American vs. French Universities round 2!

It is back to school week here at SDSU and the transition back to the American university has been easy but incredibly frustrating. I know in my initial post I said that I preferred the American system because it was all I knew prior to experiencing the French university system, but now that I'm back I have to admit I miss the French system a lot.

I have found here that...
  1. Students don't take school seriously.
  2. Professors joke around and/or distracted and don't get right to the point.
  3. Professors revolve the class around the textbook instead of the subject.
I am no longer taking French at my university because I finished my French major while I was abroad but since I love languages I decided to start learning Italian- so far its been nothing but a disappointment. Something that made wish I was back was when the professor asked a student come stai? and she replied hungover. That just showed such a lack of respect for the professor, the classmates, and the university. Why even come to class if you're not going to take higher education seriously? I miss the days when both professors and students where respectful and the reason why they're attending school was to learn.

Another thing I've noticed is how professors get distracted by students and begin to tell a long story about their life, rather than an anecdote that won't take up too much class time. The only class that seems to not be a waste of time is my Leisure and Tourism class which I have to take as an upper division GE and has nothing to do with my major. I hope my European Cinema class (which is the last class I need to take before I complete my European Studies minor) is not a waste of time. All I want is a class with structure and straight to the point, I'm not paying a ridiculously high tuition and paying $300 for books to sit in class and hear personal stories.

The cost of books this semester nearly gave me a heart attack. Just my Italian eBook with access to the textbook's website was $120, that's how much I spent on books in Paris THE WHOLE SCHOOL YEAR! It definitely shows the American way of thinking which is trying to make profit on basically anything. I'm going to be spending around $300 on book this semester and for what, to get $20 back from the bookstore. This system just seems wrong to me.

I had originally said that the French system needed to get out of its old school ways but now I believe its the American system that needs to do so. Sure its a lot more convenient and easy for students to register to do everything online instead of going from secretary to secretary but that system made me more independent and less shy to go up to stranger and get a task done. I've found that I'm no longer shy, I'm not longer intimidated by American professors and students because they are not as serious as the French. The French system definitely toughen me up and prepared me for the future more than the American system had 3 years I had been there prior to studying abroad.

La Sorbonne, tu me manques. 


  1. Hi, I'm French and not in student age anymore (alas). I studied Sciences and never outside of Paris, but I wondered for a time about that, US and French educational systems seem to be so diffrent. With probably advantages and drawbacks both sides, of course. But still globally what you say about the seriousness and firm demand of French professors (and the good it does to their students), I've seen in confirmed by Harriet Welty Rochefort in her book French Toast. So I can understand why you miss La Sorbonne! :)

    François Roland

    1. Hi François. Yeah, the two educational systems are really different from registration to the actual teaching. I really believe the a lot of American students haven't mastered being an independent student. Here homework is assigned everyday but over there being responsible is key to succeeding. I really enjoyed how serious the teachers were in Paris and it doesn't surprise me that what I say has been confirmed. I will always be very grateful about having the chance to learn to be an independent student. It's something that I will always cherish.

  2. I think not all universities and professors are the same just like those you have encountered.

    french universities

    1. Well I'm not generalizing, I'm only speaking from my experiences.

  3. For me it still depends! We all have different perspective so we can't judge others. We just have to respect everyone opinion.

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