What struck me the most about French teenagers is how adult-like they seem. Not only their appearances, but their daily lives too.
The first thing I remarked on my first day at school was how nobody looked like a teenager. From the way they dress, for Asian standards it is already quite mature. However, I found myself very content to be among an atmosphere like this because, for once, I didn’t get remarks such as “you look 25” because of my European-American styled outfits. And I could finally put some use to my makeup bag that I rarely touch back in Taiwan.
Teenagers here pay a lot of attention to their appearances, but it never seems to affect their schoolwork, like many Asian parents would think. They coordinate clothings and change their hair however they want. I love how everyone can express their personal styles liberally, and their confidence that radiates when they are in their most preferred states is just mesmerizing.
However I guess it’s because of the difference between the two cultures – in Europe, students have more free time. They can balance their studying time with dates, nights out, sleepovers or simply some relaxation.
Speaking of dates, I find that French teenagers start serious dating when they’re pretty young. Most French parents are quite open-minded, too. They don’t freak out when their children get in relationships, neither do they chase after their children with a thousand questions and make the kid feel uncomfortable. In fact, they encourage them to devote to their partners. The parents also make efforts to get to know their child’s girlfriend or boyfriend, inviting them to eat or just to spend time with the family. And I think it’s partly because of this kind of support that teenagers get from their parents that they are able to engage in such steady and long-term relationships.
Overall, French teenagers give me the impression of being very independent. I believe it’s because they are given a lot of personal space and well-respected by their parents. Most importantly, they are treated and expected to act more like adults.
還記得第一天到法國高中，踏入校門口卻感覺像是走進一所大學 — 同學們看起來像大人，這是第一眼從他們的穿著就能做出的結論。比起亞洲的社會文化，他們的穿搭風格顯得成熟。但我來到這個環境是挺開心的，因為總算不會有人看我的歐美式穿搭而說「妳看起來像25歲耶」之類的話。在台灣很少碰的化妝包也可以派上用場了。