter the big wel­com­ing where Priscille had her first bit of cul­ture shock. In France, cit­i­zens aren’t al­lowed to take home their food they have a restau­rants; there­fore, when Sharon asked for a to-go box, Priscille didn’t know what she was get­ting.

“It was so weird for me,” Priscille said. “I was like ‘You get to take your food home here?’ They thought it was funny.”

Priscille said be­tween ar­riv­ing to the U.S. and ex­pe­ri­enc­ing her first day of school in a for­eign coun­try, she was more ner­vous when she started her first day of school.

“I was much more ner­vous be­lieve me,” she said. “It was hard for me not to get lost, and my class­mates talked re­ally fast when they would be telling me things or ask­ing me ques­tions; there­fore, I had to ask them to re­peat them­selves a lot since I couldn’t un­der­stand them.”

Priscille is hop­ing to be a part of the 2012-2013 EHS swim team. She has been swim­ming as far back as she can re­mem­ber and has par­tic­i­pated and won sev­eral com­pe­ti­tions in France.

“I re­ally like just swim­ming for fun though,” she said.

As part of the PAX for­eign ex­change stu­dent pro­gram, students are re­quired to be fully im­mersed in the host’s coun­try’s cul­ture. There­fore, Priscille’s fam­ily and friends can­not come and visit her while she is in the U.S., nor can she visit them dur­ing breaks in the school year.

“It’s go­ing to be hard not to be with them on my birthday or on Christ­mas, but they will be in my thoughts,” she said. “I’m re­ally go­ing to miss not only my par­ents, but my lit­tle brother and best friend as well.”

Priscille and her fam­ily and friends plan on hav­ing many Skype con­ver­sa­tions dur­ing her stay in Cov­ing­ton.

“I still don’t re­gret any- thing about com­ing here,” she said. “I’m sure even­tu­ally fur­ther into my trip that I will be­gin to miss my par­ents and brother a whole lot, but I’m look­ing for­ward to ex­pe­ri­enc­ing Amer­i­can cul­ture.”

Priscille will re­turn home to Lyon at the end of May.

For more in­for­ma­tion on how you can host a for­eign ex­change stu­dent or how you or your child can be­come a for­eign ex­change stu­dent for the next school year go to pax.org.

Am­ber Pittman /The Cov­ing­ton News

Priscille Faure (mid­dle) will stay with Cov­ing­ton res­i­dents Sharon Lord (left) and her daugh­ter Solange dur­ing the 2012 school year.

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