French exchange student enjoys Paynesville

This article submitted by Linda Stelling on 7/23/96.

Yoann Grimault, 17, Guingamp, France, finds Paynesville a rather new town compared to his home.

Guingamp is a small city of 8,000 and was founded in the middle ages. "United States is a new country compared to France," he stressed. Yoann arrived in Paynesville on the Nacel Exchange program on July 3 and has spent the month living at the Ric and Barb Koehn home. He leaves for home on July 31.

His father is an architect and his mother a math professor. Yoann has two sisters, 23 and 20, who are both students.

Yoann said his home is in the providence of Brittany and is located about 12 miles or 20 kilometers from the sea. The climate is quite warm in the winter because of the ocean air. In the summer, the temperatures reach about 20 and 25 celsius or between 70 and 80 degrees. They have no snow in the area, but can head to the mountains where there is snow year-round. "Every year I like to go to the mountains to ski," he said. "All the mountains are high with the highest point about 400 meters." He thinks Paynesville is very flat compared to France.

Yoann likes the idea of heading to the school in Paynesville and being able to play baseball, tennis, or basketball. They don't have a lot of playing fields in France. Yoann said he really enjoys playing all kinds of sports. He has completed four years in volleyball, three years in soccer and has done a year of rock climbing. Soccer is the most popular sport in France and cycling. But instead of school teams, there are town teams for the sports.

Yoann says his school day usually runs from 8 a.m. to noon and 1 to 6 p.m., depending on the classes. They are required to attend school 35 hours per week. They usually get Wednesday afternoons off to either rest or do sports. Yoann usually does sports.

He said the food here is incredible for him. He has eaten a lot of hamburgers, hot dogs, and pizzas. At home his mother is a good cook and prepares difficult meals. They usually eat in the TV room and help themselves in the refrigerator any time.

He has really enjoyed living with the Koehn family as they also have a love of sports and the children are all about Yoann's age. Yoann has even helped Beth and Matt with the summer soccer program at school and at tennis.

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