Not So “Foreign” After All

Exchange visit proves people are people


Courtesy Photo

Jordan Saussier - Exchange Student from Lyon, France

Emma Coe, Contributor

Recently, my family hosted a French exchange student in our home for two weeks. His name is Jordan Saussier and he is a sophomore at Lycee St. Marc School in Lyon, France. The exchange was arranged through Boston College High School, my brother Zachary’s school, in a program where my family hosted Jordan for two weeks in April, and then Jordan’s family will host my brother for two weeks in May.

During his stay, he and his French classmates not only attended classes with BC High, but also toured many landmarks and attractions throughout Boston, such as the Freedom Trail, Harvard University and the Museum of Fine Arts. Jordan had the option of visiting either Pittsburgh or Boston, and says he chose Boston because of its role in American history.

In Lyon, Jordan lives in a small house with only his mother, so coming into a home with a family of six was different for him. But, he loved being with a large family, and enjoyed our loud dinners and interesting family chats. Surprisingly, Jordan spoke English very well after taking it for five years in school, making it easier for him to fit right in with our family.

I couldn’t help but laugh when he began to eat the cheeseburger with a knife and fork!”

— Emma Coe

I realized almost immediately that teenage boys are just about the same no matter where they live, as he was mostly interested in sports and food. When he and the other French students went to Quincy Market in Boston, he ordered mac and cheese in a restaurant, and for the rest of his stay, he ate mac and cheese at every opportunity. One night, we went out to eat and Jordan ordered a cheeseburger. I couldn’t help but laugh when he began to eat the cheeseburger with a knife and fork! He then explained to us that it is very impolite in France to eat with your hands. We assured him that it was perfectly fine to go ahead and pick up his cheeseburger.

While Jordan was with us, he attended the Red Sox home opener, a Bruins game, and he even willingly attended an all-star cheerleading competition, which was completely “foreign” to him as he had never seen cheerleading in France. He really enjoyed all of these events, but said the best part of his stay way being part of an American family. Now that he is back home in Lyon, we keep in touch with him almost daily and my brother is looking forward to his trip to Lyon.

Before Jordan arrived, I was a little nervous while anticipating his stay. I did not know if I would be able to communicate with him, if I would know what to say, or if he would enjoy doing the things that my family does. However, my fears were alleviated almost immediately as I realized that it does not matter where you are from, what language you speak, or how you live; teenagers are teenagers, people are people, and the similarities that we share are much more important than our differences. This is a valuable lesson to learn and one that everyone in the world could benefit from.


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