French international student evaluates American experience

Freshman Mathilde Piquet-Gauthier is an international business major from Angers, France.  Her time at St. Edward’s University marked her first American experience. Since moving to Austin, Piquet-Gauthier’s perspectives on France, food and Americans have shifted.


Q: Why St. Edward’s?

A: I am going to St. Edward’s because my high school in France was in the Holy Cross community. There was a scholarship, so I chose to come here for the scholarship.


Q: How do you think life at St. Edward’s is different for you compared to students who lived in Texas prior to attending college?

A: I think that for me, life is different here because everything is new for me. People here are used to Texas — to the weather, to the food, to everything and for me everything was new, so it was very exciting. I was trying everything and being like, ‘Oh wow, that’s cool. That’s very nice.’


Q: Can you describe the process of getting in to St. Edwards from application to move-in and talk about how your process was different from people living here already?

A: To come here, I had to apply to send my file with my exams in English two essays, two recommendation letters, and then when I was accepted. I had to apply for a visa, which American students don’t have to do. I came here for orientation in August and moved in.


Q: How has your perspective changed since moving here?

A: I realized that when you’re leaving France, you think it’s a big, important country, but when you look at it from the USA, which is actually a big country, you’re like ‘O.K., [France] is just part of the European Union. It’s not that big.’ I realized that people here live in a bubble. So many American people don’t speak other languages. In France, we learn English and German or Spanish, so we have at least three languages.


Q: What type of food do you think Austin does best?

A: I like Tex-Mex very much. I love queso.


Q: Do you have Tex-Mex in France?

A: No, it doesn’t exist.


Q: Why International Business?

A: The international aspect because I’m from France and coming to the USA, so in my life I have an international aspect. I like traveling and I was like ‘O.K. why not business?”


Q: So you plan to study in Madrid. Do you know what classes you want to take there?

A: Not yet. I will be on the business campus so I will have business classes, but I don’t know yet.


Q: Why Madrid?

A: I’m learning Spanish, and it’s closer to France. I’ve never really been in Madrid. I heard is a really good city to go.


Q: Is there anything else you’d like to say about your experience at St. Edward’s or in America in general?

A: I really like it. It’s very interesting and it changes a lot, so I’m happy.