French & American Cultures

It's in our name!

At French American Academy, French and American cultures form the foundation of our educational philosophy. Our belief in the power of bilingual education to broaden students’ perspectives and instill a sense of global citizenship has guided us for the past 13 years.

Through our years of experience, we have gained a deep understanding of both French and American cultures, highlighting their unique characteristics and similarities. Our goal is to provide our students with the best of both worlds, which is integral to our mission and values.

For those who are curious about the cultural differences, this section is specifically designed for you – whether you’re a parent, student, or member of our community.

What are the main Differences & Similarities in the French and American cultures?

Culture shock is a reality. We experience it whenever our beliefs are being challenged by another culture. In that case, we see misunderstanding, frustration and missed opportunities.

At the French American Academy, we have an extensive experience in understanding and teaching bilingualism. Many of our staff, students, and families are French or American. As a matter of fact, we live and breathe the two cultures.

Below is a snapshot of how they stand. Disclaimer : the below represents general attributes and tendencies. It can be caricatural and needs a cautious interpretation. It is by no means an exact representation of each culture, nor a representation of each country’s citizen.

Being Positive, being Negative

To put it simply, Americans are much more positive than French, and French are using criticism way more than Americans. Here’s a basic chart summarizing this.

French and American culture's basic understanding of a statement.

The Lewis Model

Richard Lewis, after visiting 135 countries and working in more than 20 of them, came to a key conclusion : 

Humans can be divided into 3 clear categories, based not on nationality or religion but on BEHAVIOR. In his book, “when cultures collide”, Richard Lewis defines how Americans and Frenchs (among others) behave.

The Pyramidal Lewis Model

Americans and French Listen Differently

2 pie charts showing how Americans and French tend to listen to a speech, according to their cultural differences.

Communication Differences

Table showing how Americans and French tend to communicate according to their cultural differences.

Behavior & Perception Differences

Table showing Americans and French behavior and perceptions according to their cultural differences.

Want to know more?

Plenty of resources exist on the web so feel free to expand your knowledge by yourself! On our website, you can learn more about our bilingual approach in the classrooms and the benefits of being bilingual. For a more academics-oriented overview, you can also visit our French and American school system differences page.

Follow the links for more tips, or to discover the French American Academy’s community

This page is inspired by the work of Sophie Lechner, from The Global Growth Experience

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