Up until August 13th of this year, Clara Vadeboin lived in France with her parents and cat, Banquise. Clara now lives with the family of Sanford student Campbell Flaherty (‘16) and attends Sanford as a junior. Having studied English for about twelve years, she feels semi-confident about her prowess in the English language.
“Of course,” she says, “I sometimes have difficulty with the language. It’s not easy to learn a language, and to pronounce and understand words correctly.”
Clara’s first time in America has led her to draw insightful comparisons between America and France. She has taken note of America’s particular optimism and positivity in a diverse and different culture.
“People in France have a reputation for being rude and not very welcoming,” she laughs, “but, like everywhere else, it really depends on people. In America, people are much more tolerant and do not make fun of others even if they are different.”
In France, students take many more required classes and go to school from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.. French high school students must take a test to obtain a diploma called the BAC in order to go on to college. Clara calls the French system of education “really stressful and harder than in America.”
She also has quite a lot to say about the food. The French tend to eat a lot more vegetables and bread at each meal, and save sweet, unhealthy beverages and food for special occasions.
“French food is really varied and balanced. We consider meals to be family time, so we don’t eat whenever and wherever we want.”
Clara and her family live in Bourg en Bresse. The town in Eastern France is close to Switzerland. She misses many things about her home, including her family and friends. Clara also misses tending her garden and the ability to walk to places instead of driving everywhere. Her favorite aspect of American life is the variety of people, landscapes, and opinions that exist in this country.
“I like the “chaleurosite” of American people,” she says, describing companionship and geniality.
The 17-year-old loves to play field hockey, read books, hike, cycle, shop, and watch movies during her free time. Among her many talents are skiing, cooking, acting, and gymnastics. Her passion for traveling originates from her desire to discover new things and people. She looks forward to learning new things during her time abroad and is fascinated by life in a foreign country.
“America,” she says, “has the absolute desire to be different.”