French Exchange Student Enjoys His Time in the U.S.

Can you imagine being in school from 8:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. and having 16 subjects throughout the week to study for? Senior exchange student Jules Schaison certainly can.

Schaison’s first name Jules is pronounced J-oo-l, and he comes from Fontainebleau, France, where school days are 8.5 hours long and 16 required classes are rotated throughout the week.

Schaison was in for quite the surprise when he arrived in Alaska and he believes the biggest shock was indeed the environment of Dimond High School.

“The teachers are more friendly here, they’re even friendly with the students. It’s not like that in France,” he said.

He arrived in September and will leave in late June.

“The best part of being here has been having time to practice sports and really just time to do things I want. In France we end school at 5 and then we have homework and dinner so there isn’t much time for fun,” he said.

He also has enjoyed being able to use English since it is a required subject from kindergarten until senior year.

“In high school you can choose between learning German and Spanish but everyone has to take English at the same time if they choose one of those once entering high school,” he said.

Dimond High School French and Spanish teacher Aline Hopkins said “Since Jules has been here, I’ve definitely noticed an improvement in his English and since I’ve also lived in France I can speak fluently to him in french and he’s beginning to be able to speak fluently with me in english.”

Schaison thinks the worst part for him about being here has been the weather. Where he’s from snow is rare and cold weather comes, but is mild compared to what he has experienced in Alaska.

He was also disappointed that he was unable to join Dimond’s football this season.

He was excited to be able to play a sport that was connected to his school since in France, schools don’t have organized sports. They only have sports through outside clubs.

Football is not a well known sport in Fontainebleau, France.

“It’s not very popular, a lot of people just think of it as rugby, and the others don’t know about it. The most popular boy sports are soccer and tennis,” he said.

All of Schaison’s friends in France participate in either soccer or tennis, which he has tried, but never liked more than Football. Eventually he hopes to play for Nebraska.

Hopkins said “I definitely think Jules is unique for being interested in football since it’s not very popular there.”

Another hard thing for Schaison has been connecting with his parents back in France.

“France is 10 hours ahead, so if I call my parents, I do it in the morning, when they’re getting ready for dinner” he said.

Speaking of dinner, Schaison said “My favorite place to eat in Anchorage so far has been Moose’s Tooth” where he joined Hopkins for his birthday dinner.

“I enjoy the United States more than France and I’m happy to have had the opportunity to come here. I hope to return for college next year,” said Schaison.

“We’re happy to have have him at Dimond,” said Hopkins.