Friday, March 21, 2008

Classes, Coop Abroad : An Education

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Back in February, I wrote a letter to the editor at Northeastern News and my friend being the editor ;) they published it.
All-Hail: Northeastern News -

Classes, Co-op abroad: An education
I'm on day three of exams in France (that's five tests down and three more to go this week). I'm pretty sure the aching nausea that I've been carrying around for the last three weeks is starting to go away, but at this point of sleep deprivation and European treaty overload, nothing is certain. 
I came to Reims Management School about five months ago with two suitcases, an oversized backpack and no place to live. Fast-forward and you'll see me getting ready to move again in 3 days to Paris.

I love France and I love my school here. I love that when I walk through the hallways about three or four languages can be heard and the school is small enough that things aren't extremely overwhelming. But there's something even bigger than that: it's the camaraderie. It's the fact that every student here is going through what I'm going through right now, or went through it two years ago. There's a support system of students always ready to help out because they understand that things are difficult. I don't know how many of you are totally familiar with the Northeastern international business program, but it's one that gives students the opportunity to spend one to two years in a foreign partner school. We take the classes in the country's language, the exams in the country's language and to top it all off we do our co-op in the country's language.

Today, with two weeks until I start my co-op, I can honestly say I've completed more interviews in French than I have in English; I've been asked more ridiculous marketing interview questions in French than I have been asked in English; and I even have a job to go to in two weeks. I can officially only do accounting in French and you would think French and English accounting are very similar, but I can promise you they are not. I'm pretty sure I can only explain the Neo-Classics to you in French, and if you asked me to tell you when the Louisiana Purchase happened I would mention that Europe had its largest expansion in 2004.  
English words come a little slower today and my mind mingles French and English freely, with me just turning French words into English, and half the time I'm unsure what language I'm speaking.

I've studied more these last two weeks than I ever did at Northeastern and I've honestly never been challenged this much in my life. There's a joke here about some of the German students in our school who tend to know every answer to every question asked and walk around speaking in fluent French; if you know the date of an economic theory, you can bet that the German sitting next to you knows the date, the author and probably his date of birth and death. That's how nuts school is here.

Today, I took a three-hour exam and managed to fill out just six pages with my large sprawling handwriting; the French kid next to me had nine and looked to be going at a steady pace. I've never been so chock full of economic theory and European theory in my life, but that's pittance compared to what my European neighbors in class can spout out. They rattle off dates and places of treaties like it is second nature, they spout off economic theory like it is small talk and boy do they put my English to shame.

But I'm learning a lot and, hey, we get a chance to retake our exams in three months if we fail. Evidently, last year's American average was four retakes. I'm hoping to only have to do two. 
- Brittany Blackmon is a junior international business, French and marketing major and is studying abroad in France.

1 comment:

  1. Only two exams to take.
    A mixture of mah and gah.
    But I guess not so bad :)

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