Paola Paci, a women’s studies major and French lab assistant, shares with the Monitor what she finds different between France, her homeland, and the United States.

“I feel like here [in the United States], friendships work in a very different way. Here, you have a lot of people that you know and that you call friends but you don’t really hang one on one or talk about serious issues or have a deeper relationship. Where I come from, you just have a couple of real friends and then you have acquaintances that you hang out with, but there is a strict and obvious difference between those two.”

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Paci came to Jewell to complete a year abroad in order to write a dissertation on a cultural difference.

“Being foreign changes the subject of the things you talk about. Sometimes it’s frustrating because they want to know more about your country, which is kind of awesome, but it seems like they don’t want to know you personally. They’re like, ‘oh you’re from Paris, that’s awesome,’ but they don’t really ask about you. Sometimes it gets frustrating, but people definitely treat you differently if you’re from another country. Being foreign makes it easier to know people but makes it harder to have deeper friendships. I just read an amazing book that is called ‘Americana’ by an African author. She is Nigerian, but she lived in the United States for a while. She said in any relationship in which you have two people not from the same country, you spend a lot of time explaining things like how your culture is different and how you do things differently and why. You talk about this a lot. It makes you wonder if you would have anything to talk about if you were from the same country.”

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All photos by Chandler Eaton.

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