Freshman Raphaelle Benoist’s Experience in the U.S.


Credit: Ava Russo '23

Raphaelle poses in her Montrose uniform.

Raphaelle Benoist, a foreign exchange student at Montrose, reminds us all of what it’s like to take risks. Raphaelle loves the English language and her aspiring musical talents are like no other. 

Raphaelle is from Marseille; a big city in Southern France. She attended a school named Lacordaire which was a co-ed private school in her area. However, she plans to go to a boarding school next year when she is back in France. Raphaelle has two loving parents, two brothers, and one sister, all who are younger than her. On top of that, Raphaelle has a very active social life. She plays guitar, piano, and the flute. She also takes singing lessons and acting classes, “I’m usually really busy,” she tells us, “I’m always doing something if I’m not in school.” 

Once Raphaelle came to Montrose, she relayed the details of her travel experience. She tells us, “I asked my parents if I could go to America, my dad didn’t agree with the idea, but my mom started to do some research.” Raphaelle ultimately chose Montrose because of her grandfather. “My grandfather heard about Montrose through a friend whose daughter went here, and I said I wanted to go.” After much conversation, her dad agreed that she could come to the States. Shortly after, Rapahelle found out she was accepted into Montrose in April, then she received notice that her host family were going to be the Kerr’s (family of Maddy Kerr ‘25). 

Raphaelle arrived in America a few days before the first day of school. She remembers being really nervous but also really excited. When asked what she misses most about France, she says: “My friends, but it’s okay because I am making new friends.” For Raphaelle, the biggest difference between America and France is that Americans don’t always have dessert. “I was so shocked when I came here because in France we always have dessert, but in America it’s only on occasion.”

During our interview with Raphaelle, she told us that Montrose has been a wonderful experience so far. “There is no judgment here,” she relays. “I feel like I can be who I want to be and say what I think.” Back in France, Raphaelle’s favorite class was history. She told us about an amazing history  teacher who would tell the class stories, and she really enjoyed it. At Montrose, however, she is fond of math. “The teacher is really sweet and she’s always willing to help me out,” 

Considering the six-hour time difference between America and France, it’s been challenging for Raphaelle to stay in touch with her parents. “I try to call my parents every week, and I send them messages one to two times a day.” She has a much longer school day in France, with school ending at 6.

 Despite her native language being French, Raphaelle has always been determined to speak English like a pro. “I was so excited to come to America because I knew I could learn more English that way. When I first came here, I understood most things, but I’ve improved a lot.” Raphaelle dreams of going to college in the U.S because of the amazing experiences she has had in high school!

Raphaelle has been having an awesome time in America and she says she will always remember the friends she’s made at Montrose. She leaves us with one final remark: “If I could teach people one thing, it would be how to correctly say croissant” (Kwah-san)

Liesl-Ann Vaz ’25 and Kate Regan ’25, Staff Writers,