Justine Le Page
Last month I interviewed Penelope Chirolde, the first TEEN-ACIOUS teen to appear on my blog to talk about a few activities she is involved in. One of the things she mentioned was the pending arrival of Justine Le Page, an exchange student from France who will attend Providence and live with the Chiroldes this school year. Penelope and I both thought Justine would be a great candidate for an interview, so I am pleased to have her here today. (If you are interested in becoming an exchange student or hosting one, you can check them out at PAX.org.)
LP: Hi Justine, and welcome to America. I hope your introduction to our country has gone well. Tell us a little about yourself and your family.
J: I come from a small village, Montigny-l’ Allier(272 inhabitants), outside of Paris. I have an older step-sister and step-brother who do not live at home. My dad is a business owner and mom was a medical scientist, but she quit work when I was born.
LP: I understand you were in the states last summer with the French organization SILC (School of International Letters and Cultures) https://silc.asu.edu/ whose goal is to “provide students with a variety of educational experiences that prepare them for life and citizenship in the modern world.” Tell us about that.
J: Yes, last summer I stayed in Washington, DC for three weeks. I took courses in the morning and toured around the area to see such things as the White House and the Capitol building in the afternoons. My parents and I also went to New York City where we saw the play “Chicago” and did a lot of shopping, too, at places like Victoria’s Secret, Hollisters and Abercrombie and Fitch.
LP: Tell us how you became interested in coming to America as an exchange student? Was it something you always wanted to do, or an idea that you recently started pursuing?
J: I was interested in becoming an exchange student since I was in the ninth grade, but of course I was too young then. I just signed up this past year, which was my sophomore year.
LP: What classes are you taking, and are you and Penelope taking any classes together?
J: None of my classes will transfer when I get home, so I will repeat my Junior year. Here I am taking two Junior classes, Honors English and American History, and three Senior classes, Swimming, Principles of Business and Finance, and Theater. I don’t have to take Math or Science since I am an exchange student (yeah!) Penelope and I don’t share any classes but we eat lunch together.
LP: How does our class structure differ from yours?
J: In France you choose from several tracks—Economics, Literature, or Science—and I have already chosen Economics. I am particularly interested in politics and journalism within that category.
LP: You’ve only been here a couple of weeks. What are your first impressions?
J: Providence is much bigger than my school in France. There my friends and I knew each other a long time because we grew up together. I notice that there are social groups or cliques here, but I have felt welcomed. The teachers here seem very nice and more caring or personable than my teachers in France. The teachers here seem like they want to help more than the teachers at home. The dress code and cell phone use is stricter here than it was in France.
LP: What genre do you like to read? Do you have a favorite author or two?
J: I read Hunger Games and saw the movie and I also read and saw The Fault in Our Stars. At home my favorite author is Guillaume Musso, who is a very popular author of psychological fiction in France.
LP: Have you given some thought to colleges and possible careers?
J: I am interested in going to Columbia University or NYU and studying journalism, possibly pursuing news reporting. I am also interested in becoming involved in politics someday, maybe even holding an elected office.
LP: What do you hope to gain from this year in America?
J: I really hope to learn to speak English better. At home my mother used to speak some English and my dad didn’t speak it at all. Mostly I have been motivated on my own to learn it because of my interests in journalism and business. I hope I can mature through this year and realize some new things about life.
LP: Thanks for giving us your thoughts, Justine. It sounds like your school year here has gotten off to a great start and I wish you every success in your future academic career.
Justine and Penelope
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