Mattieu Calheiros is the first in his family to come to the United States from France. He explained some of the ‘big’ differences he noticed.

“Everything is bigger, I mean the cars… the houses are bigger,” Calheiros said. “The living room is the size of the entire first floor of my house. It’s not common to have large houses like this in France.”

The streets of France

The streets of France. Photo credit: Mattieu Calheiros

He explained what he noticed about the people in the U.S., noting how they differ from what his parents and others think.

“People are very friendly (here), but that doesn’t mean it’s a (real) connection,” Calheiros said. “If you ask my parents or people in France, they will talk about (trivial) things…they don’t really have a bigger picture of ‘what is America.’ The perspective of other countries is different when you don’t know about it.”

Calheiros’ family lives in France. He has three younger sisters and a younger brother.

The streets of France in the summertime

The streets of France in the summertime. Photo credit: Mattieu Calheiros

“There’s only two of my siblings that are at home now,” Calheiros said. “My sister is in Spain. She’s doing her master’s right now. My other sister is in Spain on a mission…the same mission as me.”

His grandpa is from Portugal but lives an hour outside of the city. Calheiros explained how he and his family liked to visit his grandparents there.

“In the summer we go on trips to my grandparents,” Calheiros said. “They live north of France. We also go to the temple ’cause it’s like five hours away. Before, it was in Madrid.”

Calheiros has also traveled to areas of Brazil. He and his family also made week-long trips to visit the temple in Madrid, Spain.

“Sometimes they did youth trips, they did an entire youth trip to take all the youth to Spain,” Calheiros said.

The Paris temple was built in 2017, and his family began attending there.

Calheiros has also traveled a lot in recent years. He traveled for a mission and vacationed in Brazil.

Brazil

Streets of Brazil. Photo credit: Mattieu Calheiros

“The last five years, I have been away from home doing all these things,” Calheiros said. “I went on a mission in Canada, and, after, (I went to) France because of COVID.”

He served 18 months in Canada, six months in France and then spent a year doing school online at home before coming to the States.

“From my perspective, it’s another country. I try to visit new things. I could have stayed in France and gotten (a) cheaper education, but I was like ‘why not,'” Calheiros said, explaining why he chose to travel to the US. “I don’t think I knew exactly why to come here, but I love it. It’s been two years!”

Calheiros also talked about his journey to BYU-I.

“I was doing BYU-Pathway, and I didn’t know anyone in Idaho,” Calheiros said. “I knew one girl, and she was helping me.”

He later moved to Idaho and roomed with his friend’s boyfriend.

“Since then, I haven’t moved from (my) ward,” Calheiros said. “I started knowing no one, but now I know a lot.”

Calheiros also shared about his ward and school life in Idaho.

Calhieros (third from the left) and friends

Calheiros (left center) and friends. Photo credit: Mattieu Calheiros

“It’s good here,” Calheiros said. “I have only lived in Rexburg, and that doesn’t mean I have seen everything. I won’t know more unless I go around and see the culture.”

Calheiros wants to continue to travel and explore in the future.

“It’s better to have a better understanding of the countries around us. I think that’s why I want to travel.”

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