Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Scheduling, Notre Dame, and more ice cream - of course!

Today was a relatively dull day with fantastic results. I say relatively because being in Paris is always more exciting than what I'm used to, so this day was just dull compared to the rest. We started by visiting two other La Sorbonne sites. The one, Clignancourt, is where I'll take my philosophy class (L1 level, even though it will probably be a little too easy - I really just want a basic La Sorbonne introduction to philosophy) and the other, Malesherbes, has lots of courses, but I don't think I'll take anything there. Both of these centers were ugly! Marie started by telling us that we'd start with "le plus loin et le plus moche" which means the farthest and the ugliest. She was right, but they were both pretty hideous, especially when you compare them to the historic La Sorbonne, or even just with Hopkins.

But, it doesn't seem fair to compare the universities here to universities in the US. The whole concept is just completely different - not just in how they teach the courses, but in what they expect the life of a college student to be. First of all, they don't expect college students to be poor, which is nice! They're public universities and they're all right in Paris. So, as long as you live in Paris, you don't pay for housing and you don't pay too much to go. Second, if you're a student in Paris, all the museums are free, there are special restaurants for university students where lunch only costs 3 Euros, and there are super cheap stores on the streets of the Latin Quarter where you can buy your textbooks. Interesting side note - back when La Sorbonne was still testing students with "La Disputation" and the only important knowledge was the classics, that was when they named the university section the Latin Quarter because everyone spoke Latin. Anyway, so it seems to me that, if you lived in Paris, college wouldn't be anything like what it is in the US. The experience I've had at Hopkins living on a beautiful campus where everyone is there just to learn has been fantastic. The libraries at these Parisian schools don't seem to compare to the subterranean monster at Hopkins (not to say that there aren't great libraries in Paris...!), and overall, the experience a Parisian student has is probably more like living at home and commuting. But hey, at least they're in Paris!

Anyway, the day continued and I figured out that none of my first choice courses conflict! So, if everything goes as planned, I'll have an L1 philosophy course at La Sorbonne, a French lit course and a l'OuLiPo writing workshop at Paris 8-St. Denis, the Art History course at CUPA, and finally a French lit course at l'ENS (which will be harder than all the other courses combined). Then, add my flute lessons, the student teaching internship (about 2 hours a week, I think), and teaching my older host brother's friends English for an hour and a half a week, and I'll have a pretty full schedule. But I still feel like it's less than what I do at Hopkins since I won't have band, orchestra, tutoring (I miss RYP!!), Newsletter, tutoring college students, or a really hard math course. Basically, I'm going to love my schedule.

I know I've already written a novel here, but I'm only about halfway through the day. After I had my wonderful revelation about my classes, we had our language class where we talked about the burqa (the full body covering that some really religious Muslim women wear) and how the French government is trying to outlaw it. The debate wasn't incredible - we mostly said that there was no use to this battle and that the government really doesn't have the right to tell people what they can and can not wear, though apparently in France, the government does tell people just that. Our professor said it was a lot of fighting over nothing, since fewer than 400 women in France wear the burqa. He also said that religious symbols in general have already been outlawed in schools unless they're covered or discreet. I found the discussion interesting because I had figured that, being more liberal than the US, France would be more politically correct. In the US, people are still afraid to profile Muslims in airport security even though it's obviously more likely that you'll find a terrorist profiling Muslims, whereas in France they tell an entire group of people that they can't practice a certain part of their religion. People in Paris also announce when they're going on strike - next week, for example.

After class, I went back to Berthillon to get some more of that great ice cream. This time I got white chocolate, since they were out of it the last time. On the way back, I stopped at Notre Dame. After that: dinner, news, homework, and here we are. Obviously, I've written enough. I'll just put the pictures on and go to sleep.

No comments:

Post a Comment