I’ve had some crazy things happen to me before in my life. Being able to live a year in France, for example. Sometimes I still can’t believe it when I look back at the three months that have already passed and how I’ve gotten used to living a French life. But I never imagined to score a television interview.
Tuesday (5 December), after two hours of Math class school was finally over. The bell rang and everyone hurriedly packed up their bags and rushed towards the school gate. I was on my way with my friends when I passed through the foyer, saying goodbye to Mr. Marchal, our principal. However, he pulled me aside and asked me if I was interested in being interviewed by the local television. I was utterly shocked and speechless, having no idea how the television managed to notice me among hundreds or maybe thousands of students who go to school in Sarreguemines. I didn’t need to ask though, as Mr. Marchal suddenly brought up my blog. I knew myself that I had never mentioned writing on a blog to any teachers, and Mr. Marchal told me that it was the journalist who mentioned it to him.
I couldn’t believe it.
Just one month after creating a blog, it had already reached more people than I thought.
The moment I got home, I discussed this topic with Maman, who had already been contacted by the journalist. I was a hundred percent okay with being interviewed, but of course the opinion of my host parents mattered too. In the end, they also agreed to it. Maman called back to the journalist to give her the go ahead. Arrangements were made and I was scheduled to meet the television team a week later, which was Tuesday (12 December).
I didn’t think too much about it over the weekend as we were in Paris for family events. But Tuesday came quicker than I expected and before I knew it I was starting to feel nervous during lunch time at school. I had no idea what questions the journalist was about to ask me, and I worried that I would stutter a lot while on camera. I knew I tend to stop myself in the middle of talking to do some little verb conjugating in my head. (The most complicated thing about French grammar…)
The clocked ticked around to 14h30 and I excused myself from History class, only to run into Mr. Marchal on the stairs along with the journalist and the cameraman. The journalist introduced herself as Uranie and she looked no older than 25 years old. They were just about to come to our classroom because they wanted to film me in class. Our history teacher had no objections so Uranie and the cameraman settled themselves in the front corner of the room with the camera on a large tripod. They even turned on the lighting and at one point the cameraman brought the camera behind me to get a scene of me writing down some notes. I could feel the intense heat of the light on the back of my neck.
They told me that they had captured enough footage, so we went to the foyer and chose a relatively quiet corner to do the interview.
To my relief, Uranie went over the questions with me before actually filming. Some were left for Mr. Marchal to answer, and I mostly talked about my motives for becoming an exchange student, why I chose France, and my process of blending into the usual lifestyle in the town near the country border.
The bell sounded and my classmates arrived at the foyer, but few of them stayed, because we had a Math test right after recess and most people prefer going there early to begin. However, Lyne and Elodie stayed with me to film a short footage of us talking and laughing. The trick was to act like the television team did not exist and there was no huge black camera right beside you. We talked about anything we could come up with –
“Hey are you ready for the Math test?” “No.” “I’m scared!!!” …….etc.
Finally we collected our belongings before walking to the “salle des devoirs” (a huge classroom specially for taking exams). Uranie filmed us the whole way and we settled down to face the long list of math problems we’ve been dreading… The camera continued filming from a few different angles, and then the television duo said goodbye to me.
That was not the end though. They were interested in my life with my host family as well. The next day, Wednesday 13 December, school finished at 11h and I got home at around 13h. At about 14h15, the doorbell sounded and we welcomed Uranie into our home. This part of the interview was mostly for my host parents, talking about their decision of hosting an exchange student. On my side, I was asked about my blog, which I really happily talked about. I forgot to mention my blog name in the interview though!
One thing I’m really glad about is that I wore the FuHsing hoodie in the interview. It’s a proud representation of my high school back in Taiwan. I was filmed playing the piano, discussing with my host parents, and writing on my blog.
Overall, it was a very special and fun experience. It was one of a kind. And the cool thing was that I actually want to be a journalist in the future, so it was really nice to talk to someone working in the field. Uranie gave me some advice on this job and even recommended a journal that employs people from all over the world because they need large amounts of translators in order to fulfill the needs of their global readers.
While talking about my blog, I mentioned that I originally wanted to write a book about my year abroad when I get back to Taiwan, but then decided not to because someone had already written a book. If I did the same thing, there would be nothing special about my project. The boy who wrote a book about his exchange experiences passed his year in Finland, a rare choice for exchange students. Because of that, he actually got interviewed by the local newspaper as well.
What coincidence we have!
My interview with Mosaik TV was a part of the “30 Minutes Daily” of 19th December. I will put the video in another post, along with Chinese and English translations that I need some time to work on. 😉
Annabelle, You are so great and I’m so proud of you.