So I went to a real discussion session at a real French university yesterday. I take most of my classes at the IES center, but Northwestern requires you to take one outside. I wanted to take a Literature class at the Sorbonne, and the only one that worked out with my schedule was this random class on Greek mythology. I thought, yeah no problem. Easy stuff. This is what French students do.
Well it was slightly more difficult than that. I was a nervous wreck that morning. I met my friend at the metro stop, and we walked over to the classroom together acting all French and what not. I don’t know what it is about young French girls, but I just can’t dress or look the same way. No matter how hard I try. But despite our appearance, I don’t think we seemed too different from the other students looking for their classrooms. And despite our getting there half an hour early, we managed to arrive at our classroom just on time. Well just in time to grab the last two seats. Which were in the front row.
I have never been in that much mental turmoil for such a long period of time. My thoughts during this class were: the professor is going to call on me; he is going to ask me to read a passage out of the packet because I am so close; I can barely speak French; I would have to explain to everyone that I’m American and have an awful accent; then everyone in the class will mock me, including that really cute French boy in the back row; why did we not come earlier to insure we get seats in the last row, then I wouldn’t be so rattled about being called on and could have made some serious eye contact with French boy.
However, other than that internal mental breakdown, the class really wasn’t all that bad. The professor was nice, easy to understand, and the material was fairly simple (granted it was the first class so how hard is it to read through the schedule together?) He had a slight sweating problem, but hey we all have those days.
So to my knowledge, no one really found out we were Americans. I mean, until the end of class when my friend and I started speaking in English to each other. But if you walked into that classroom in session, I would just be one of the others. Well slightly wide eyed and badly dressed, but pretty much like the others.
However I am never going back to that class again. Not because I couldn’t handle it, but because I found a class that only meets for one hour a week instead of five. After all I’m not in Paris to sit in classroom, right?