It’s in our name

French and American cultures are the school’s DNA. The French American Academy has built itself on the core belief that bilingual education opens the minds and the hearts of children. It makes them become international citizen.

After 13 years of existence, we have developed an extensive understanding of French and American cultures. As a result, we know their differences and similarities. Each day, we try to provide the best of both worlds to our students. This is part of the school’s core mission and values

As a parent, student, member of our community, you may be curious about what these differences are. So we’ve built this section for you!

What are the main differences / similarities in the French and American cultures?

Shock culture is a reality. We experience it whenever our beliefs are being challenged or even destroyed by another culture. In that case, most of the time, we see misunderstanding, frustration and missed opportunities.

At the French American Academy, we’ve built 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 have far more critical thinking than Americans. Here’s a basic chart summarizing this.

Table summarizing French and American cultures 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.

Picture of the pyramidal Lewis model, showing a mapping of countries according to their cultural type

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 and 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