New exchange student enjoys school enthusiasm

Foreigner explores United States, adjusts to American education system transition


Sarah Luna

Maelle Baffert works on problems with a partner in Algebra 2 class.

Maheen Anjum, Features Editor

In France, teachers go to their students’ classes instead of kids rotating between rooms across campus between every period.

So when the bell rang for the first time, Maelle Baffert, an exchange student from France, was forced to get used to the typical American class change schedule routine.

“Life here in America is so different from home,” Baffert said.

Being a new student in another country can be a difficult transition.

Baffert, who is 16 years old, said she is here in the United States to explore and develop a good understanding of English.

Baffert came to the United States just a week before school started. Born and raised near Lyon, France, she decided to become an exchange student. Baffert lived in France her whole life and now she wants to have the time of her life in the United States.

“My parents didn’t want me to go away but I wanted to experience something new and to start my adventure,” Baffert said. “I filled out an application to become an exchange student.”

She was raised with a different schooling system where the teachers would switch classes instead of students. Another difficult task that she was forced to get used to was not getting two weeks off of school every two months. In France, students go to all 8 classes everyday. Also the school is divided so that the only time to see students that aren’t in their own grade level is during lunch.

“I was so lost for the first few weeks of school, finding classes and not knowing how much time you have left to get to the other side of the school,” Baffert said. “It would be so much easier if teachers switched classes instead of students.”

Despite the French culture Baffert left behind, she is already trying out new things and adapting American culture and traditions. She joined the school’s golf team and is very excited to play and compete with others.

“I really like golf,” she said. “It’s very relaxing.”

In France, Baffert hasn’t experienced much school spirit because they don’t have school sports teams.

“If you want to do a sport you’ll have to do them outside of school,” Baffert said.

She said she enjoys pep rallies and football games as well as the educational opportunities in the United States. She said she would consider living here if she has the opportunity in doing so.

“In the future after my graduation, I plan on living here in America because I love how life is here and how people are super friendly and independent,” Baffert said.