From Canada to the United States: Kélaine Levesque in the first group of foreign exchange students back at LSE after COVID-19 shutdowns


Nicole Tinius

Junior Kélaine Levesque at Lincoln Southeast High School focusing on assignments.

Nicole Tinius, Editor-in-Chief

Her name is Kéliane Levesque, but you can call her Keke. 

As a junior, 17-year-old Levesque is able to experience the United States for the first time in her life. 

The pandemic put a pause on foreign exchange students last year as many were unable to come due to travel restrictions. However, this year, Lincoln Southeast (LSE) is fortunate enough to be able to host students from all over the world once again. 

From Quebec, Canada, Levesque’s first language is French, but it’s a little different from the French class she now takes at LSE.  

“Sometimes [taking a French class here] is easy because I understand, but I’m from Quebec so I speak Quebecois, where [students here] learn French from France and it’s not the same,” she said.

This language challenge was a little nerve-wracking for Levesque, but it’s not holding her back from trying new things. 

“I was scared of being able to speak or people [not being able to] understand me,” she said. However, she is excited to take unique classes and really have fun with her study abroad year.

As for her classes, her favorite subject so far is Chemistry. She explained that her excitement is coming from her ability to pick and choose the classes she wants to take which is different than the traditional Canadian schooling way. 

“[In Canada] you really need to know where you want to go, but here you can really choose whatever you want,” she said.

She used the example of science classes to show how different picking classes can be. 

“In Canada you can only choose if you want chemistry, physics, or biology,” while here students are able to partake in all three, she said.

Besides exploring new science classes, she is also trying new sports.

This year, Levesque is on the LSE cross country team and plans to try out for track and field in the spring. 

Her main goal, regardless of what she does or where she goes, is to make friends. 

Getting out and meeting people is one of the many reasons she joined the cross country team. 

“You can make a lot of friends there, [and] that’s my goal… why not,” she said.

In Canada, she kept very active with volleyball and running on her own, but running in races will be something new for her.  

Back home, Levesque has her parents, two older sisters, a younger brother, two dogs, and a cat that she will be reuniting with in May. 

Until then, she will be ready to dive into whatever adventures and experiences she can, with her fresh start saying, “I can be whatever I want,” she said.