Etienne Pichol is from France, and has studied at ELC Boston for 13 weeks in our Intensive 30 Course. Etienne loves traveling and trying new foods, highly recommending new students to try all the burgers in Boston. At ELC, Etienne is known for his involvement in school activities and his high energy in the classroom!
Where were you born and raised? Give us a mental picture of the place.
I am from France and I was born in Fontainebleau. It is really close to Paris, less than 1 hour by train or car and it is the countryside for Parisian people. I live near the forrest and river, it’s very beautiful.
What do you do for fun? What are your hobbies?
I like to play computer and video games, Japanese anime, and cooking. I also like sports, I played soccer before, now I just play with my friends. I also played tennis. I played drums for two years and it was my New Year’s resolution to start playing again. To play drums, you have to be in time and be on beat, which is hard for me. I don’t really have rhythm so I want to work on this.
What is your special talent?
I guess I would say that I am funny. I hope people think I am funny sometimes!
What is your profession? What do you like about it?
I already graduated and I’m not sure what I will do when I go home. I studied management, so I learned how to manage a company, administration, human resources, but I’m not sure which career I will have with that. I really like working with people and I am still exploring the different career options.
Tell us about your family, do you have kids? Siblings? Pets? Do they live close to you?
My family is not very big. It’s just my father, mother, and my older brother and we don’t have pets. I live at home now because I was in transition between studying and working before coming here so I stayed living at home.
Why did you choose to study English in Boston? Did you consider other options?
I had two options in the beginning, Boston or San Francisco. I chose Boston because I think the culture of sports in America is important and here in Boston we have great teams. I think it’s really interesting to go to these games in the USA. I’ve been to a few Celtics and Bruins games. I also like that Boston is close to New York and other cities that I wanted to visit. It’s very easy for me to travel from Boston. Secondly, I read it’s very easy to live in Boston because it’ not very crowded and I am used to living in a very small city in France so it is good for me here.
What are all the ways that Boston is different than your city/town?
Boston is definitely much bigger than my city. Fontaine D’eau is less than 10,000 people, but I live in a small village in that city. Where I live is only 200 people. I like to vacation in bigger cities, but I like to live in places with more space and more room.
What were you most surprised to learn about the US or Boston? Did you experience any culture shock?
The first thing that surprised me was the rules about alcohol in Boston. They are more strict with age here than they are back home. In American culture class we learned about table etiquette, which is different than in France and I think most of Europe. I live with an American roommate and it was cool to see him doing things that we spoke about in class, like using the polite form at the dinner table when we went to a restaurant.
What do you miss most about your country?
I don’t want to be like a typical French person and say bread, wine, and cheese, it’s so cliche, but I do miss my bread and cheese. Obviously, I miss my friends and family, but I am on vacation so it’s hard to really miss anything because I am enjoying things here. Maybe some kinds of food because I like cooking and it can be hard to find the same ingredients, like cheeses or sausages. They are different here and have different tastes and require different methods to cook. I guess I miss having ingredients I know how to cook with.
What are your top three favorite places in Boston?
This is a fun questions! I like where I live, Fenway. In September with the Red Sox baseball games happening, it was really fun to be in that part of the city. It was a very exciting place with all the people. Close to my house you can also find anything you want, like a movie theater, shopping, or a basketball court. People are really friendly, you can just go up and talk with them and join their games. I think the most famous place in Boston is Quincy Market. I like it because if one weekend you don’t know what to do you can go there and you can always find something to do. It’s also very beautiful. Boston is pretty small, so I like to walk in the areas like Downtown Crossing, Copley and Park Street. You can walk around and find everything you want. There’s lots of food in these areas, which is important to me.
Where have you found the best food from your country in Boston?
I think the problem is, when you travel to another country, you don’t want to only find your country’s food. You want to try new foods. I haven’t really found any restaurants with French food, but I’ve looked for some French ingredients, like sausage and bread. It can be difficult to find these things. The place across the street from ELC, the french cafe, is good. They have nice French quiche.
Favorite moment in class at ELC:
I really love to speak, I like it more than reading and writing so I really love conversation class. It’s easier for me to talk about my ideas instead of write them down. I like talking with another person about my ideas. Conversation class is very open, we can talk with each other. Sometimes it’s very funny, especially with Dave. Always, Dave’s class is very funny.
Favorite activity at ELC:
I like a lot of the activities here at the school, but my favorite was the boat party in the summer because it was different and something special. If I was here again in the summer, I would definitely go again. Students got to do something fun and have a great view of the city. It was also really easy to make friends on this activity and there were so many students.
What are some tips you have for people who want to learn English?
I think my English is much better than before! It’s because I am here and back in France it was hard for me to really learn in class in high school and university. I found it very stressful to learn in that environment. Here, you know people are all trying to learn, we are all here to improve our English, not to earn a certain grade. Everyone knows you will make a mistake and that’s normal. Also, listening was very difficult for me before, but living in Boston I have really improved because I am always around English and it’s what I hear all the time. Lastly, it’s important to not be shy and just try it. You need to speak with others and practice it. English is alive, you need to use it and try to communicate with it. That’s why it’s so good to travel and go places where they use English. Being at a school where everyone is trying to practice the same thing is great because there are so many students you can practice with.
What are your plans after ELC?
I’m not really sure! Another goal of mine this year is to figure out what I want to do. My degree is very broad and I like so many things so it’s hard for me. I would like to find something to specialize in. I am envious of people who know exactly what they want to do. I really like event planning and organizing events, but before my English was not that good so it would be a hard field for me. It’s important to have good english in this job and now that I am improving my English, maybe I will try that. A fun thing for me would be to manage an area or a building where we have many events.