UTT (University of Technology of Troyes) has a fairly new campus established in 1994, and it’s one of the “Grande Ecoles” in France. A Grande Ecole is a school outside of the normal university system in France, and it’s usually a school of a specific course discipline. For example, UTT is basically an engineering school. Grande Ecole is usually considered a better school because its programs are more intense and focused. However, the tuition is considerably higher than a normal university’s.
Students in UTT are mainly French from all over France. It also has a considerable amount of international students from other European countries and Asia. The classrooms and curriculum system are pretty similar to American’s. Students at UTT usually graduate in four years, however, they are required to study abroad for one semester and also acquire internship experiences within four years.
The two courses we were taking at the UTT are Project Management and French Civilization. We were also glad to have two other groups of students joining us for the same program – one group from the University of Buffalo from New York, and one group from Nayang Technological University from Singapore. The Buffalo students are taking their own engineering statics course and French Civilization while the Singaporeans were taking the same courses with us Michigan students. In addition to the two main courses, we would also have a survival French course. So the schedule everyday was as follows:
0900 – 1200 Project Management
1200 – 1400 Lunch Break
1400 – 1700 French Civilization
Then I had survival French from 1200 – 1300 on Wednesdays and 1700 – 1800 on Thursdays.
The survival French course was different for each person as it’s divided according to levels.
I was in the very beginner level, because…I didn’t know French at all except “bonjour” and “merci”!
So the schedule was pretty full, and the three-hour long class time made people tired as well. Our teachers all speak English. PM teacher was from New Zealand, FC teacher was from England, and French teacher was a real French.
I would say the most intense course was the French class! Because the teacher did not allow speaking English in class! However, how were we supposed to do that because none of us in class knew how to speak French! But somehow, the teacher managed to keep the class going by forcing us to speak French. It was a very funny class as well, because weird pronunciation and misunderstanding of us always caused surprising humors! I also had to pay attention in this class every second, because I would never know when is the next time teacher would call me up to speak French!
Our main choice of lunch was to have it at the University Cafeteria because it’s only 3 euros per meal. With 3 euros, you can pick up a piece of French break, a slice of cheese, an appetizer dish, a main course, a dessert, and a yogurt. So it’s actually a pretty good deal! One thing you have to know that French love bread and cheese so much as they are essential to French people daily. There are around 400 distinct types of cheese in France!
One interesting side note is that lunch is usually the biggest meal of the day for French while breakfast being the least important one.
So yea, this is our school life in France.