The student news site of New Trier High School

New Trier News

The student news site of New Trier High School

New Trier News

The student news site of New Trier High School

New Trier News

Foreign exchange students reflect on first month at NT

New students excited to experience everything in the New Trier community
From left to right: Junior Benjamin Gros-Piron and senior Mateo Savry-Cavard

It is very easy to get caught up in the routine of New Trier High School, where thousands of students flood the main stairs during passing periods, rushing to class. Yet, with the arrival of some foreign exchange students this year, outside perspectives can help Trevians view New Trier’s culture in a different light.

Senior Mateo Savry-Cavard had a crazy first day of school after moving from France to Wilmette for his senior year. Walking through the doors, he could not believe how large and new New Trier was.

I’m a Trev now!

— Mateo Savry-Cavard

“All [of it] is huge,” Savry-Cavard says. “High school is so big, very new, and [everything] is nice and pretty.” 

Like Savry-Cavard, junior Benjamin Gros-Piron, another French exchange student, moved to New Trier with a wide range of emotions.

“From outside, I was like, ‘Oh it’s not that big, just one building,’ Gros-Piron says. “But as soon as I went in, it was huge! It’s on the first day, you realize like…this is going to be your new school.”

In fact, many aspects of New Trier are new for both Savry-Cavard and Gros-Piron. 

A primary difference between American and French high school culture is the emphasis on athletics. Though high school athletic facilities as high-caliber as New Trier’s are rare even in the U.S., they are practically unheard of in France. The importance of attending games along with the widespread community support for high school teams is unique to the U.S. as well. 

Savry-Cavard quickly found love for football after attending his first game as a Trevian.

“I imagine all the sports [are] the same, but [the] football game was really crazy,” Savry-Cavard says. “It was like a movie.” 

Although watching New Trier’s sports has been a great experience, participating has been even more enjoyable.

“[My soccer] team is actually really good, [the] coach [is] really good too. I saw that America was really good at sports, so I wasn’t surprised,” Savry-Cavard says. “The coaches really care about you and it’s positive.” 

In addition to the athletic experience, both students found the academic experiences to be different, too. 

“In France, school is all work,” Gros-Piron says. “School [in the U.S.] is not just school. There’s sports teams, there’s gyms—it makes it fun…It makes school not that bad.” 

New Trier has various systems in place to support foreign exchange students and promote their success at school and in a new country. Global Exchange Club and New Trier Newbies are both clubs which greatly contribute to foreign exchange students’ swift transition to New Trier. 

“We always go to Fright Fest at Great America, we do an OktoberFest with German Club, we do gingerbread house making. We go out to eat as well,” Sarah Utley, a Global Exchange Club sponsor says. “We try to pick up on things that American teenagers do to give [the exchange students] that experience.”

Even though clubs such as Global Exchange are not responsible for bringing students to New Trier, the work they do making students feel welcome is just as important.

“We have two philosophies: one is to give the foreign exchange students a taste of American life, and the other is to give the typical American students the opportunity to experience cultures outside of America,” Utley says. 

Though New Trier is strikingly different from French schools for exchange students, the sense of community, opportunity within sports, and various activities that New Trier provides could not make them feel more at ease.

“I’m a Trev now!” Savry-Cavard says.