Posts Tagged ‘ICP’

4:28 am

The End of Classes

No more pencils!
No more books!
No more teacher’s
Dirty looks!

Yesterday marked the end of my French classes (at least for the time being!). I’m feeling a little bit wistful now.

Now I have one last week in Paris, free of classes, before I head for Prague and my next round of classes. Whatever shall I do?…

10:14 am

The Garden

When I registered for classes at ICP, my advisor pointed out to me how nice it was to have a "garden" in which to have lunch and relax between classes:

Garden? A graveled courtyard with some forlorn patches of grass and a few trees, some picnic tables and benches, and planter box of geraniums?

I keep thinking of Goethe’s "Mathematicians are a kind of Frenchman; if you talk to them, they translate what is said into their own language, and then it is immediately something quite different". Something quite different indeed.

1:35 pm

Français des affaires

Well, I’m two weeks into my classes. I’d forgotten how much work being a student is! I’m just glad that I don’t have to be concerned about grades.

The business French (Français des Affaires) course is particularly serious. The professor, Mme Sainlos, is very geared toward making sure that we can pass the DFA1 exam offered in at the end of the term. The DFA (Diplôme de Français des Affaires) is offered by the Chambre de Commerce et d’Industrie de Paris to certify French fluency. The written exam has two main components: writing letters and writing résumés (which in the case of business French means summaries), and so our Tuesday meetings are mostly given over to résumés, while on Thursdays we work on letters. The oral exam similarly has two main components: providing an oral summary in French of an article written in our native language and mounting an argument for (or against) an idea presented in an article written in French. And so part of our course work will also include such presentations. Next Thursday (yes, already), it’ll be my turn to argue. I have an article entitled "Le tourism s’invente de nouveaux guides" ("Tourism invents new guides"). I’m charged with outlining the advantages and limits of this new approach and advancing my own opinion.

We also have work in small groups: in groups of two or three, we’re researching different French companies and will be presenting our findings to the class. I’m working with one other student on Air France; our rough outline includes the history of Air France, their alliance with other airlines, objectives, activities, and balance sheet.

And while all of this is going on, we’re learning French business vocabulary, which is particularly tricky, since some fairly simple words have very specific meanings when they’re used in a business context. And of course those very specific meanings are not addressed in our little pocket dictionaries.

Unlike the general French course, most of the 12 of us are non-Americans with French spouses. Only three of us are Americans.

2:06 pm

First day of classes

This morning was the first meeting for the general French class. There are 15 students, 14 women and a lone guy. 10 are American students, 3 are women of different nationalities married to French men, there’s one student from China, and then there’s me.

The professor kept stressing that, since we meet for only six hours a week, we can’t do anything too in depth. I dunno: six hours seems like plenty to me!

5:38 am

Placement Exam

This morning, I took my placement exam and registered for the Institut de Langue et de Culture Françaises program at the Institut Catholique de Paris. I scored better on the oral part than the written (much to my surprise), and came out solidly intermediate.

I’m signed up for 18 hours of classes: 6 hours of general French, 6 of business French, and 3 hours each for written and oral French. The business French class is officially slightly advanced for me. The advisor who was helping me plan my program actually found the professor to discuss whether or not I should be allowed to enroll. After looking over my written test and discussing my background with the advisor, the professor gave her okay after making me drop the history course I had wanted and extracting a promise that I would work very hard.

Most of my classes are in the late afternoon, Tuesday through Friday, from 2 to 5, although the general French classes are Monday & Tuesday, from 10 to 1. Classes start Monday, so I’ll have to enjoy these last few days of complete liberty while I can!

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