Jaurès N'guessan is a 21-year-old student from Université François Rabelais in Tours, France. He is currently living in the United States as a student at Bucknell University and is a TA for Professor Dixon’s 104 level French classes. He takes classes in the School of Management and hopes to become as fluent in English as possible by the end of the year.
Where are you from?
I’m from Paris, but my college was in Tours.
When did you move to Tours?
I was like 19, so I was in Tours for the first time in 2008.
Why did you decide to come to the United States?
Because for me, I think it’s a huge opportunity to have something different like in France. You see it’s totally different the system of college in France and here. I wanted to practice my English and be able to be almost fluent, so its one of my motivations. I wanted to discover another culture, discover another thing, you see?
How is university life different in France as opposed to the United States?
It’s totally different. First, because in France we don’t have a big campus like here you see. We just have some buildings in some part of the city. For me for my major marketing and management I think that the way the teacher teaches marketing and management is totally different because here I have a class in management.
Are there any similarities?
Let me think about it. Well, maybe, maybe, maybe, maybe the motivation of the students because when you agree to go to the college you have to be responsible, you have to be motivated so in France it’s the same like in Bucknell.
Tell me about growing up in France.
Its like I don’t know we love sports like soccer, for the French guys when you have tried and you choose your favorite sport most of the time you choose football, soccer for you, football. We grow up with soccer or basketball, our favorite sport. Our sport determines the kind of people that we frequent – that we know and it’s a little bit like a social group you see, like you are with, only with, people who love the same sport like you, who love the same music, and um the two main kind of music that the young people listen its hip hop and R&B, a lot of pop, a lot of clubbing. We grew up with this kind of music, with soccer of course, with I don’t know, French things I guess.
So your favorite sport is soccer?
Favorite sport is soccer? Yes.
When did you start learning English?
When? Um, in college. What do Americans call that? Oh, middle school, yes.
[NOTE: In France, college is the American equivalent of middle school. University is the American equivalent of college.]
What do you like about the United States?
Everything. I mean, the movies, the show TV, the food, the fast food, like King Burger, McDonald, KFC. I always like this kind of thing because it’s a part of the lifestyle of American way of life.
Are there any American customs that you find strange?
Hmm, strange. Oh, when I arrived in the campus, I visited the Rooke chapel and its weird to see in the same place the thing that remind you of Christian religion, Islam religion, and Jewish religion. In France we can’t see that, it’s totally different. The religious communities are separate. Its weird but it’s a good impression. Its weird but I think its good like this.
What is your favorite part of living in America?
I don’t know. Everything is so big so good so I don’t know. I think I like everything here.
Is it difficult to speak English with other American students?
No, I think the best way to learn English is to practice, you see. The best way is to talk with the fluent people, the English natives. It’s difficult because sometimes the American people speak very fast and I’m like, “What’d you just say?” So no, its not difficult I just have to practice a lot
What is your major?
Marketing and management.
Why are you interested in that major?
Because during my first year in the college my major was economics and international relations but I, after my first year, I realized that I don’t want to do something like this. I choose my major because its something like we can have a training period during the two years where you study marketing and management so I wanted to do something with the normal or classic courses and have a practice period or training period in the companies. So that’s the main reason why I choose to do that, to have a practice period.