Je parle français et un peu de l'anglais. If you don't speak French, you probably have no idea what the first sentence of this story says. And that is ok. But imagine what it would be like if the whole story or whole newspaper were in French or another language you barely knew. The first sentence says, "I speak French and a little English." For foreign exchange student Angelique Rambaud, 17, this was her reality when she moved to Macon.
Rambaud was selected as a Rotary Exchange student and came to Macon from Annecy, France, on August 23.
"The idea of the program is that if everyone were to immerse themselves in another culture there would be a better opportunity for world peace," said Rotary President Stephanie Wilson. "I think that Angelique has done a great job at such a young age to experience as much as she can. She is willing to try anything American."
Rambaud lived with Rick and Karma Tucker and then moved in with Karla and Matt Theriac just before Christmas. Karla recalled when she first met Rambaud.
"Her English was so limited that we ended up using our smartphones to translate. We showed her the translation to ask all those questions you ask for the very first time which was very interesting," said Karla while recalling the memory. "And now there isn't a conversation that she does not understand."
Language was one of the main reasons Rambaud decided to come to America.
"I hated English in school because I had a bad teacher," said Rambaud. "But the next year, I fell in love with the language. So I came to America to learn how to speak english."
Rambaud says the move was hard at first, but after two months, the transition started to get easier. The biggest transition—school. In France, students stay in the same classroom throughout the day and the teachers rotate. Also, there are no celebrations in French schools such as graduation, homecoming and prom.
"No celebrations," said Rambaud. "School is just for school. Our celebration is just a big test over the last three years of school that decides whether you can go to college."
But English wasn't the only thing that brought Rambaud to America. She also wanted to discover new people and new cultures. And on June 13, Rambaud will embark on a 28-day U.S. tour.
"I'm really excited about it because I will get to meet a lot of people," said Rambaud. "I'm dying to see New York. It is famous in France."
She will be touring with approximately 50 other exchange students.
"She is just so sweet," said Karla. "She is just such an honest, hardworking school student. She is probably one of the best foreign exchange students they have had in years."
Page 2 of 2 - After Rambaud's tour, she will return to France for her senior year and plans on attending college for sales.
"I want to travel and work for an American International company as a french correspondent," said Rambaud. "That is why I needed to learn English."