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Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

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Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022

People of UT: Jade Debski-Beyrat

Editor’s note: This podcast was originally uploaded to Spotify on April 29, 2024. 

In this two-part People of UT series, Audio Producer Emma Ngo talks to two different international students to hear about their experience at UT. In this episode, hear from Jade Debski-Beyrat, an exchange student from France.

Reported and produced by Emma Ngo. Cover photo courtesy of Jade Debski-Beyrat and designed by Carla Garcia Leija. Music by Blue Dot Sessions.


*upbeat music*


Emma Ngo: Welcome to People of UT, the show that introduces you to members of the UT community who have made a positive impact, big or small, on other community members. In this mini-series, we’ll be talking to international students from three different continents to hear about their experiences at UT. I’ll be your host for this series, Emma Ngo.


Jade Debski-Beyrat: I’m Jade. I’m from the south of France in the city called Montpellier, which is like in the Occitanie region of France, it’s like 20 minutes away from the sea. I spent most of my life there. And then when it came time to go studying after high school, I went to this political science school called Po, which is in France and has different campuses all around France. And so I studied there for two years, all my classes were in English, because each campus has like a specialization in some region of the world. And a lot of my classes were also oriented toward the United States. And so as part of the program in this school for the third year, it’s mandatory to go abroad. And you have to make a list of six choices all around the world because the school has a lot of partnerships with colleges and universities everywhere. And so all my choices were in the U.S. because it made sense after my two years on this campus to come here. And UT was actually my first choice. So I’m very satisfied and happy to be here.


Emma: Jade began her journey in mid-August and described UT as a lively and active environment, complemented by sports such as college football, which she did not get to see in France. She highlighted the campus as a perfect balance between a true American experience and a liberal exception in a Republican state, mentioning the great cultural life with music, cinema, and landscape. This is why she chose UT for her two-semester exchange program. She’ll return to France after this semester. 


Jade: I wanted to take mostly journalism and cinema classes because I want to do my master’s degree next year in journalism and cinema is one of my main interests in this life. So I wanted to combine the two and I learned in the news that Austin and UT Austin was known for these classes in particular. So I got to follow a couple of ones. Not as much as I would have wanted to, especially during the first semester because there are a lot that are restricted to like journalism major or RTF major and I am undeclared red here because I didn’t know like for the exchange year if I had to like go and follow a specific path and so it stayed very general. So it made it a bit harder to have all the classes I wanted but in the end, I managed to discover a lot of things and still follow some of the classes I wanted to at first. 


Emma: Jade told me about her first day of classes at UT


Jade: It was fun. It was so hot. So warm, I was not prepared. Like, I’ve been told that it was that hot here, but I was not prepared for it being that hot. Like, we don’t have those temperatures in France. So I was very sweaty but very excited to go to this American Campus and experience this American campus life, that I’ve only seen in the movies before, you know, and it is very cliche in the movies. But there are some things that you can still see here. So yeah, it was very exciting. I was very happy with my classes. I felt like I made the right choice. 


Emma: She said that being at UT feels like a dream.


Jade: I was, I was just so happy. I was like, I’m very lucky. This is the life I would have dreamed of when I was in high school. I would have never thought that three years after, I would be abroad for a whole year, traveling all around meeting so many new and cool and interesting people, and experiencing this lifestyle. Yeah, when I was 15, I was like, ah, being in the U.S. being an American Campus. This is the dream. And I’m living it. So I’m very happy about it. And so grateful.


Emma: As for the classes, Jade said that in France, her classes were way more focused on writing skills while they are more about talking and debating in class in the U.S. Jade said it feels easier studying here because the professors encourage debate and discussion. She said that unlike in France, she feels like she’s able to speak up and say what she thinks in class. 


Emma: She told me about some of the organizations she’s joined on campus.


Jade: Yeah, so DKA, my org, I’m having so much fun there. 


Emma: DKA, or Delta Kappa Alpha, is a professional cinematic society


Jade: The people are so inspiring, so creative, and interesting. I actually did one of their short films that they made last semester, and there are so many projects that have already been made last semester and are being made this semester. And every time I speak with them, and I get to spend time with them, I feel like those people were part of the most interesting and inspiring people there is here, you know, so yeah, I’m very happy to have joined this org. There’s this org for international students in general, Planet Longhorn that organizes a lot of events for international Americans can also come back. It’s mainly made for international students at first, and they organize parties and get together. And I went to a couple of ones, we made friends from the org and people that we met during the events of the org. And so it was a really good way also to meet international students and people from all around the world who have so many different experiences of life and or kind of experiencing the same thing you are for one or two semesters, you know.


Emma: While she’s studying at UT, she’s taking every opportunity to see as much of the world as she can.


Jade: Yeah. Even other cities we went to, with my friends LA, San Diego, New York, San Antonio, Dallas, Houston. I’m going to New Orleans in two days. And, for spring break, I’m going to Costa Rica, and also been to Mexico. So I’ve been, I’ve been seeing things, you know, I was like, might as well, it’s now or never…not now or never but like a very cool occasion to see as much as I can see, specifically, and especially because I haven’t done it before at all in my whole life. So I’m like, I’m here, I can travel for a cheaper cost than I would from France so might as well enjoy as much as I can. And, also, the United States being so big, it puts kind of like the distances in perspective. Like before in France, I was like, huh, going to Germany, it’s so far from the south. Now, it’s nothing compared to here, where in Texas, you can travel for five hours, and you’re still in Texas, where you can go to a whole other country in France, if you’re in the South, in five hours, you’re in Mid Spain, you know. So like, it puts everything in perspective. And yeah might as well enjoy it here, and I’m counting on enjoying Europe when I come back after. 


Emma: Talking about Austin, Jade couldn’t hide her love for the city. A beautiful place with nice weather, filled with the Texan spirit, and a perfect place to live. She experienced the welcoming atmosphere with nice people, where she didn’t feel disoriented or being lost, and the city in general made her want to come back and show it to her friends and family. 


Jade: I feel like it’s the perfect student city when you’re 20 to 21, it’s perfect to live there


Emma: But, there was one thing she would change if she could start over her time at UT


Jade: Try to get and speak with more Americans, Americans, because I got close with, like I said, a lot of friends in Pearl Street with a lot of international students and Americans in Pearl Street too, like, talk to people in my classes more that I don’t know, even if I feel like one of the hardest things here, is that it’s very like everyone is so friendly. And, it’s very easy to have a small conversation with anyone. It’s way harder to make actual friends. Like the line between friendly and friend is a big one, you know. And, so maybe just try to talk and small talk also like with a lot of people repetitively until you cross this line, you know, yeah, that would be the one thing I would change. But once again, I’m not complaining at all about my experience here. 


Emma: I asked her if she wanted to give any advice for future exchange students


Jade: I would say don’t get scared about not being able to communicate as perfectly as you would want to, especially at first, this is something that you learn and you get better at by speaking with people that don’t care if your English is not perfect. No one cares at all. If you speak with them. They’re very happy. I would say try to go to as many things and places as you can see the U.S., see Austin, go to parties, go to places, go out, visit the city, just go around, just don’t stay in your room because you are kind of scared or worried of what is out there. It is only the best out there. And that’s how you meet so many good people, and that you discover so many cool places. I feel like yeah, just getting there. Go completely dive in, you know, and embrace it. 


Jade: I’m just once again so grateful to be part of this campus, even if it’s just for two semesters, and to see this life here. Yeah. Goodbye. Au Revoir. 


*upbeat music*

Emma: People of UT is a production of The Daily Texan Audio Department. If you liked this episode, make sure you subscribe to The Daily Texan Podcasts on your streaming platform of choice and follow us on Twitter @texanaudio. This episode was reported and edited by me, Emma Ngo. The music is by Blue Dot Sessions and the cover photo is by Jade Debski-Beyrat. Thank you for listening!

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