The Culture and Intricacies of Studying at a French University

I've recently been unofficially accepted into the University of Toulouse (waiting for my official acceptance letter). I was wondering if there is anyone who studied in the US and has a good comparison/contrast of the two university cultures. There are simple things that I am aware of like the grading scale is 20/20, and achieving even a 19 is incredibly hard. I've known very intelligent French students to be happy with even a 15. I've heard that professors are not as approachable as they are in the US. I remember when I was in my undergraduate studies (bachelors) back in 2010 I would visit my favorite professors almost every office hours that they had, spending 3-5 hours a week just chatting with them, because why not? Both of us are passionate about computer science so why not learn as much as I can! I've even went over a professor's house for diner with her family! I've been told not to hold a long conversation with a professor outside of class in France as this would be considered weird. I've also been told not to address a professor as Dr. and that I should use Monsieur ou Madame. If you have any recommendations/suggestions/things to be aware of,  for someone who is gong for a masters in informatique please let me know! From what I've read online that the Universities are very formal, but in speaking with professors and administrators via email I've notice that their language isn't as formal as I expected. That's not to say that's not a bad thing, but I've just always learned that the public life in France is very formal.

During my time in France I really want to immerse and assimilate myself into the culture so if I can avoid any cultural faux pas beforehand that would be nice! 

Some background information about me and my studies:

- I applied to the MIAGE program at The University of Toulouse 1 Capitole. It's a mix of informatique and business classes. It's 100% in English, but I will be taking french classes. I have about a B1-B2 level right now.

- I have a Bachelors in Science in Computer Science from the US.

- The program that I applied to seems more modern than classical European classes. It's very project based and it seems to focus on "Real World" experiences.

- I've been to France 5x within the past 6 years. I've been to Paris, St. Malo, Strasbourg, and a lot of smaller surrounding towns. 

Also, likewise if you're someone coming to the US I will try to give my best feedback about the University lifestyle in the US (it's been almost 8 years for me since I graduated).

May 18, 2018 6:35 PM
Comments · 1
Lovely write up @Tim. Excellent storytelling I must say. 
May 18, 2018