Bienvenue Juliette Dubost!
This is a 2-part blog post about Juliette Dubost, ANA's French exchange student competing with the 16-19 age group this year.
The first part is a one-on-one interview with Juliette and the second part is the story of how Juliette came to be a part of ANA Synchro.
Part 1: Juliette one-on-one
Hi Juliette! Thanks for letting me interview you for the ANA Synchro blog. Can you start by telling me about your family and where you grew up in France?
Juliette: My mom's name is Florence and father is Patrice. I have a 9 year-old brother named Maxime who likes to play piano, tennis, and sing in the chorale. He also shoots rifles in competitions.
I was born in Paris, then I moved to St. Remy (its a little town), and now I live in Versailles. Its a city and there is a palace of Versailles!
How many years did you study the English language? Has it been difficult for you to communicate or keep up in school?
Juliette: I've been studying English since elementary school (I think 4th grade but I'm not sure, maybe ask my parents) I always had good grades in English class and I started watching movies and reading books in English in middle school because I want to get a job where I can travel when I'm older.
It has been a little difficult when I first started school here because it's not like French school at all so I didn't know how it works. I didn't have trouble keeping up except in literature class because there's always words I don't know in the readings.
How has it been being immersed into American Culture?
Juliette: At first I had to force myself not to do French stuff like kissing on the cheeks so people wouldn't think I'm weird. But now I'm used to it so it's almost like I've been there the whole time. Also, I like it because I learn something new every day.
When and why did you decide you wanted to train for synchro in the USA? How did you find and choose ANA synchro?
Juliette: At first I just wanted to go to another country for a year because I wanted to travel. But then in April me and my team went to see the movie Perfect and I met Sylvie at the movies (she's the director of synchronized swimming in France) and she told me I could go to the USA and do synchro. I don't remember what happened next, you can ask my parents if you want to know. In the end, I had to choose between ANA and Santa Clara and we chose ANA because it's a good team and Lucy's family was ok with me living with them and also because North Andover high school allows foreign students.
How has your experience been with school, living with a host family and training in the USA?
Juliette: I like school here because I can choose my classes and also school ends a lot earlier (French schools end at 4 or 5 but we have 1 to 2 hours for lunch). I love my host family, they're so nice and kind and they take me to fun places all the time and they always help me when I don't understand something. Also, I like my host family's neighbors and friends. Training in the USA is very different and harder but it's amazing!
How different is synchro training in France as compared to the US?
Juliette: It was really different because people were more focused on having fun than winning or anything. There was more time for personal projects so last year on the spring break and summer break camps I created a duet with a teammate and I helped choreographing another duet for the show.
The problem is not everyone was as invested as me and my friends so there was a lot of tensions and we only had 7 hours of team practice a week. So, we never got to go to big meets even if we were good enough for it and it was so frustrating.
Are you looking forward to the competitions season?
Juliette: I'm looking forward to it because the first two meets have been so fun! I can't swim for nationals but I'm so excited for the rest of the competition season!
Have you made good friends since you had been here? Do you keep in touch with your friends from home?
Juliette: I like everyone the team, they have been so nice to me when I first arrived so I didn't feel left out. Also, I made some new friends at school.
I facetime my friends sometimes because I miss them a lot. These are my 3 best friends from synchro, we ve been in the same group since I started synchro!
How do you like the American food? Any favorites? What food do you miss most from France?
Juliette: I don't think American food is as good as French food but I just really love food so it's okay. There's American things that I love like burgers and goldfish! I miss the bakeries sometimes because Dunkin Donuts is not as good.
What is your favorite place you have visited here in the States? Where else would you like to see before you head back to France?
Juliette: I went to New York with Lucy and her sister and her mom for my birthday. I want to go to Florida and go to Disney World and Universal Studios and Harry Potter Park but I don't think it's going to happen.