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Foreign exchange student shares experiences with Rotarians

by Anakin Bush | May 25, 2023 at 4:00 a.m.
Anakin Bush/Fulton Sun photo: Romane Dessy, a foreign exchange student from Belgium, speaks to Rotarians about her experiences over the last year in America. She said it was the greatest experience of her life.

At Wednesday's Fulton Rotary Club meeting, Rotarians heard from Romane Dessy, a foreign exchange student from Belgium.

She spoke about her experiences in America for the past year, and some of the cultural differences.

While in Missouri, she stayed with several host families.

Dessy told Rotarians about her first day in the country, when she almost missed her flight from Washington, D.C. to Missouri.

She shared with Rotarians her first breakfast in America, which was a bowl of Lucky Charms cereal.

"I think it's pretty weird. It wasn't that bad, but not very good too," Dessy said.

She also shared with Rotarians some of the highlights from her exchange trip. She went to Chicago several times, where she went to a baseball game and ate Chicago-style pizza.

Dessy also visited Kansas City and went to a destruction derby.

While in Fulton, she attended Fulton High School.

"I discovered the real American spirits during the football and the basketball games, but I'm not going to lie my favorite were the football games. Because it's really like in the movies with the cheerleaders and all that stuff," she said.

During her time at FHS, she was involved with choir and cheerleading.

In her biology class, she did a dissection for the first time. Dessy said they are forbidden in Belgium. She added it was disgusting.

"It was a really American experience," she said.

Dessy spoke about attending all of the school dances, which she said was very different than the dances in Belgium.

Next week, Dessy is going to fulfill one of her American dreams -- watching a movie at a drive-in theater.

She shared with Rotarians some of the things she struggled with while being away from home. At first, she said it was hard to adapt to the new environment. She also said it was difficult to adapt to the language.

"It's very hard to make friends when you don't speak the language very well. But fortunately, your skill with the language increase with time so it gets easier," Dessy said.

She said she doesn't regret being a foreign exchange student at all, and called it the greatest experience of her life.

"I want to say that this is not one year in your life, this is a new life in one year," Dessy said.

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