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Foreign Exchange Student Hopes American High School is like the Movies

Lucile Grolez-Eerc was just a sophomore in high school when she was first swept away by the seas of the American Dream. She grew up in Bordeaux, France, watching all the stereotypical movies about the American high school experience, particularly ones like High School Musical and The Breakfast Club. It was through these movies that she felt the pull of the United States, knowing that one day she would want to visit.

This does not mean there are not growing pains though, as Grolez-Eerc explained there are some definite culture shock moments to adapt to. One of the main ones is the meal times back in France are much later than here in the States; dinner is usually from 8-9 at night compared with the usual 5-6 p.m. dinner times here in Wisconsin. She also really misses “real bread” in her day-to-day mealtimes. Ultimately it seems as though she is optimistic about these changes, as she sets goals for her next year here in the United States. 

Photo by: Evan Olson

According to Grolez-Eerc, the rumor is true — everything is bigger in the United States. She exclaims that the school is “so big” and that her classes at home are usually half the size of the ones here at Neenah. It does not overwhelm her though, as the student and explorer plans to make as many friends as possible while she stays at Neenah. 

Another big plan of Grolez-Eerc’s is to remain fluently bilingual, as she takes a French class here at the NHS not only to learn a new dialect unknown in her home country, but to maintain her level of French. She does not want go home confused. As Grolez-Eerc calls it, ” a little refresher on my home language.” After all, casually stumbling upon a French conversation in Neenah is about as likely as finding a gorilla in the street.

Grolez-Eerc’s host family, the Balistarris, are no strangers to Neenah. Her host mother, Jannine, used to be a teacher at Neenah before moving districts, and her host father, Mike, is a culinary teacher at Fox Valley Technical College. They have two boys, who are five years old and eight years old. Needless to say, Lucile feels at home with this family, and cannot wait to see what else she can discover in this new world. 






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