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Families host foreign exchange students for summer

By: Amanda Calzada, Special to The Placer Herald
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What seemed to be a far-fetched, glamorous land of movie stars, surfers, beaches, and “California girls,” had become “home” for a group of young French foreign-exchange students. This summer, 16 Rocklin families have opened up their homes to a group of students from France through a foreign-exchange student program called American Discovery for a period of three weeks. Highlights of the trip included American Discovery-planned trips for the students and their families including Six Flags in Vallejo, San Francisco and Pier 39, Chinatown and a Bay Cruise of San Francisco and Sunsplash. “I think that it is a great country because it is so big and California seems to have the most opportunities to succeed in your job if you have the motivation,” said Robin Soulan, 17 of Savoie, France, who would like to study business in San Francisco after finishing earning an engineering degree in France. Other French students are strongly considering the U.S., particularly California, for college. They dislike, however, that the cost of college is significantly higher in the U.S. than in Europe. In some cases, university tuition in Europe is free. American fashion and merchandise, however, tends to be less expensive on average than in Europe, observed the adolescents. The French students enjoy the “California way of life” which includes the Galleria’s “sophisticated fashion.” Another aspect of American culture the students enjoyed was the pop culture. Some of the students had memorized American music to sing and some were loyal fans of American television shows. “It was not only eye-opening to see the world from another culture’s perspective, but an adventure and definitely human interaction at its finest,” said Alexandra Harlan whose family hosted a foreign-exchange student. The majority of the host families and exchange students plan to visit each other during another summer and keep in touch via Facebook.