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MEEKER | It’s always interesting to hear a new point of view about Meeker. Last week I talked to one of the two foreign exchange students the high school has, this week I spoke with the other.
John Duval is from France and is currently living with Mandi Etheridge. John’s mother and Mandi have known each other for a long time so it was ultimately easier for him to study in Meeker.
Coming from Senlis, a bigger city north of Paris, Meeker is definitely a big change for Duval. Meeker did, however, have an impactful first impression on him. His reaction to it was that, “It’s a very calm town where everyone knows everyone.”
The biggest difference between Meeker and France happens to be the people. To him, it’s easier to connect with people than it is in France. Since being in Meeker he has also found that the community is very nice and welcoming. This is something that was consistent through both interviews with the students.
While living in France, John has picked up English as well as a little bit of German. The adjustment has also been pretty easy going for Duval. He says he doesn’t miss a ton from France, besides family and friends obviously. The cuisine here in our town has also been a little adjustment. The way meat and vegetables are prepared in France are also different so he says that’s something he has had to get used to here.
In response to COVD-19, Duval said he didn’t see a huge difference between how France and the U.S. handled the situation. He did mention that he went into quarantine before a lot of other places in his country. Senlis was one of the first cities to have an outbreak.
It will be telling to see how both students feel about their time in Meeker at the end of their stay, especially with the circumstances surrounding this year. It is always uplifting to hear how impressionable Meeker is to newcomers and I’m glad that they both have had a great start to their year.
By SOPHIA GOEDERT | Special to the Herald Times