Tell me about your hometown.

Monistrol-sur-Loire is a big city. Well, for me, it’s big. Here, it’s kind of small. I’m from a super tiny village near there, and I mean, village — no city council: just houses, hills and cows. I was born in the big city, and I go to school there, but it’s about 30 minutes away from home. For me, St. Joseph is huge.

How did you go about choosing Western?

Right now, I am in an exchange program. So basically my school narrows down every possible school that has my same major, and Missouri Western was the only choice for my major if I wanted to come to America. I could have gone to Europe or somewhere else, but I knew I really wanted to go to the U.S.

Why did you know you wanted to come to the U.S.?

I love the U.S.; I don’t know why, but I’ve always wanted to come here. And now that I’m here, I don’t want to go home. I want to stay here. It’s way more open and exciting. It’s not all about rules.

Did you always want to do an exchange program?

Maybe since I was 12. I was like, ‘I want to live in the U.S. someday. I don’t know how. I don’t know when, but I want to go there.’ But I was never really planning on it being with school. I was just planning on moving here after I graduated. Everything just ended up working out with the exchange program. I also knew that I didn’t want a big town. I’m from a really small community, so I knew I wouldn’t like somewhere like Miami or New York City. Missouri is perfect.

How did you prepare to come to Western?

I made sure before I left that I was into it. I wanted to make sure that I knew what to expect. For me, it’s the worst if I am expecting something and it is the complete opposite. I also came here completely on my own. I was Googling and looking at maps. Funny story — I had never taken a plane alone before. I usually travel with friends or family, but this was the first time on my own.

What were your expectations of Western or the U.S.?

I have always been attracted to the U.S., but there are some things that I discovered after I came here — things that are different but in a good way. The French culture is very individualistic. We have personal space, and we definitely don’t overlap our personal and private lives. In America, everything is mixed together, and everything is super close. For me, it’s good, though. The U.S. is more based on being a community. When I go home, I think I might cry, because for me, it’s sad to think about not living like this.

What are the main differences that you see between French and American culture?

French culture has a lot of rules. French people also get offended so easily. American people rarely get upset. It’s so hard to make Americans angry about anything. I feel like I am [American]. France will always be home for me, but I feel closer to American culture. I feel more myself here.

What are your future plans?

I will be graduating right when I go home this May, and I am planning on coming back to Missouri Western for my master’s degree. I don’t want to go back home. I love it here. I feel so comfortable, so I am hoping that everything will work out. I want to work and live here. I see myself staying in the United States.

Tell me about being an international student.

Missouri Western has a lot of international students. It’s great, but I really wasn’t expecting it. So since I was always with international people, I always had help. I never had to struggle on my own. One struggle though was the culture shock. I didn’t know how to behave at first, but after breaking the ice, it was fine. I like this school, because it’s small but not too small. I am used to the accent and the pace now. I really love it here.