By: Giselle Robles
Picture yourself packing up a small amount of your possessions and moving to a new country for nearly a year. Except it’s not just a new country, it is a new continent and lifestyle.
Since 2019, Léna Serett, a sophomore at MMACHS, has had a strong dream of being an exchange student in the US. She found an organization, “Greenheart Organization”, that allowed her to study abroad for 10 months in a new country. She took this opportunity with all the optimism possible.
For the last few months, she has had to adapt to a life that is completely different from the one she grew up knowing. Léna lives in Versailles, France where she was born, with her father. She also resides with her mother and her twin brother, Noa, in a smaller town. She and Noa have a very strong bond, so for her to separate herself from her built-in best friend was a big change. She said she desired to study abroad because of her brother. They have been attached at the hip their entire life, so for her to step aside and live a new life was major.
“I have craved the taste of independence for myself,” Lena said, “and I knew I could achieve this in the
States, away from everything I have known.”
This change wasn’t easy, however with her optimism and enthusiasm, she has been making the best of the last few months and will be doing the same for the remaining time.
Growing up in a different place than the US doesn’t necessarily mean they have unique customs. For example, much like us, Léna finds herself going to the mall, playing sports, watching movies, and celebrating back home. She loves to read novels, comics, and manga. She spends much of her time reading books that develop her sense of culture.
She also has a great interest in sports. She spends Monday evenings swimming in a club while climbing and playing volleyball in school. Being active but also with friends and family is important for Léna.
Léna has had the opportunity to do more of her normal activities in the US, but also so much more because she lives with Ms. Ballen for the next few months. She and Mrs. Ballen have been on a few adventures, such as bike riding in Coeur d’Alene, and expect many more in the future. She has also hung out with a few of our seniors!
“She is the funniest girl ever, we are so lucky to have her at MMACHS!!” exclaim seniors, Emily Daniell and Katelyn Scott when being asked about their time with Léna.
Lauren Jones very kindly said, “Léna has a different view on things, so conversation tends to be very eye-opening. Talking to her is a reminder that people all around the world are still connected and similar. We’re all in this together.”
The school aspect and overall comparison from France to Idaho have been quite rewarding to Léna. In France, it is customary to be at school from 8 am-5 pm. This is no typical timeline for Americans, so to come to the US and only be in class for 6 hours was the most pleasant surprise for Léna.
Furthermore, education in general has been a great experience for Serett. In France, the typical day for a
student is waking up, being at school for 9 hours, heading home, and trying to do all your assignments.
Léna states, “There is absolutely no time for anything! I get so relieved when I have a few extra hours to do my homework here.”
The dynamic with education, specifically when comparing France and the US was very intriguing to elaborate on with Léna. However, Léna speaks very highly of the education offered at MMACHS.
Responding to the comparison of education, Léna speaks about passion. She made it clear that her favorite thing about MMACHS has been how passionate teachers and students are.
She loves sciences, and her fascination with neurosurgery blends perfectly with the education and classes offered at MMACHS.
“It is so clear that teachers take pride in being educators here. They treat their students like real people, and the students view education as a grand importance. I have loved it here and am happy to be here for longer.”
Overall, Léna finds a lot of success and thrill in her few months of being in the States. She hopes to learn new things, meet new people, and keep the adventures going. Her powerful enthusiasm is contagious, and she is a radiant person to be around. She is excited to get back home to her best friends and family but is more than happy to be getting that taste of freedom she longed for.
«Nous sommes chanceux qu’lle nous rejoigne cette année » - which means “We are lucky to have her join us this year”.