What I love: learning
What I don’t love: studying
Lucky for me, my life in Paris is heavy on the learning (experiential, mostly), light on the studying. Nevertheless, I am currently taking 4 classes.
1. Academic Writing: Taught in French to American students. Learning how to write a French ‘dissertation.’ It’s actually not all that different from types of academic/analytic writing that is common in American universities. Very dialectic, with an intro, developed body, and conclusion.
2. Le Mythe de Paris: Taught in French to American students. Class addresses why Americans romanticize paris, and whether these clichés and impressions are true. Basically an exploration of American pop culture regarding Paris! During the first class, we listened to part of the radio show “This American Life”. I looked up the transcript and pulled my favorite quote, from a woman who has lived in Paris for 5 years:
Why do you live in Paris? And I say, well, you know, I just sort of wanted to. All the reasons that you give sound really embarrassing, cliche, and ridiculous at this point. I mean, Paris is a stale dream. And it’s kind of like falling in love with the most obviously cute boy in the class, or like the star of this– or like a movie star. It’s like being a groupie. And then you try to convince the other 25 women who he slept with the last week, well, you know, I really love him, and I think he loves me, too.
3. La Diversité: Taught in French to American students and students from the prestigous university- Sciences Polytechniques. We discuss cultural differences and progress made towards ending discrimination in education, in the workplace, etc. Very interesting! Discussion based- which is intimidating with native French speakers! Also, we have visiting lecturers who talk about their academic studies on discrimination or affirmative action, etc.
4. Merleau-Ponty: Taught in French at Paris IV, a French university. I’ve only been to one class so far because it just started. I felt right at home when the professor started lecturing and I recognized philosophy terms, and names of well-known philosophers. The whole gang- Rawls, Wittgenstein, Camus, Sartre, Descartes. Thankfully the professor has a nice and slow lecture style with lots of reflective pauses- ideal for the non-native. I’m definitely not at a level where I can understand EVERYTHING- but crazy cool to be able to listen and comprehend like 90% of what’s going on.
Special mention to “Métiers de l’écrit”, a second class choice that I decided against taking. Prof talked a mile a minute and this French guy in the class told her to slow down! Woah.