French student returns to expand his English


Madeline Steward

Former foreign exchange student, Clement Dubouchet, sits in the classroom of SMS teacher Daniel Bailey on Feb. Dubouchet was a foreign exchange student in the U.S. when he was 11 years old.

Alyssa Clark, Reporter

Some people say the United States is where people can get opportunities and gain knowledge. Traveling over 4,000 miles for his second time to the U.S., Clement Dubouchet is one of the many people making efforts to improve his education.

Dubouchet has recently visited SHS for two weeks in an effort to improve his English, hoping to better his chances of going into business in the future.

When Dubouchet was 11, he was put in a program called Foreign Links Around the Globe (FLAG) International, a student exchange organization. At the time, Dubouchet spoke almost no English, and it was difficult to communicate with Orchestra teacher Thomas Wright, who was his host at the time.

“He had a really good time, although he wasn’t able to express it,” Wright said. “It made a big impact in his life.”

From this experience, Dubouchet was inclined to study the English language, so he has taken classes for the past seven years. He wanted to visit the U.S. again so he could be surrounded by English speakers and to improve his speaking.

The second time he came back, he came from Tours, France to the U.S. on Feb. 11. He was here while his school in France was on break, so he had to go back Feb. 27. While he was here, he lived with Wright and 3 foreign exchange students, SHS juniors Paul Nufer, Jorge Dueñas and Lutheran student Tommy Die.

Dubouchet says that he was often quiet in Wright’s house because he wasn’t confident enough with his English skills.

“Everybody talks really good English and I don’t understand everything, so I just listen,” Dubouchet said.

He also says that the U.S. is very different than France, especially in schooling. For example, schools here are much larger than the ones in France. Also, the start time for his school is 8:30 a.m., which is almost an hour later than SHS. Here, it is acceptable to have phones out in the middle of some class, however that is not the case in France.

Dubouchet does enjoy the American culture. He says it’s interesting how diverse the students at SHS are.

“I think Americans are really open-minded,” Dubouchet said.

Wright says that he and Dubouchet have kept their relationship through Facebook and plans on continuing to do so.

Dubouchet says that he needs to perfect his English in order to get into Ecole des Hautes Etudes Commerciales du Nord Business School. He has to pass three different exams in high school: the baccalauréat, concours sesam and concours pass. If he does not succeed in his exams, it can cost him his future. He dreams of studying economics in France, but if things don’t work out as planned, he would consider living in the U.S. If he did move, he would still want to keep his own culture alive.

“Even if I have a lot of money in the future, I don’t want to change my ethnicity,” Dubouchet said.