Interview with Mélanie, exchange student at Nazareth College in the US
Mélanie Mahé is a second year student in Graphic Design at LISAA Rennes. She is spending a term at Nazareth College, Rochester, as part of her collaboration with the American university. Here is our interview with her.
LISAA: WHAT LED YOU TO DO AN EXCHANGE ABROAD?
Mélanie: Most certainly a sense of curiosity and the desire to discover another culture, to move and discover THE thing that everyone talks about – whether positively or negatively! Some friends had left for the same exchange last year and they came back delighted. So I said to myself, why not?
I love travelling—thanks to my parents I have visited lots of places—and it was an opportunity to leave for a long time, to a country I didn’t yet know, and, what’s more, by myself. I wanted a change and to gain experience. And I don’t regret it at all!
WHY THE US?
Firstly, it was the exchange country that was suggested! Rennes is twinned with the town of Rochester and I was offered the chance to go to Nazareth College.
That’s what creates the culture shock and this fascination for this country
Mélanie Mahé, exchange student at Nazareth College (NY)
And then it was because I was intrigued. Even if we feel like Americans live just like us and there won’t be a big culture shock, in reality, there is! They may well have a Western way of life like us, but so many things are different and that’s what creates the culture shock and this fascination for this country.
Studying with a different way of teaching, learning new references… The fact that I know the language also played a big part, and then if I could also improve, even better! Above all, in the type of profession I’d like to go into, English is very important.
WHAT DID YOU GAIN FROM THIS EXPERIENCE?
Considerable weight gain and a love for litre-cups of soda! No, but seriously, it was a real shake-up, in a very positive sense. I improved my English, advanced in my studies, discovered a new culture and also gained more personal things, too.
I feel like I have grown up a lot. Finding yourself all alone for four months on the other side of the world is quite strange: no parents to help you physically if any problems arise, your friends are far away—you have to rely on yourself. In addition to the American culture, mixing with students from other countries teaches you about cultures from around the world– Japanese, Italian, Spanish, we were all together! There is so much to learn about yourself and others.
The saying ‘travel broadens the mind’ is only too true!
Mélanie Mahé, graphic design exchange student at Nazareth College (NY)
To sum up, I’d say that the saying “travel broadens the mind” is only too true!