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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Hailing from France, student finds welcome home and cultural differences in Dirty T

    Darien Bakas
    Carolin Laplace poses for a photo in the Modern Languages building on Wednesday, Feb. 10. Laplace, from Lyon, France, has come to call Tucson home.

    “Oh my god, it’s great,” Carolin Laplace said about Tucson’s weather. “It’s a big part of the reason I chose this university.”

    Laplace may have only been in the Dirty T for a year, but she’s a perfect example of the large foreign exchange and international student population at the UA.

    Coming from Lyon, France, Laplace is a 22-year-old senior studying English, literature and linguistics. Laplace hails from her home school at Jean Moulin University Lyon III. In France, it is expected that students majoring in English go abroad to further their educations.

    “I have been studying English since middle school … and studied Spanish in high school,” Laplace said.

    The English language became a huge part of Laplace’s life, she said, as she loves pop culture based in our language, such as “Dr. Who,” “Sherlock” and “Star Wars,” among others.

    “All that nerdy stuff,” Laplace said.

    She came to the United States in July 2015, and since arriving in Tucson, she has traveled to the Grand Canyon and Las Vegas, as well as through Monument Valley.

    In November 2015, Laplace visited Washington, D.C., a trip that excited her more than it would many American students.

    “I just really like U.S. history,” Laplace said. “I’ve been studying it since my first year of university, and I love Abraham Lincoln and find all the history around the American Civil War the most interesting.”

    Laplace said our history is messed up and that’s what makes it so compelling.

    When countered with an argument of France’s own twisted and tangled path, Laplace said she admires how, historically and currently, our country is “better at having conversations about racism.”

    Laplace said the UA offers courses on that topic that do not exist at her home.

    “Sometimes, we should look at ourselves in the mirror,” Laplace said of the example our country sets with race relations.

    After talk of race relations and politics, she said she appreciates the exploration the UA provides with electives and other diverse studies.

    “We don’t take classes outside of our major,” Laplace said.

    Laplace said her favorite part of campus is where we sat talking, near the Modern Languages building and other buildings where she takes most of her classes. The UA campus is a lot bigger than Jean Moulin, a school in a city comprised of a few old and magnificent buildings.

    “I like to hang out near the Union and grass on nice days like today,” Laplace said.

    Laplace said she enjoys the UA environment and lives in an apartment not far from campus.

    Speaking about the differences in living conditions, Laplace said she is not too surprised or overwhelmed by the party culture here and that it’s to be expected at such a big school.

    “The parties are louder here,” Laplace said. “I’m not a big party person but it doesn’t bother me too much as long as there’s not too big of a mess left behind.”

    When discussing the drinking age difference, and other cultural disparities from country to country, Laplace said everyone will do what they please and for her, that’s more often hanging out with close friends or reading good books.

    “I don’t think it makes much of a difference,” Laplace said.

    Laplace has made friends with other French students here, along with those studying from other countries.

    “It’s good to have to have [that community] to come back to and talk about things in France,” Laplace said.

    Besides socializing, Laplace said she likes to spend time reading her favorites, which include J.R.R. Tolkien and Charlotte Brontë, and both watching and drawing her favorite TV shows.

    In her future, Laplace said she sees herself teaching, probably at home in France, but that she “wouldn’t be against the idea of eventually going elsewhere.”

    Laplace has a few more months to enjoy the Mexican food and perfect weather, but after a year of academic adventure, she will be back at home near the Alps and her family.

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