Fabulous Flavie Studies Abroad


Flavie Lamat Photo credit: Flavie Lamat

Olivia Belrose, Writer

The 2020-2021 school year can’t be any more unpredictable than it already is. How about trying to learn in a hybrid schedule across the ocean in a new country?

For Flavie Lamat, an exchange student from Saint Didier Au Mont d’Or, France, learning in a new language and adjusting to the restrictions has been both challenging and rewarding. 

“I wasn’t so nervous on the first day. I was actually kind of excited. I’ve wanted to do this for three years,” Lamat said. 

So far, Lamat has enjoyed her experience abroad. One of her older friends had the opportunity to study in the United States three years ago. After hearing about how they had the time of their life, Flavie knew she had to go, too, but choosing the perfect place to study was a difficult decision. 

“There was Australia, but I didn’t really want to go out to Australia. I went to England every year with my friends, and it was [closer] to the United States. That’s when I realized I needed to go to the United States, so here I am,” Lamat said. 

At first, with Covid, Lamat wasn’t sure if she would be able to come; the idea of traveling abroad in a pandemic never overwhelmed her, but the idea of missing out on the experience did. After learning the opportunity was possible through the ASSE International Student Exchange Program, Lamat packed her bags and traveled across the Atlantic ocean in a happy mood and with anticipation of an unforgettable experience. 

“On the first day, I was kind of stressed about finding the rooms. I was nervous about using Google Classroom as it was totally new for me but, after the first day, I felt as if I was at home,” Lamat said. 

 Lamat has taken classes in the art of communication, career exploration and senior civics. She found the art of communication course to be easier compared to senior civics as she is unfamiliar with the American government. However, she found it to be very useful in understanding the recent election. Lamat enjoyed career exploration because she learned a lot about herself through various personality activities. In her communication class, she especially liked how active everyone in the class was as well as being able to interact with her peers. 

“I think it’s so much better. The way of teaching and learning is different. It’s so cool to be able to meet new people,” Lamat said.  

After school, Lamat participates in cross country and enjoys spending time with friends, whether it be through hiking or getting together for a campfire. For cross country, Lamat got to race every weekend, something she didn’t have the opportunity to do in France. She also likes to go shopping with her host family and workout at the gym with friends. 

“I try to move around a bit, but I also like to spend time with my host family,” Lamat said.

Back in France, Lamat’s school, Fadel, is a lot smaller and places a lot of emphasis on studying seven different subjects for the entire school day. Students follow this model from middle school all the way through high school. Her primary subjects consist of math, science, English, Spanish, geography, history and French. Students focus on these subjects until their second or third year of high school. When that time comes, students are allowed to focus on specific academic tracks such as philosophy, economics or mathematics. Lamat also studies with the same students for every subject, which has limited her opportunity to meet new people. 

While Lamat is learning a lot from her classes in the United States, she also misses her friends, family and eating a slice of warm, French bread. She is also unable to ride horses and compete in basketball competitions, which she is very active with in France.

While Lamat has enjoyed studying abroad, she finds it challenging to study and think in English. Even though she has traveled to England many times, Lamat finds it difficult to differentiate between the accents, but she strives to improve her English comprehension. 

“I don’t consider it a challenge, but more like an opportunity,” Lamat said.