Wednesday, October 2, 2013

C'est la Vie Universitaire: Classes

Mercredi, 2 octobre.

When I started writing this post, I began to type, "I'm almost done with my ... " and then realized that I actually had no idea how many weeks ago I started classes! Time is absolutely FLYING by here: I honestly cannot believe it's already October. (Although I'm loving the slightly cooler temperatures.)

After some quick planner checking, I've realized that this is my FOURTH week of school ... and it feels like the first day of class was yesterday! The semester is twelve weeks long, so I'm already one third of the way through. (I know, right?! Incroyable.)

Since the add/drop period is over, I've finally finalized my schedule for the semester. It was really tough picking my classes and even harder deciding which of them to drop, but I've got it all figured out and happy with the final product. I'm taking six classes; although that's a little bit on the heavier end of the spectrum, it's nothing crazy! I ended up keeping all of my Relations Internationales classes (the ones designed for American students) as well as three integrated courses.

My first class of the week is Culture Générale en Histoire de l'Art. It's billed as an "art history" class beginning with the fall of the Roman Empire, but so far it's just been like ... "let's study early Christian churches!" But you know what? I really like early Christian churches!

My second real integrated class is Medieval Regional History of Languedoc. This is turning out to be a pretty fun class! Each week, we have a cours magistral (dark maroon, Wednesday mornings) and a travail dirigé (light maroon, Monday afternoons). Upside of this class: the lectures are really well organized and the professor is very nice. She's even letting us submit our text commentaries in writing instead of an oral presentation. (Can you say EMBARASSING?) Downside: the professor constantly refers to us American exchange students as "nos amis anglophones" or "our English-speaking friends." So much for blending in, right?

German (Allemand in French) is my final integrated class. That's right, I FINALLY found a German class... llike Goldilocks, I just had to test out a few bowls of porridge first! Unfortunately, unlike Goldilocks, my situation wasn't too hot, too cold, and just right, but rather way too hard, still too hard, and too easy. Even though it's meant for third-year university students, the class I'm in now is almost definitely below my level. (The other day we learned how to say "mother" and "father"!) Still, it's the only option that's anywhere near my level and it's definitely better than nothing. Besides, learning another language is actually already helping my French! Because I'm supposed to be concentrating on the German, I have to sort of let French run in the background; that way, if I need to explain something, I'm ready to switch languages. I haven't slipped up and spoken English yet, but I'm sure it'll happen at some point!

My only twice-a-week class is French as a Foreign Language, but it's not really twice a week: on one day, we learn grammar and on the other, we focus on methodology. So far, we've gone over a couple of different types of writing and reviewed a few verb tenses. Luckily, the class is split into three levels, so we're not stuck doing anything too basic -- but it's definitely not any more advanced than something I'd get at W&M. Still, learning how to write different assignments "the French way" (like résumés and commentaires) will be helpful, and it's always helpful to review grammar. Even if this is my eighth consecutive year learning the subjonctif.

FLE might be twice a week, but the award for my LONGEST class goes to Contemporary French Civilization: two and a half hours! (Phew.) Although the class is a little long, it moves pretty quickly -- we're trying to cover really big issues, so we can't spend too much time on one aspect. So far, after the first four weeks, we've already discussed the European Union, the French political system, the education system and laïcité (France's special word for total separation of Church and State), and the French working world. All in all, it's a pretty cool class ... AND Molly and I totally rocked our presentation on the French executive!

Last but not least ... (just kidding, it's also least) ... Phonetics. Hmm, how to explain how I feel about phonetics...? Okay. Do you remember in the first Harry Potter book, when all the first years go to their first flying lesson? Everyone is excited, but Hermione hates it because it's skillbased -- not something she can study and learn out of a book? That. Is. Phonetics. UGH.

1 comment:

  1. Haha! Harry Potter is mentioned in your blog at last! I love it! Your classes sound perfect, a little bit of a lot! Thank you for giving us the schedule. I will have it on the frig by the end of the day!

    Love, Mommy