Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Anthony S - Grenoble, France - Spring 2015

Hello, my name is Anthony Scardina and I'm spending the Semester in Grenoble, France. The city is located in the southeast part of the country, and it is a two hour drive from Italy and Switzerland. It has been an amazing experience this last month, but it has also been a difficult one. What I didn't expect was how few people are able to speak English. I hadn't taken French for a couple years before this, so it was a big struggle at first. However, my ability to speak and understand the language has become so much better. Unlike learning new vocabulary in a class setting, I can practice it with the people who speak the language. The French system is also a lot more laid back than it is in the U.S. For example, I just registered for my courses three weeks into the semester, and this upcoming week is a ten day vacation. I will be traveling to Germany to meet a foreign exchange student I met last semester. However, before I left, everyone was telling me that I needed to travel and see all the countries I could. Now that I'm here I feel like that isn't the best thing for me. There is so much to do in this city and this country. There are museums, bars, caf├ęs, and the Alps (as a side note, skiing in the Alps was one of the scariest and most thrilling moments of my life). My advice would be to travel, of course, but understand that you are choosing whatever country it is for a reason. I'm hoping to be fluent in French by the end of the semester which seems like a possibility now, but that won't happen if I am continuously going to country after country after country. Lastly, be prepared for the first week to be very rough. I was not prepared (it was definitely my fault for not being ready), but you have to get through it. This isn't the easiest thing to do, but every minute is worth it. I wouldn't change a thing!


Anonymous Allen R said...

Hey Anthony!

My name is Allen Riquelme, and we had met last semester at Elmhurst and even played tennis together. I remember how you told me you were trying to study abroad to France, so I'm really glad that you were able to accomplish your goals! I understand that the first week must be pretty rough. Have you made a lot of new friends so far? Have you gone to any famous landmarks? How is the food for you as well? Overall, I'm glad you got to make this experience happen! Congrats!!!


1:06 AM  
Blogger Anthony Scardina said...

I'm glad you are back in the program. Making friends was so easy here with the program. Most of my friends are international students ranging from Brazil, to Canada, to Germany, etc. I have also made friends with local French students and it is amazing! I have also been to Dublin, Carnival in Dusseldorf Germany with student who was abroad at Elmhurst last semester, skiing in the Alps, and I am going to Disney in Paris in about a week. I can't believe I'm almost half-way through the semester. It's a great experience that everyone who can do it should do it!
Anthony Scardina

4:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Anthony,

This is Stephanie from the CPE 250 class! I really liked your insight on staying more in the country you chose instead of traveling around so much. You said the first week was difficult. Was it hard to adjust to the academic differences there? Just wondering if you had any tips for me as I travel to Germany this summer!

Stephanie H

11:14 AM  
Blogger Hannah Lipman said...

Hi Anthony!
My name is Hannah and I am studying abroad in Dublin this summer! You talked about how you would be selecting classes in your original post and I was wondering if you had advice for students who are in the process of looking at classes to take? Should I take things I'm simply interested in or that apply more so towards my major? Are the academics a lot different in France? Hope you're enjoying your time and learning the language as best as you can!
Hannah Lipman

2:41 PM  
Blogger Anthony Scardina said...

The system in general in France is slower and more laid back here. It is frustrating at first, but after a while you adjust. It is not step by step, but do a little here and there. I think Germany is a little more organized from what I was told. It's also a little better there because almost everyone in Germany speaks a good amount of English. Be ready for anything, but realize you'll make a lot of friends who will be in the same situation and who will help you. Germany was pretty awesome when I went!

6:37 AM  
Blogger Anthony Scardina said...

So I am taking none of the classes I chose in CPE 250. All my classes, except one, are in French (which I was not expecting). The way it works here is there is only a final. No homework, or tests. It's nice, but also scary. All my classes are in my major (economics)because what is nice is to see how other countries teach the same courses. My economics courses are so different from what I take in the U.S. because it's a completely different economy. However, I have friends taking History of Grenoble courses (the city where I am). Honestly, it's up to you. Just be aware to not overload yourself with hard courses. Also, Ireland drives on the opposite site of the street which took me forever to remember when I visited Dublin. You'll have a great time there!

6:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Anthony,
I have heard that grades are based off of very few assignments, and I cannot imagine receiving a grade off of one final exam! Do they give you a study guide or any tips on how to prepare?
Jill H

3:54 PM  
Blogger Anthony Scardina said...

It is very fun at first because there is no homework for me at all, but I'm afraid I won't be prepared. They give you a bibliography at the beginning of the term of books to read. It is very independent on how much studying you do, and what you focus to study on. Each teacher is different on how much they want to help you because it is a school with a lot more students. You can ask how the tests will be prepared, but it's pretty general. The best advice is make friends with those who know how the system works and study the teachers' power points.

6:11 PM  

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