Global Conversations: Quentin Rosso

By Saniya More

Home is about identity, not about place.

This is part of an ongoing series of stories for International Education Week 2017.

Photo by Hanna Benavides.

Photo by Hanna Benavides.

Quentin Rosso hates cheese.

It’s a fact about him that surprises many people he meets, because Quentin is from Paris, France, and cheese is a key ingredient in French cuisine.

Despite his queasy feelings about cheese, Quentin has stayed connected to his French roots throughout his time as an international student at Syracuse University, where he is now a senior and studies finance and political philosophy.  

Quentin chose to come to the United States for its global education.

“Back in France, we have a good education system but it’s not that international,” Quentin said. “There are so many different backgrounds here, people from different cultures-- that’s what I really liked when I came to SU.”

Quentin has been involved in a variety of organizations on campus. He is a part of the International Student Advisory Board, where he works with Chancellor Kent Syverud and other students to improve international student life on campus. Quentin has also worked as a mentor for first-year international students at the Slutzker Center, and is in the European Student Association and the French club on campus.

Besides this, Quentin is an active entrepreneur. Since freshman year, he has launched three businesses through the Blackstone Launchpad, an entrepreneurship program open to the campus community. One was an online media platform to share travel experiences, which later evolved into an online marketplace for travel experiences where students from different countries could meet. His third business was an online catering marketplace, ‘a Grubhub for catering.’

Quentin takes pride in his French heritage and has tried to connect everything he does back to his culture.

“It’s not because I’m French, I mean, I left France because I wanted to kind of escape from my culture. But when you’re outside your country, you love to share your culture,” he said. “The thing is, at one point, everyone in the world wants to go outside their cultural bubble. We want to get out of it, but at the same time, the more you are outside your country, the more you feel that you love your country.”

Quentin is no stranger to being separated from his family. His mother works in Belgium, his father, in Paris, and his brother, at university in Canada. Because of this, Quentin says he prefers being away from home, but still loves having a place he can go back to.

“Everyone needs home, but I think home is about identity, it’s not about the place. Having a place to match your identity is very good,” he said. “However, I feel that I could live 20 years outside of France and I would be fine. But I need to be connected to my culture through the way I live and interact with others.”

Quentin’s culture is an in-built part of him, something he takes with himself everywhere he goes.

“Once you re-understand your culture, you have the ability to remove yourself from the physical space and discover the intangible aspects of your culture. It doesn’t matter if I’m in Iceland or China-- I will always feel connected to my culture,” he said.

One of Quentin’s initial struggles as an international student was the language barrier. Having never gone to a private school, Quentin taught himself how to speak English. He also worked as an assistant teacher in an Australian university for two months when he was 15, which greatly improved his speaking abilities.

Quentin says he would have life no other way.

“Every day that I’ve spent here in the United States has been like being on holiday,” he said.

In the future, Quentin hopes to help French expats find jobs and start their own businesses, particularly in the United States.

Till then, he’ll keep finding new ways to connect his culture to everything he does, and continue hating cheese on the side.

Saniya More, a junior at Newhouse, speaks five languages and squeals over every dog she meets. She enjoys capturing candid yet poised photos of everyone she meets. If she’s not juggling news wraps, internships and homework in organised chaos, she can be found cooking up a mean Thai dinner.