And the Semester Begins!

I can now say that I’ve officially started school. Though I was in class from 9-5 pretty much every day last month, it was technically “summer school”. Well, here at least. September was language-intensive or language-immersion to kind of ease us into the way classes will be here so…all in french. I think it’s a good idea and I wonder what it will be like for the girls from my school who are coming here next semester because the spring semester doesn’t have anything like September, they just jump straight in.

The semester for CIDEF started this past Monday. We got our levels for the semester, there was a meeting in the morning where Mr. Moulin (the director) talked about different things. It sounded like there’s around 300 kids here for the semester from 31 countries whereas for September there werew 125-150 of us I believe. It was a little different definitely, because even though I was here last month, looking around the amphitheater I could only spot tiny pockets of people that I knew or recognized. Even though we were at the university from basically 9:30 til 4, we didn’t actually do much. There was a meeting in the morning, an hour of langue where we got our course listings, another meeting after lunch and then two hours of langue.

Alright, now onto the more exciting stuff. Like what level I placed into. I know that’s really what’s got you on pins and needles. So, to ease that tingly, my-foot-fell-asleep-and-is-now-waking-up feeling, I placed into….322! I was really happy. There’s only two other people from my September class in 322 but that’s okay. My friends are in most of my classes anyway. See, the level tells you what langue class you’ll be in but all of the other classes you take are by 10s. So everyone in the 320s has the same options and times for classes, the only difference between 322 and 323 (for example) is the langue class (which is determined by your writing I believe). So as far as I understand it is that those in 323 write slightly better than 322 and 324 is slightly better than 323 and so on. What level of 10s you place into also tells you how limited your options for classes are. Those who are in the 100s or 200s are novices or advanced beginners and for the most part their only options are more language-intensive type classes–so basically what we were doing last month. The reason I’m really happy to get into the 320s is because there’s two classes offered to 320 students that isn’t available for those who placed into the 310s. One of those classes being a translation class, the other being a litterature class.

I hope that all makes some sort of sense. A cool thing about CIDEF though is that we have the rest of this week to figure out what we want to take. Tuesday is when actual classes started so it was the first day that we started choosing what classes we think we’ll take and also deciding which classes we’ll attend that day to see if we like them. It’s weird but kind of cool how we can basically show up to a class, sit through it, and if we decide after that it’s not something we’d like to take then we don’t have to go back. It’s nice. I think next Monday is when we’ll sit down and actually register or sign up for the classes we’re going to take. For those of you who think that studying abroad is like a paid vacation, it’s not. Rest assured, we have to take between 15 and 18 hours. Some of us will probably end up taking 20 or 21 just because we want to take a culture class even if the credit won’t transfer back to their school at home. SO. Knowing that we have to take 18 hours, it’s not all fun stuff. Langue will take up some of those hours though how many depends on where you placed. I, for example, only have 6 hours of langue a week while those who placed into 200s I think have 9 hours a week. So langue takes up six of my 18 required hours. The classes that we can choose are split into two categories, A (language) and B (culture). We have to have at least 3 hours (so one course) from category A and then the other nine hours (3 courses) can be from either category.

So, offered in category A (language) for the 320s, there is: comprehension orale, competences ecrites, expression orale, expression theatrale, francais des affaires, fracais de l’hotellerie et du tourisme, grammaire, phonetique theorique et pratique, and traduction anglais/francais. Category B (culture) contains: histoire de France, histoire de l’art, edutde socio-culturelle, and litterature du XIX siecle. So what am I thinking of taking/probably going to end up taking you ask? Well, langue (obviously, since it’s required) but then I’m looking at traduction anglais/francais (translation class), histoire de France, litterature, histoire de l’art, and grammaire. Even though I probably won’t get credit for the art history course since I took an art history course last year at home, I decided what the hell. I’m in France and it’s about French art and architecture. Pourquoi pas? The grammaire class I decided to give a try kind of at the last minute (relatively speaking) just because I felt like I should have one real language course and a number of my problems seem to stem from me not really knowing the grammar and conjugations well.

Now what I’ve been wanting to find out is what will transfer back to my college at home and what would count towards a french major or minor since I’ve been considering that. Let’s be real, there’s like a 98% chance that I’m going to end up with one or the other. I’ve emailed back and forth a little with the head of the french department back at Saint Mary’s and I couldn’t be happier. Almost everything I take here in Angers this semester will count and transfer back home. The month of September will apparently count as a conversations class (MLFR 306). And pretty much everything else will transfer as well it looks like. Taduction anglais/francais counts for Composition (MLFR 305), grammaire as French Language and Reading I (MLFR 203), litterature as French Language and Reading II (MLFR 304), and then either histoire de l’art or histoire de France will count as French Civilization (MLFR 370). Pretty cool huh? So, according to the professor, when I get back to SMC, I’ll only need 4 more classes to major or 2 to minor since you have to take half the classes on campus. Now what I find interesting is that these will all transfer back as 300 level courses. I guess that’s because they’re all in french instead of being a french course taught in an english-speaking area? I mean, it’s great for me either way but it is a little weird to me that I’ll be getting 300 level credit when last year (as a freshman) I took MLFR 105 and 106. But whatever, who am I to complain right?

I think that’s about all I got for right now. I might take a picture of my schedule for ya’ll once it’s for certain or when I feel like it. Either way, it’s not going to be right now. Today was awesome/slightly boring because I didn’t start class until 2:30pm. So I had classes from 2:30-6 today. Tomorrow’s going to suck/be kind of annoying because I have litterature at 8am but then don’t have anything until 1:30pm. Guess I’ll figure out something to do inbetween.

❤ Rachel


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