Sunday, January 30, 2011


This week was my first week of classes in France! I'm taking one course, Translation II, at the University of Nantes, and the rest are at the IES Center. It's kind of weird because the schedules for the classes are all random, so I'll have my lit class 12-1:15 on Monday, and then 11:30-12:45 on Tuesday. I probably won't ever memorize my schedule. My earliest classes start at 9am (3 days a week), 10:15 (1 day), or 8:30 (1 day). Luckily I live right by my school so for the 8:30 class I can still wake up at 8 and just run around the corner! Inbetween classes I've just been killing time at the center doing homework or watching movies with friends, or running errands if I need to. Tuesday nights we have Conversation Club which is when French students come and we spend half of the time speaking in French and the other half in English for them to practice. Fridays I only have one class at 9 so I have pretty much the whole day free. Here are my classes:

Translation II: This is my class at the university. I'm not really sure why I'm in level II but I am. Two of my friends are also in it with me. Since it's at the uni, there's a mix of French students and our students. The French to English translation we did for homework wasn't horrible, but I definitely needed a dictionary to check things. The English to French one was a beast. How am I supposed to know the word for porthole in French off of the top of my head? It was a James Joyce excerpt so that probably didn't help. We have a mid-term and final exam, and we aren't allowed to use dictionaries for them, so hopefully they're easier than what we've gotten already. Class is cancelled for this week though, which is nice.

Panorama of French Theatre (17th-20th Century): I have the most homework for this class, and since its a Monday/Tuesday class, I only have one night to do some of it. It seems alright so far. We're starting with Phedre by Racine, and I pretty much understand it so that's good. Later in the semester we'll be reading La fausse suivante by Marivaux, Ruy Blas by Hugo, and Agatha by Marguerite Duras. I also I have to pick another piece from a list to read myself and present or something. I'm not really sure. That's kind of a pattern with all of the classes. We eventually have to do something big but they're really vague.

Religion, Society, and the State in Modern France: For this class we pretty much get lectured at, which is fine. Our professor is this old guy that makes jokes occasionally, but he never smiles so it can throw you off. The other day he made some comment about how if we all survive the semester, and if he doesn't die by the end of it. It was weird. The topic is interesting though. We started this week by talking about religion in France around the Revolution, and then we'll start talking about the secular state. Again, I have no idea how much work this class will actually entail. Oh well.

French 19th and 20th Century Art: Our professor was sick this week sooo I have no idea how this class is!

Topics in Advanced French Language and Composition: This is my grammar/conversation/language class. By some miracle I tested into the highest level, so it was optional to take the class, but that's kind of the whole point of taking classes in I'm taking it. Our prof is interesting, but she is terrifying to everyone at the same time. I have to go to some conference about Poland this week for this class. We switch between going over grammar issues we've noted, and random language things, like vocabulary and reading articles.

In other news, I've planned my winter vacation trip to Ireland/Scotland! All of the plane/train tickets are booked, and now we're just doing hostels and eventually will figure out things to do. I also got a library card for the municipal library, Mediatheque, right by where I live. It was only 3 euros so not bad. I found a little store that sells peanut butter for all of my friends that miss it. Today we went to the Museum of Natural History, which is right down the street from me. It was only 2 euros for students. I took a few pictures so I'll put those up soon. I'm hoping to take some pictures of Nantes tomorrow after class, so hopefully my next post will have those! Also, I went to a traditional Breton dance/concert this weekend, so I'll talk about that later too!

Everyone in the Midwest, enjoy the blizzard!

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