Gabriel Levy is from France and has been studying at ELC Boston for 4 weeks in the English Plus Music program. Back home, Gabriel plays guitar in his band, Raving Shelter, while studying economics. Outside of the classroom, you can find Gabriel attending concerts, playing soccer, or exploring Boston with his classmates!
Where were you born and raised? Give us a mental picture of the place(s).
I was born and raised in the suburbs of Paris. I’m used to lots of diversity, the people in my neighborhood are from all over. Many are from North Africa, Asia, other parts of Europe.
What do you do for fun? What are your hobbies?
I like to play the guitar, I have a band with friends from high school called Raving Shelter that I have played with for two years. We played in a bar in Paris next to the Moulin Rouge. There was a Battle of the Bands and we made it through to the second round, but we couldn’t go to the second round because we had exams. We have our music on Soundcloud. I also like to play soccer and tennis.
What is your profession? What do you like about it?
My profession is that I am a student. Right now I am in university studying economics. I like it because I learn new things every day so it’s quite cool. You also make a lot of new friends, we can organize parties and I also play guitar in an association. All the musicians go to one room and we all jam together.
Tell us about your family, do you have kids? Siblings? Pets? Do they live close to you?
I have an older sister, she is 23, but she is studying right now so she could not come to Boston also. I have my parents and also a dog, an Australian shepherd. My sister rents an apartment in Paris and I live with my parents, but I try to have a little independence so I stay sometimes in Paris. Maybe this year I will look for an apartment in Paris so I can stay there.
Why did you choose to study English in Boston? Did you consider other options?
I had one month to spend in another country so I chose the U.S. because it’s not everyday that I can spend one month in a place so I chose to go far. For example, for the weekend from France I can go many places, like England, but since I had one month I decided to go further. Another reason, Boston is a big city I’ve always wanted to see. I’ve been to some cities in the U.S. with my family, but not Boston.
What are all the ways that Boston is different than your city/town?
First of all, Boston is safer, you can go to most places at any time and I feel safe on the street. In Paris, it’s quite safe, but you have to be careful at night. Boston is also smaller than Paris, and the train system isn’t as big as in Paris. The trains here are very easy to use! It is also not as crowded here as it in in Paris and the people here are kind. The people here are open, we can talk to you no problem.
What were you most surprised to learn about the US or Boston? Did you experience any culture shock?
I was a little shocked by the night life, it’s very different than in Paris. People here, my host family, has dinner very early. I go home to have dinner with them at 6 pm, but it’s okay because of the jetlag!
What do you miss most about your country?
I don’t miss that much, maybe just my bread. I haven’t found good French bread here. Other than that, just my family and friends. If they came here to Boston, I’d be okay!
What are your top three favorite places in Boston?
Fenway Park because I went to a game there and it was so fun. Baseball isn’t that exciting, but the stadium is magical and I feel like it’s a really different place. Then I like Newbury Street, that’s where I have my music lessons. There’s lots of music shops and it’s right by Berklee School of Music and the street is really cool with all the shops. It reminds me of London a little with its architecture. My third favorite place is Cape Cod, if that counts! I went to Hyannis with some other students. We went to the beach and rented some bikes, it was really nice!
Where have you found the best food from your country in Boston?
I haven’t really found French food, I didn’t really look. Today I will try the lobster rolls because everyone says you have to! We (other students) really like the cheeseburgers from Mooyah for lunch.
Favorite moment in class at ELC:
I think my favorite moment was the conversation class. Grammar is important, but communication is so fun because you speak with other students. It’s great to talk with people from other countries and other cultures and you learn a lot of interesting things. For example, this week we were discussing law, and it was cool to see that we have really different ways of thinking. Sometimes in class, you realize that not everyone and every country thinks like you.
Favorite activity at ELC:
I liked the activity “Dinner in Chinatown” because it was cool to have dinner with everyone and we were all students who were sharing an experience of a new place. Also, we all went and got bubble tea after! It was really different, but it was good! The bubbles are the best part, they don’t have much flavor, but they’re fun. Also, we played softball and that was really fun. Some of us have never played, we all tried each of the positions. We wanted to play after watching the baseball game at Fenway. We also went to a Bruins game!
What are some tips you have for people who want to learn English?
I think the best thing to do is to meet native speakers because they can teach you how they really talk. I met someone who gave me a tour of Boston, so you should definitely talk with local people if you have the opportunity. Especially in Boston, if you’re open and friendly with people, they’ll be nice to you and they’ll help you.
What are your plans after ELC?
I have to go back to school, I will be entering my second year. I start the day I get back. Many of my friends back in France have already started classes again, but my university starts very late. In second year you have an internship and in third year you have a 6-month work experience so I can travel, depending on where my school has a partner. I am thinking to go maybe to Asia, possibly South Korea