OPINION: Seeing the differences between France and the United States

Since I can remember, a routine has never been something that was a real part of my life. Indeed, growing up in Paris, France, I cannot remember if I ever lived full time at a place whether it was with my parents or not for more than two years.  

At a young age, I am not sure that I could not actually see the impact of not being able to really call a place home with a school that I would attend for a whole academicyear or by making any longterm relationship. Surprisingly, I have always found some fun by moving all the time. It was actually something that I enjoyed doing since I hated the routine.  

The event that came with me always being on the move that actually really shocked me and was really impactful and meaningful to my life until this day was when I found out that I had to move from my hometown to go to not just another city or country but a whole different continent that I had never even been to and not speaking a word of its language. Indeed, leaving Paris to go to the United States by myself at 14 and 15 years old was a huge decision that I had to take, and that decision came with a lot of changes.   

There are tons of changes and differences between living in France and the United States. I would need to write a whole book to go over each and every one of them but let me talk and explain the main ones related to my experience.  

The first one that I struggled the most with and that I still found myself struggling with until this day is the culture. When I am having a talk with people, they always predict that the language might have been the most challenging thing, but it was actually not. The culture is.  

What I mean by that is the way people think out here or would handle certain situations from a global perspective. Indeed, I believe that people out here are less confrontational, not to say fake. They would feel a certain type of way about someone or something and decide not to deal with it. I used to always get in trouble or in arguments because I could not hold my tongue on situations related to me or not, and I had to understand that it was just a difference of culture. 

What I also mean by culture is how I found people in the United States actually more lovable with empathy for one another. In France, people tend to be kind of selfish and only worry about themselves in any given situation. It was so enjoyable to come here and see that people are helpful. They will smile to you outside and be willing to take time to help you, something you will rarely experience in France.  

Another thing that stood out to me was the food habits that people have out here. The way they eat and hours they eat is not as structured as it is in France.  

It took me years to get adjusted to all these differences and changes, and I found it really a struggle at times. But I am glad to be able to have both cultures in my arsenal. I believe it is a strength more than anything.