AFS page  HOME page  Message Board Privacy/Policy Statement Registration Reunions

 

                                      France 

Carrie Broadwell
2001 - 2002
 

Pictures from France
Part of my class Musée d'Orsay Musée de Rodin

Bonjour! I am living in Puyricard,France which is a small village (slightly smaller than Oberlin) that no one could ever find on a map.  I have been really busy because I had to get work for school done before February break, and then I was on vacation. I went to Haute-Savoie, which is a department of France near Switzerland, which I also visited. On other vacations, I have gone to Paris and Barcelona.

I am living 10 minutes away by car from Aix-en-Provence. (20-30 minutes by the bus that I take every morning to school.) I attend a lycée (basically a French high school) where I am in the literary section of the school. That means that I have a lot of French and very little math or science, and what I do have is very easy. Other sections include a science section and an economics/social sciences
section. I am in the music option, and have 5 hours a week of musical theory classes at the school. (Everyone has an option, they can range from a special language, extra math classes, drama, art, etc.) 
 

The one big change I've noticed in a French lycée and OHS is that you have a choice in what courses you take at Oberlin. You can take art, drama, and music. There are several different classes you can take, like psychology. In France, everyone takes the same thing. You decide on a section and an option when you are the equilivalent of a sophomore, and don't have a further say in the matter. You are assigned to a class of 20 or so other students that take the same option as you, and you spend all day with them. You rarely see other students, except for in the cafeteria or in the
hallways. 

There is, however, more freedom here. It is not uncommon for a student to have an hour when they don't have any classes, and you can leave the grounds whenever you want, as long as you're back in time for your next class. For example, on Fridays, I have 3
hours for lunch, and no one cares what I do for those 3 hours. Study halls don't exist here, and neither do substitute teachers. If the teacher isn't in school that day, you don't have a class. French people have a longer school day than anyone else in the world (and
incidentally, have a shorter working week - 35 hours.) My host mom informed me that if you took the average of the length of a school day in France (including the vacations, and weekends, etc) French students have a 6 hour school day. In the United States, it's 4 hours. That's two hours of difference BY DAY. And people wonder why I'm exhausted all the time. 

All in all, things are going quite well here, and I am happy with the experience. Even if I do have to go to school from 8-6 on Tuesdays. As AFS has drilled in my head since the first meeting I ever went to: It's not good, it's not bad, it's just different.

Updated 6 November 06

 
AFS page  HOME page  Message Board Privacy/Policy Statement Registration Reunions