I just got out of classes for the day. I start Fridays at 8AM with oral expression which isn't bad but isn't stimulating either for me at this point in time as the pace of activites is rather slow. Our teacher is a young woman who is a French student at UCO, earning what is the French equivalent to a Master Degree in the Foreign Languages. She's only about three years older than me I believe. Her specialty is English which I have hear her speak. She's rather good. However, a young teacher is still a young teacher over here. Her lack of savvy shows as to the nature of students and especially students who are naturally timid to just talk in a second language. Still, I'm going to give the class time. We've still got over three months to liven things up!
I'm also taking, as you know, my general language class. Wow, it is interesting and I say that with a multitude of significations. First, plain and simple, I am getting the technical fine tuning in there that I've been craving for a while. Little rules with article usage, prepositions, etc. have always been a downfall for me but I've been developing them more and more. The teacher is very expereinced and has a very good idea about the nature and abilities of her students and what they need to move forward. I have not come across a single piece of homework or in class activity that hasn't had a progressive purpose. It is also an interesting class as the the under layer of activity. Ah, I hate to do it because I feel like I'm bashing my own country but the Americans! Of course, I'm ONLY talking about an exclusive group in my classes who will talk in class (in English), whisper to me and asking what the homework was (in English), and smack talk the teacher and calling her a bitch in the halls just outside the classroom (in English). One of them one time proudly announced that the only time she enjoyed going to the general language class was when she came in drunk. As I'm sure you imagine, they use no discretion about their opinion of the class or the teacher. The teacher, God love her, shows no reaction to their attitude and lets none of it interfere with her teaching.
This American group (almost exclusively made up of girls) and others similar to them I have found are well noticed by the other nationalities attending UCO. I was talking outside of class to a girl from California (but who goes to Boston, Mass. for school) named Heidi Wroblicky in French. One of the reasons I have taken to love hanging out with Heidi outside of class is because not only do we have our shared American background and similar reactions to French culture but she is actually happy to have a whole conversation in French with me. Suddenly, a cute Thai boy from Bangkok came up to us in the hall and asked in French if we were Americans because he was kind of confused and thought that we looked like the Americans but maybe not. I gave him a puzzled looked and said, "Um, ya, we're Americans. Why do you ask?" And he responded very straightforwardly, that we were actually talking in French and not English and ALL the Americans kids around here only talk in English outside of class. He was just surprised and kind of appreciated that we actually bothered.
I share this story if anything because I know the people of the bilingual world of the Illinois School for the Deaf would understand the meanings here completely.
My other three classes are just plain enjoyable, Cultural Studies/Economics, Art History, and Literature. The Culture teacher is the most bubbly and optimisitc Frenchwoman I've yet met and currently we are diccussing the make up of the French population and will dive into what is a French citizen next week, a very interesting topic as currently France has been experiencing immigrant waves from old colonies such as in Africa, changing the physical portrait of the typical French citizen. Also, many of these new citizens are Muslim as well, opening up another set of issues concerning Islamic verses French traditions.
When have just finished Neo-Classicim in Art History and have been looking at Romantisicim for a day and a half. The class is simple and easy compared to what I've studied back home but it is incredibly facinately all the same to see paintings I've laready studied intensly through American eyes now through French eyes. There's is certainly a difference. I am really looking forward to the rest up until our contemporary time.
Litterature is where I think my mind has to work the hardest. We have just finished skimming the surface of Alcool by Apollinaire. The man is, of course, one of the most beautiful poets I've ever read with his melancholic and bewitching verses. He is also a man of word play and is a master at it. I've had to look up a lot of comentary about his specific poems and use the dictionary with abandon but by the end of each examination I have this liberating and accomplished feeling that is just addictive. I must then read more. The other two major reads for the semester are Isabelle by André Gide and La Cantatrice chauvre by Eugène Ionesco.
For those of you who like order in their lives, I'd like to scare you a little with the idea of having a class schedule like mine. Enjoy! (Ah, and I should mention that the classes don't tend to meet in the same room all the time.)
Oral Expression: 5:00-5:55PM
Social Economics: 8:00-8:55AM
Art History: 10:15-11:15AM
Social Economics: 10:15AM-12:15PM
Art History: 1:30- 2:25PM
Oral Expression: 2:30-3:30PM
Oral Expression: 8:00-8:55AM
Art History: 1:30-2:45PM
- Mandela and Vending Machines
- La Poste and American Things in France
- St. Malo and Mont St-Michel
- The Epic Battle Between My U.S. Debit Card and The...
- Food-Filled Valentine's Day: Part Deux
- What a Food-Filled Valentine's Day!
- Guess where I was today!
- First Big Girl French Book
- Goodness, a lot has been on my mind this week. Goo...
- Simple Update/ Second day of class
- Chateau Number 1
- My Home for Four Monthes
- Sigh. Just can't win..okay, maybe a little.
- Complicated Day
- Second day in France
- ▼ February (16)