Student Spotlight: José D’Oliveira

Irene Fueyo ‘19 interviewed José D’Oliveira, who is an international student from France in the senior class.

Irene Fueyo: Why did you decide to come to America?

José D’Oliveira: The last year, my sister, my half-sister, spoke with me about her exchange student, because she was an exchange student eighteen years ago, so she went to [the] United States, and it’s very important for French people to learn English, so I decided to become an exchange student. I asked my program to come to the United States, and they said yes.

IF: Did you choose to come to Houston, or was it selected randomly?

JD: First, I chose the United States, and, after the state, so Texas, but I didn’t choose where in Texas.

IF: Why did you want to come to Texas?

JD: Last year, I went to Vegas, and my sister lives in Canada, so the South of the United States was unknown for me.

IF: Did you use the same foreign-exchange program that your sister used?

JD: Yeah, it’s Rotary Club.

IF: Did you choose the school, or did the program choose it?

JD: No, it’s the program and my (host) family that chooses the school.

IF: What do you think about the school?

JD: It’s very nice, because it’s a little school, so everybody is friendly with others, as the teachers are also very friendly. In France, it’s teachers in one side and students in the other side, so it’s very nice because it’s little school, so everybody knows everybody.

IF: Did you already finish the lycée [French high school]?

JD: Yeah, I finished it last July, so I am graduated in France.

IF: So, you chose to came here to learn English only?

JD: It’s to learn English perfectly, because I would like to become airline pilot, and I need to speak English before college.

IF: Are you planning on going to college here?

JD: I can go to college in France or in Canada, because my sister lives in Canada. I don’t think I will go in the United States.

IF: When did you first realize you wanted to be a pilot?

JD: I chose that seven years ago, so two years ago, I began pilot class, so that’s why I think I will go to college in France, because, after, it’s easier for me to learn in airline pilots class, and we have one of the best in France.

IF: What drew you to wanting to be a pilot?
JD: I went to Australia, and, during the flight, I said to my mother, ‘“Ok, now, I would like to become airline pilot,” and it never changed.

IF: How old were you?

JD: Eleven.

IF: How different are you finding the American culture?

JD: Everybody and everything is different. Here people are more friendly, and everything is bigger. Your cars are just so big, and, yeah, it’s more friendly and just you-do-what-you-want and nobody is against that, so it’s cool.

IF: What were your thoughts during Hurricane Harvey?

JD: For me, it was nice, because my house wasn’t flooded, but I could swim in the street, but I know that lots of people were flooded, and lots of houses, so it’s very bad. Lots of people from France asked me about if I was okay.

IF: Had you experienced anything similar before?

JD: No.