William has an older sister.
William lives with his family—his parents and 22-year-old sister Victoria—in an apartment right in the center of the city.
School starts at 8 a.m. and finishes most days at 5 p.m., with a one-hour break for lunch. Every effort is made in France to make sure young people eat a well-balanced meal at lunchtime. School lunch will include a choice two appetizers (usually vegetables), a main course, cheese, and a dessert for €5 ($7).
Most high school students use the self-service school canteen for lunch. A typical lunch for William would be a sweet corn salad as an appetizer followed by veal stew and rice. Students have a choice of fresh fruit, yogurt, or a light pastry for dessert.
Lunches and school fees cost €170 a month ($228). William is lucky that he doesn’t have to pay for school—his father picks up the tab. In addition, William receives an allowance of €30 ($40) a month.William receives an allowance of €30 ($40) a month.
In William’s class there are 24 students, including internes (boarders). Students stay together for the year, but not necessarily every year. William’s case shows that they might have to stay behind a year.
Each class session lasts 50 minutes. At the beginning of the term, students check the notice board to see where the different classes will be held. The classroom allocation rarely changes during the term. The subjects vary every day.
Being WilliamWilliam particularly likes going to the Parc de la Tête D’or (Golden Head Park) in Lyon, where he can cycle and visit the open-air zoo.
In his spare time William enjoys being with friends and appreciates city life. "Lyon is great for everything; there is all we need. There are a lot of historic places to visit and a lot of activities," he said.
William does not have a steady girlfriend; his friends are both girls and boys. They often meet in their favorite café after school or at weekends.
Cafées are a way of life in France, a meeting place, a place to hang out where you can linger for an hour or two. Students go to cafés essentially to meet up with friends, not to have a meal. William usually has coffee in the morning and a beer in the evening.
One of European basketball's biggest fans.
William and his friends like to meet at someone’s house and go to the cinema together or the discothèque. He likes going to the cinema when he can and uses his student identification card which allows him to pay €6 ($8) instead of €9 ($12) at the cinema.
As you might expect, William’s monthly allowance isn’t enough to pay for all his leisure activities, so William has a few "little jobs." He gives English lessons to students two years younger than he is, charging €10 ($13) per hour. He also baby-sits for his neighbors and even looks after another neighbor’s cat.
In France you have to be 18 to get a proper job with a contract. Contracts are normal for almost all jobs.
William is a keen sportsman and finds that the two hours allocated for ping pong and volleyball at school is not enough. He would like more hours for sports at school. He is passionate about basketball and tries to play whenever he can; he even coaches a girls’ team twice a week, for free.William's student discount can be worth as much as 33% off for things like movie tickets.
"I discovered basketball when I was 8 years old," he explained. "I like it because it keeps me fit and when I play I forget all about classes and homework. Yes, I played some football when I was little, but I much prefer basketball."
William looks forward to driving his own car.
William would like to take driving lessons soon and eventually to buy a car. But driving lessons are expensive in France and he can only learn through a driving school with a qualified instructor. His parents are not allowed to give him driving lessons in the family car.
In the meantime he is busy saving, has his own bank account, and is trying not to have any debts.
"I have to get my BAC next year. I can’t wait to check my name on the Internet when the results come out," he said.
Meanwhile he’s on the lookout for a well paying summer job; two months’ income will help enormously towards his new car.