One of the perks of being in the Honors program here at Iowa State University is early registration: you get to register for classes with the class ahead of you. This is awesome in a lot of ways: you get your choice of classes before they fill up, you have more flexibility in the classes you take, and most of the time you can avoid those nasty 8:00am classes.
In fact, I never knew that registering early had a down side… until now. Because, ladies and gentlemen, I am not even half-way done with my semester in France, and yet yesterday I was reunited with reality when I had to register for classes for next Fall.
It reminded me: I’m only in France for 4 months! In the 7 weeks I’ve been here, I feel like I’ve changed so much, and really become “Franco-phoned.” In fact, this past weekend when I went to Rome, I found myself missing the Parisian metro and annoyed at the not-very-French, overly-talkative Italian pedestrians.
And I was still in Europe.
Returning to Ames from Paris is going to be a huge adjustment. The more I think about it, the more I realize how many differences there are between France in the United States. And thus I present to you, in an attempt to create a relevant blog post, a list of just some of the differences between French and American Universities:
1. No applause, please.
In Paris, it is customary to applaud the professor when they conclude their lecture. Depending on how good it is, students tend to give standing ovations—I didn’t realize this until the second week here, as I thought people were standing up to leave.
This doesn’t often happen in the United States, although I have applauded Dr. Mansbach after a political science lecture once, because he is a genius, and the Cuban Missile Crisis was handled brilliantly.
Note: I was given funny looks. No one gets a funny look if they applaud a professor in France.
2. Professors aren’t afraid to embarrass you.
I’m actually looking forward to returning to the U.S. for this reason… Everyone in France is more expressive, so naturally if you conjugate the subjunctive incorrectly, your professor will likely roll their eyes at you, or compare you to a monkey. This has never happened to me in the States, although one time I did have my Latin teacher give me a funny look when I mispronounced “facio.” (Note: it’s pronounced fAH-kee-oh).
3. There are no syllabi in France
This plays into the higher mentality of France that grade’s don’t matter. As an honors student, this was particularly hard for me to grasp, but now that I understand the theory behind it, I am able to appreciate what I’m learning instead of worrying whether or not I will be tested on it. However, I do miss “syllabus week.” To quote Elle Woods, “Who assigns homework on the first day of class??”
– Posted by Evie Sue