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3 replies
How is to studying at the Sorbonne?
Dr.Robotnik
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Hello.

I been thinking about going at the Sorbonne for taking a 2 months course this summer (Cours de Civilisation Française). However, and since I finished my career already (I´m 26) and have a business of my own, I`m doing it more for the experience that for any academic proposes, and there`s my mayor doubt…

First off I been checking the La Sorbonne website (Cours de Civilisation Française), but there is not much detail about the course schedule; like the hours of attendance, time available between each class, lunch break and so on.

What I do know is that is a very formal and efficient environment, with high academic standards, and I have to say, I have been in such environments before; not a really good place for making many friends. Frown

Even though, I would like to know from some people that have experienced La Sorbonne Cours de Civilisation Française, and please tell me if:

Is there any respite between classes?
Is it even possible for somebody who goes on his own to make friends in such an environment?
Is there any outside activities or short trips?

I don’t know, maybe this is not the right course for me or the kind of experience I´m looking for Frown …and as I said before, I´m not doing this for academic proposes.

Thanks a lot for your time. Smile

lbj
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I’m not familiar with the specific course you are talking about, but I was enrolled at the Université de Paris IV-La Sorbonne so I can tell you a little about my experience.

Quote:
First off I been checking the La Sorbonne website (Cours de Civilisation Française), but there is not much detail about the course schedule; like the hours of attendance, time available between each class, lunch break and so on.

This is totally normal. Course listings (including times, professors, offerings, etc.) are the responsibility of each individual department. My courses in Littérature Française et Comparée were not listed until about a week before registration, and, as for my Latin courses, the full listings were never put online. I had to physically go to the department secretary, ask for the listings, and (with a pen and paper) physically sign up for my preferred section. There was absolutely no online registration, or, more generally, information provided online. This is largely due to the nature of the French University system: the students don’t necessarily get to pick and choose classes like we do in the states. The choose a matière (equivalent to a major) and take the courses set out for them that year. Because there isn’t a huge demand for the information to be published, they don’t always do it. I might try calling the department secretary to try to get better information (I’m assuming that you speak French well).

Now, all of that said, I’m not sure that the course you’re referring to is a normal Sorbonne Course. Is this a course specifically tailored to international students? If so, my information might be completely irrelevant. However, I can answer some of your questions based on my experience.

Quote:
However, and since I finished my career already (I´m 26) and have a business of my own, I`m doing it more for the experience that for any academic proposes, and there`s my mayor doubt…I don’t know, maybe this is not the right course for me or the kind of experience I´m looking for Frown …and as I said before, I´m not doing this for academic proposes.

I wouldn’t be too worried about being 26. If this course is with French students, it’s important to remember that college is free there. Many students go back for a second undergraduate degree, start late, or have to repeat years. Yes, most of the students will probably be younger than 26. But I noticed that at least a handful of students in each of my classes seemed older than me (I’m 21).

Quote:
Is it even possible for somebody who goes on his own to make friends in such an environment?

This is one thing I really struggled with while abroad. The Sorbonne houses approximately 14-15% international students. I found that they’re used to having lots of international students, and generally (I emphasize GENERALLY, this cannot, of course, be said of everyone), ignore us. To complicate matters, almost all Parisian students live at home. There is not the same “college community” feel that universities in the states have. My host mother (a very outgoing, bubbly woman) told me that she never met a single new friend while at University, and this is not uncommon. Basically, they have their friends at home. They’re going to school to get their degree, and at the end of the day, they go home to their families, friends, and lives. That’s not to say it’s impossible to make French friends. Just be prepared to really take the initiative.

Quote:
Is there any outside activities or short trips?

Again, I don’t know the specifics of the course, so I really can’t say. I highly doubt that the class itself would have field trips, etc. I found my classes to be extremely lecture-based. You go, you sit quietly and take notes while the professor speaks, turn in your assignments when they’re due, and leave. No discussion sections, no field trips, etc. However, the Latin graduate students did plan a 10 day optional trip to Italy. It cost 450 E and all undergraduates were welcome to participate at that extremely reasonable rate. However, it was not in conjunction with any particular course.

Then again, this course might be a completely different scenario. The number one piece of general advice I can give you about dealing with the Sorbonne is to be proactive. They’re not going to give you any information, you have to go seek it out yourself. It can be an incredibly rewarding experience, you just have to make it work for yourself. Be self-motivated, ask questions, be persistent, and you’ll have a great time. I hope all of this is helpful. Again, as I don’t know the specifics of this course/program, I can’t give you any specific advice. But best of luck!

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jhnrbrts
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that’s pretty nice. studying is really good.

francisca
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Hi Dr. Robotnik,

I was just wondering if you continued your plan to study at La Sorbonne. I’m planning to enroll later this year and I was hoping you could give me an insight and feedback.

thanks!