Rendez-vous au bal de promo!


Elea Gasmi

My friend and I group took prom pictures in front of the CSU Art Center.

For many American teenagers, prom may be one of the most anticipated events of their high school experience. For others, it might just be one of the many other school events that they aren’t really interested in. Yet, whether or not they are looking forward to attending the big dance, every American teenager knows all about prom’s excessive dress code and traditions. 

As an exchange student who grew up in France, I never had any school dance or major end-of-the-year events. To me, prom only existed in cliché, coming-of-age, romantic American movies. Yet, almost every non-American teenager has heard of the famous event. 

I had been dreaming about going to prom for as long as I can remember. I recall playing with my friends and pretending to get ready for the big day when we were just little girls, dreaming of when it would finally be our turn to wear the sparkly, colorful dresses and high heels. 

As it is heavily idealized in movies and TV shows, prom is one of the events that many exchange students are most excited about during their high school experience in the United States. 

“The thing I was looking forward to the most during my exchange year was definitely prom. Wearing my dress, taking photos with all of my friends, going to the dance; all of that felt like I was living my American dream,” Spanish exchange student Sara Miranda-Ramos said when asked about prom. 

Getting ready all together with my friends was probably my favorite part of the day. Doing each other’s makeup and hair, trying on our dresses while singing along to music, taking photos, and going out to dinner felt just like what I was expecting my American prom to be. 

Spending my first American prom with my friends was an incredible and magical experience that felt like a childhood dream come true. Yet, I had some expectations coming from the prom stories shared in the media that weren’t met. For example, no nomination of a prom king and queen; which made me wonder: Does it only exist on TV?

From my prom experience, I would say that the preparation and the day leading up to the dance was more exciting than the dance itself, as the dance floor was really crowded and the music did not meet mine or my friends’ assumptions. Yet, I will definitely remember this day as a milestone in my exchange year and an incredible story to share with my friends back home.