Friday, February 5, 2010

Les cours

This past week has been incredibly tiring, because it was the first week of classes and I've been checking out as many lectures and TDs (discussion sections) as possible so that I can choose the classes that will be best for me. We're lucky, because unlike the French students who pretty much have their schedules set for them, we can take whatever classes we want.

What made this week tiring (in addition to the brain power needed to listen to French allll week) was that I was checking out classes everyday except for today at 8:30 AM (UGH), AND because all of their lectures are TWO HOURS and all of their discussion sections are between TWO HOURS & TWO AND A HALF HOURS LONG. Most of the professors didn't give breaks, and there are no passing periods, so on Monday, for instance, I was in four classes from 8:30AM to 5:30PM straight with the only break being one hour for lunch. I've definitely been falling asleep in pretty much every class this week, but that's the French school system's fault, not mine.

I haven't completely made up my mind, but my classes look something like this:

1. A Literature lecture for non-Lit majors (she talked about Racine, Moliere and someone else the first class). It's a big lecture, and all of the TDs have wildly different themes. I chose the one about (drumroll please....) CICERO! We're reading one of his short works, as well as detective novel where Cicero is a character, and at the end of the class we'll be watching parts of my favorite TV show ever, ROME! (actually, when the professor wrote it one on the board, he used an exclamation mark too). There are only seven people in that class. I like the professor because he speaks reeeeeally slowly, and he writes down everything he says on the board, anyway. The first class was an overview of Rome during Cicero's time (i.e. stuff I already learned in a previous class), so it was really cool learning the French versions of the Latin words that I know in their English versions. Also, I was definitely answering questions that no one else knew the answer too, so even if my French is limited, he knows that I'm making an effort. I'm really excited for this class. PLUS, in case you had forgottem Cicero's works are available in ENGLISH, and the other book we're reading is actually a translation of a novel in English anyway. So, worst case scenario, I can't become too lost. Considering that neither of these are originally in French, I haven't decided in which language I will be reading them.

I'm also probably going to take a class on Louis XV. The professor leading my discussion section was kind of mean to me the first day, BUT I think I was successful enough in proving that my French is limited, because he flat out told me I didn't have enough French knowledge that would be required to do the oral reports that everyone else was going to have to do. Score! I have an appointment with him before class next week, so we'll see what the alternative is.

I also might have a class on Renaissance art. The professor leading the TD seems really nice, and he said that my friend and I don't have to do the oral report if we don't want to. I think I might like art history classes here, because there are things to look at in addition to hearing the lecture, which I think will be helpful. I've been getting really excited this week whenever I've been able to take away any knowledge from a class, because I don't understand anything, but yesterday I definitely learned that Saint Jerome translated the bible, and that he had a cute lion that was his pet (or something), so I would consider that TD to be a success.

I'm debating this one, but I might take a slightly higher level course on Rome, from the Punic Wars to Actium (I was excused from the oral report in this class, too). One one hand, the professor told me that since I have studied this stuff before, it might not be too hard for me. On the other hand, it looks like the level of difficulty between my first level and my second level classes jumps considerably, so I don't know how much suffering this class will be worth. I think it's a lot of reading (BUT AGAIN, this stuff is available in English. If I can attempt to discuss it in French was necessary, is reading it in English cheating?!).

Lourdes photos in the next post.

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