Did you say exchange?
Haven’t you ever noticed there’s always been a chinese row, a german row as well as a spanish row between two french rows ? Who’s to blame ? How could we change this ? Captain Jack reveals..
Dou you eun-deur-sténd?
Whether it comes to french or foreign students, we can all agree on one point : it’s pretty tough to speak to each other without even knowing the other’s language. We hear from french people these tipical arguments : « They’re in France, they are the ones that ought to make the effort and speak french ! », we also hear from foreign students : « French guys don’t speak english, therefore we simply can’t understand them… ».
Okay, the language barrier may exist, but that doesn’t mean we musn’t search alternatives !
Furthermore, a large amont of you guys are deeply ashamed of your english level ( and most importantly of your accent as well, of course !). However, let us take into account that most of the foreign students in Kedge aren’t american nor english natives and have learnt english just as you guys even though they may have struggled more. Your language mistakes may be fewer than theirs and they won’t judge you on your ability to use the progressive future. So don’t be afraid to search for words, to mime and even to usee animal souds in order to be understood. For misunderstanding and wacky situations only contribute in establishing a joyful atmosphere.
Home, sweet home
What if this shedding « French/ foreign students » was only due to a simple « logistic error » : Nearly all the foreign students (200 !) live in the same place « Alotra » (best known as Vaufreges) and are therefore partying together in this residency where social atmosphere reaches unknown hights but where none dare to intrude (exept Interact members) . The result ? Well, foreign students do integrate themselves, but between themselves and spend time together but once again between themselves, unfortunatly. To tell you the truth, we even heard « It feels like I never left China ». Even though some of them aren’t against the idea of being in collocation with a french downtown, the other mojority abstains. Therefore, why should they try to integrate themselves into our « french environment » if they’re already integrated, not among the french but among the « internationals » .
Another problem : french students have their « home sweet home » and rush straight after class to retrieve it whereas foreign students linger at school, taking their time, enjoying their experience abroad. We leave quickly, it takes just a few seconds between shuting down one’s laptop and rushing to the bus stop. No time for discussion. What if we took our time ?
How to socialize ? The scool’s logic would simply answer you : go and party ! But lets also mention that there are different kinds of parties. Interact parties and our parties or, more honestly, parties designed for foreign students and other parties. Interact is striving to gather everyone, but this « everyone » doesn’t follow at all : foreign students attend where French ones are absents. We remain among us and on the opposite, foreign students won’t easily attend our parties. Moreover, we don’t don’t have the same age, I’m talking especially about our freshmen who just came out of the « lycée » and must socialize with 22/23 year old foreign students… Hard. We don’t share our student life, nor our parties, nor our associations where most of them are absent. Who will make the first step ?
Foreign students arrive several weeks before we do, they are welcomed by Interact as expected, are integrated among with those who also find themselves in the same critical situation, the other foreign students. Then they logically create their own group of friends. Interact consequently becomes the only french intermediaire for its members develop a priviledge relation with them. No need to integrate oneself with the other « real » french guys. So why should we come to them and do they really want us to do so anyway ?
Speaking to foreign people ? Why not… But what could we speak of ?
Guys, let us remind you that they’re « normal » people ! You can just say something like : Where are you from ? De donde viene ? Ni zhu-zai nar ? It may seem pretty common but it’s the most efficient and straightforward to engage a conversation as far as I know. Ther’s no need to talk about the Ming empire, or 20th century english economists, you can simply share your experiences abroad, talk of yourr potential trip to his country, what you heard about it… As soon as the discussion’s engaged – forget about your grammar level – if there’s a significant eager to share, topics will naturally flow.
Foreign students are strange… but that’s not all.
If these students are here it’s because they chose to come in France and that they are interested in our beloved country. Chinese, english or spanish, they all want, beyond attending to some lessons in Kedge, discover France and enjoy the student life. Therefore, don’t hesitate to approach them and to invite them to parties, events or to integrate them into your associations. Furthermore, one day it will be your turn to be the foreign student who doesn’t understand a word and being ill-informed from all current parties. Trust me, you will bless the one taking care of you.
It is therefore your duty to help foreign students, to integrate them, to draw their attention and let them know about the wonderful Kedge-Marseille atmosphere!
See you soon then, remember of Pocahontas and John Smith who both dared stepping towards the other.
Don’t be ashamed, tiene corones, habla with the extanjeros!
Acknowledgements to Alexander Stead, Agathe Nalis for communicating their Interact point of vue as wall as to the french and to the foreign students asked.