The Study in Study Abroad

Now that we’re about halfway through the semester, I feel pretty accustomed to the way classes work here. I am taking five classes, two at the University of Nantes and three at the IES Center.

I think my psychology class at the university is reflective of how most university classes are in France: lecture style, large class size, and limited contact between the professor and the students. Professors and students do not have the same kind of relationship as they do in the US and there is never a flock of students waiting to talk to the professor at the end of class. One thing that shocked me in this class is the fact that the students talk during the lecture. I had never experienced that before and I honestly found it disrespectful. Another difference with French classes is that there is generally no homework. We go to class for two hours, take notes, and will take a final at the end of the semester.

My other university class is translation. I really like this class. It’s much smaller (about 30 students) and the professor is funny. He loves English and making puns. He demands a lot more class participation so it is much more similar to the classes I am used to in the US.

My IES classes are of course much more American than the university classes. We have homework and midterms, the classes are small, and there is more student participation. And of course, since the professors know that French is not our first language, they speak more slowly and take the time to define terms we don’t recognize.

Overall, all of my classes are going well so far! I love taking classes conducted in French in all subject areas, not just French literature. I wish I could do that in the US! I’m glad that I have a mixture of university and IES classes although I know people taking all of their classes at the university as well as people taking all their classes at IES and they seem pleased as well. There are a lot of options to take what interests you, as long as you can fit everything in your schedule. Don’t be intimidated by the university classes! They’re not as scary as I was anticipating.

Since I have not taken pictures in my classes and if I did they would probably be pretty boring, here are some pictures of Nantes in the beautiful spring weather we’ve been having. 

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