Reading/Writing





Croneiss Xavier


LEA 1A


Select a moment in your life that either changed or life or showed you how your life had already changed.





A couple of months before taking my final exam in High school, I decided that I would spend the next year abroad, since I wanted to improve my english and needed to experiment something different, something new. I’ve always been attracted by the USA, so i naturally chose to fly there, to San Diego, California. California represented to me, at this time, the American dream, with its sunny weather “ 75° all year long”, its white sand beaches and, of course, its beautiful women. I flew there on september 18th 2002, and when I got off the plane, I immediatly understood when I saw this skyscrappers, huge ballparks and stadiums, that this city, this state, this country were a totally different world.


During the first weeks, I had a cultural shock, trying to avoid contacts with native speakers, beeing rude and mean to the people I didn’t understand.I think it was a way to protect myself from this “wild” american world, so strange! Everything was just not as good as in France. And then, I started to hand around with americans, celebrating the Hollydays, such as Thanksgiving, Easter or Chrismas which made me discover in San Diego a new way of life, the American way of life! I shared there not only an appartment on a campus with 3 other students, who were from other countries, but also many unforgettable experiences! Once there, I studied a lot, of course, but I had a lot of fun, partying, surfing, playing sport and discovering “the new world”. I started then to feel more and more like the others, like a normal citizen, not like an “alien” anymore; I even had a chance to play in my University’s basket-ball team!I eventually fell in love with California, especially because of its layback attitude. San Diego was my new home, and I even didn’t think about my come back...


Before going to the USA, I was just a simple teenager, who never went so far away from home, who never really had the opportunity to discover an other culture, I was narrow-minded, really proud of my country, or what it actually represented, and which came up later as something wrong, false. This experience made me grow up a lot faster, I cought on very fast that a country is not better than an other one, it’s simply different! I figured out that trying to compare 2 countries is a big mistake. When I understood that, I suddently became a lot less judgemental and finicky; I started to appreciate more and more the american culture, which differs so much from the european one!


But as a matter of fact, I really got aware of all this changes the day I went home. I dragged my feet, not hustling at all, when I had to pack my stuff and go to the airport, because I knew the end of this trip was a long pause in my dream, and back home, and other culture shock! For the first time, beeing home was harmful, I couldn’t bear the french speakers anymore, I just wanted to catch the first flight to San Diego, where I left a year of my life, many friends and memories. But I was also broken down because I knew It would be hard to find someone here who could understand exactly what i’ve lived, who could listen to me, knowing what living on a campus means. That was my biggest fear. This year in San Diego has been the best time I had in my life, because it made me discover places and people I wouldn’t have imagined before, and also made me gain maturity and grow up a lot afterwards. It just changed me.


My main goal, now, is to move to California, and if you had a look at my bed room which looks like San Diego, full of posters, knick knacks and other californian flags, you would notice that my mind is still there...