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Monday, September 13

Blogs 1 and 2: Hello Grenoble and Tampa

Hello everyone!

We are all excited with this trans-Atlantic project and we look forward to hearing from all of you.
You can start the week by describing your impressions of ech other's countries! It's alright if you haven't been there yet... I am sure you still have some ideas...correct and incorrect! :))

This week we post our perceptions/ideas of the other country and next week we ask each other more specific questions for clarifications.

159 comments:

Chantele said...

Hello everyone! I'm excited to be blogging with you for these 8 weeks; hopefully we'll learn a lot from each other.Honestly, I really don't have an impression of the French culture because I don't know too much about it but I am very eager to learn. The only real impression that I have is that France is a very beautiful and elegant place. I've heard that the food there is amazing and that the French are very romantic. In America we have this invisible bubble we refer to as "personal space". We don't really get close when having conversations unless we don't want someone else to hear or we are whispering. There is an invisible measurement of how close we stand to one another in a line unless we are familiar with the person we are standing next to. I've been told that this "personal space" does not exist in French culture. That the French stand very close when speaking to each other regardless if they are familiar with the other individual or not. I was told that it is offensive to the French to back up if they are having a conversation with you.Is this true? Please tell me more about your culture and what you all do for fun. I'm sure you have many impressions or questions about the American culture and I'd be more than happy to confirm and answer any questions.

Sarah Moore said...

Greetings! My name is Sarah and I am writing from sunny and blisteringly hot Tampa, Florida. I took three years of French in high school; sadly, I retained very little of the language but I am able to recall some of the culture lessons we had. My best friend also spent a summer in Paris so I have her experiences to draw from for my ideas about France, although I personally have never been. For instance, my friend told me that Parisians were very reserved and typically did not engage in small talk with strangers. I've also been told that it is rude to show someone the bottom of your shoe in France. Now, this could certainly be an old wives' tale, but it's worth a mention. I understood it was akin to flipping someone the middle finger here in the US, which is quite obscene and offensive. I'm really curious to see what the prevailing mindset about Americans is in France and looking forward to getting to know you all.

Lauren said...

Bonsoir! Je mappelle Lauren. Ca va? I took two years of French in high school and sadly I do not remember most of it. It is a very beautiful language if I might say so. I am very excited about this little 8 week project, as I am sure many of my classmates are as well. I love getting to know about other peoples’ culture and to hear what is like in other parts of the world.

I have never had the opportunity to visit France but it is on my list of places to go before I die. Most of Europe and South America are on that list as well. Have any of yall visited America?

I am not vastly knowledgeable of the French culture, so I really don't have an impression of France other than it is beautiful and these random "facts:"
-You have awesome bread.
-You love wine and have it with every meal.
-Driving can be crazy…my cousin went to Paris and said that it was NUTS!
-You are romantic and passionate by nature.
-You have history everywhere. Like you can drive around and there are castles and chateaus everywhere.

Some or most of those are probably totally false, can anyone clarify them? I look forward to getting know you guys!

Lauren said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Junglist said...

Like Sarah and Lauren, I also studied French in high school as a language elective. Most of what I remember about the language class is limited to conjugating verbs and how different the structure of the language seemed to me at the time. Reflecting on this now though, French actually seems more structured than English does. Even though there are differences in our languages I do remember some similarities between our cultures that I noticed. I tend to think of the French as a proud and patriotic people, having a national identity, and that this stems from the fact that there have been people inhabiting your lands dating back to Roman times. The French culture seems to have a sense of history and tradition about it that has always impressed me. I also recall that France is a republic like we have here in America, and that that this form of governance was established around our own revolutionary time. I am also interested in the fact that many of the cultural values of your people have persisted after the change from a monarchy. Particularly the love of art and music that flourished under the monarchs seems to be still present in all aspects of your culture. Aside from the fine arts I also know that the sciences are valued in France as well, with Lavoisier contributing the Law of Conservation of Mass to Chemistry, and making contributions in Biology as well. He was a member of the Acediéme des Sciences I believe. I impatiently await your impressions of American culture, and hope we can share and broaden our own views of our countries and lives, not just what we have learned in school n’est-ce pas?

andyboachie said...

Hi everyone,

This is Andrews from Ghana. Our country has a very pleasant peculiarity in terms of culture. Right from birth onwards, a child is supposed to be submissive not only to parents but to every elderly. In typical Ghanaian culture, it is the duty of a child to be handling domestic chores, running errands, obeying every instructions.From some experience I gained when I traveled to a land in Europe, a child seems to be somehow autonomous to an extent that one can choose not to obey the parents instructions. And even if the father or mother goes beyond the bounds of the child's rights, the parent can be held on legal grounds. When a child meet an elderly, it is the child who greets "Me ma wo akye" for good morning!, "Me ma wo aha" for good afternoon!, or "Me ma wo adwo" for good evening!. The elderly in turn asks the child's health and that of his family. In Ghana, a family is not like that which is known in other lands that comprises a father, wife and children. In Ghana, a family is made up of the nuclear family as well as the extended family. This type of family system helps us to build good neighborliness and amongst ourselves. For instance during the harvesting of crops on one's farm, members of different families can lend a helping hand in the harvest in order to speed the work. Apart from this example, it tends to be part of the duty of the community to help in bringing a child up. Every elderly in the society sees it as an obligation to direct a child when the child is going wrong. As such, there is a proverb in my local dialect which goes like this: "Se Obaa nyem a, ono nkoara na onyem, nanso se owo a owo ma oman". This implies that when a woman is pregnant, she bears it alone, but if she delivers, from then on she has delivered to the entire community.

During the growth of the child, a child is advised by way of instructions in the form of simple verbal instructions as well as folktales and and proverbs.

In proverbs, an elderly conveys the message contained in a saying through wise saying which does not have direct meanings; but have their meanings hidden in the mature words contained in the saying.

In folktales, the elderly or a group of young children get engaged in a narrative which is intended to convey the intended value. So there are folktales for when someone is not be a cheat, when someone is not to be irresponsible, when someone is not to be intolerant etc.

These ways of conveying values are transmitted to posterity and that seems to be golden ornaments in a decorated vessel.

andyboachie said...

Hi everyone,

This is Andrews from Ghana. Our country has a very pleasant peculiarity in terms of culture. Right from birth onwards, a child is supposed to be submissive not only to parents but to every elderly. In typical Ghanaian culture, it is the duty of a child to be handling domestic chores, running errands, obeying every instructions.From some experience I gained when I traveled to a land in Europe, a child seems to be somehow autonomous to an extent that one can choose not to obey the parents instructions. And even if the father or mother goes beyond the bounds of the child's rights, the parent can be held on legal grounds. When a child meet an elderly, it is the child who greets "Me ma wo akye" for good morning!, "Me ma wo aha" for good afternoon!, or "Me ma wo adwo" for good evening!. The elderly in turn asks the child's health and that of his family. In Ghana, a family is not like that which is known in other lands that comprises a father, wife and children. In Ghana, a family is made up of the nuclear family as well as the extended family. This type of family system helps us to build good neighborliness and amongst ourselves. For instance during the harvesting of crops on one's farm, members of different families can lend a helping hand in the harvest in order to speed the work. Apart from this example, it tends to be part of the duty of the community to help in bringing a child up. Every elderly in the society sees it as an obligation to direct a child when the child is going wrong. As such, there is a proverb in my local dialect which goes like this: "Se Obaa nyem a, ono nkoara na onyem, nanso se owo a owo ma oman". This implies that when a woman is pregnant, she bears it alone, but if she delivers, from then on she has delivered to the entire community.

During the growth of the child, a child is advised by way of instructions in the form of simple verbal instructions as well as folktales and and proverbs.

In proverbs, an elderly conveys the message contained in a saying through wise saying which does not have direct meanings; but have their meanings hidden in the mature words contained in the saying.

In folktales, the elderly or a group of young children get engaged in a narrative which is intended to convey the intended value. So there are folktales for when someone is not be a cheat, when someone is not to be irresponsible, when someone is not to be intolerant etc.

These ways of conveying values are transmitted to posterity and that seems to be golden ornaments in a decorated vessel.

ivanflowers said...

Hello fellow bloggers; My name is Ivan I live in Tampa, fl but I am originally from New York City. This is my first time blogging, I think it will be a very interesting experience. Let see what do I know about the French? Not very much but hopefully by the end of this class I should know much more. What I do know is that France is a place that I have always wanted to visit, at least once in my lifetime. I know that Paris is known for being a romantic city and the French language is known as the language of love. France is also known for its great fashion ( so my girlfriend tells me ). Also, a lot of the James Bond movies take place in France in cities like Paris, Monte Carlo and so forth. They have great wine and life is not as much a race, as it is in the United states of America. From movies that I have seen, life in France is much more laidback than life in the U.S. Growing up in New York, life just seems like it was moving so fast. What I would like to know is if my assumption of the laid back lifestyle correct?

Athena Smith said...

Hello all and especially hello to our special guest from Ghana.

Andy you have made some very interesting points about family relations, and the strength of the extended family. In the US the extended family has lost its grip on the society while the nuclear is failing with 50% divorce rates.
The relationship that you described between children and parents is very different here. Children are a bit too autonomous, almost disrespectful at times.
So I would like to ask the French students about the children-parents relationship. Is there a cultural emphasis on obedience or on independence?

Jayme said...

My name is Jayme Upchurch and I live in Florida. My impression of France is that it is a hub of culture; architecture, art, fashion and food.

In regards to architecture, I love the chapel Notre Dame du Haut, in Ronchamp by the architect Le Corbusier. The way the chapel reflects the organic curves found within nature. The interior has various windows which allow the natural light to highlight the minimal furnishings. I have only seen pictures, but I cannot wait to see it in person.

Then there is art! The Louvre, I could spend months there, although I am unsure how I feel about the glass pyramid.
Fashion is such a neat medium to express feelings. I wonder if the shops are different in France. It seems to me, that most of our stores have generically made clothing. Does France have large department stores or mainly small boutiques?

Finally, I have the impression that dining in France is more of a sit down affair, with fast food (McDonalds, Burger King ect.) at a minim. I have the impression that the portion sizes are smaller and the food is generally healthier than what our restaurants offer.

Jayme said...

Wow, I am very envious of your family structure Mr. Andrews Sefa Boachie. My family is all over the United States and we do not always speak weekly. Within 10 hours of travel, there are only two other members of my biological family.

I have two children and I hope that when they grow up they will stay close. My husband and I have a long history with each other. We meet when we were twelve-years-old and we have created an extended family of friends. A family structure is not always biological and this has lead to having people from all different backgrounds and cultures, which is a wonderful thing.

Junglist said...

Andy it sounds like your culture employs the exosystem of extended family and neighborhoods very well. I think many people in the U.S. could benefit from learning about the way your culture handles bringing up children. I believe some people here in the U.S. have become captivated by the fear of someone wanting to hurt their children, myself included. The media here propigates stories of child abduction etc, so much that it is difficult not to. It sounds like Jayme has found one solution in finding friends you can trust to act as an extended family. I think I will employ this strategy more as well.
Id like to ask you Andy, with the important role community plays in child rearing within your culture, when a child does misbehave, do other communities think it reflects badly on the child's community as a whole?

julia said...

Hi everyone! My name is Julia and I live in St Louis, Missouri. I moved here recently from Florida to finish my studies in nonprofit management with an emphasis in social services. I am now officially away from the palm trees and closer to the Gateway Arch. Although the move has its many benefits, I do have to say I miss sunny Florida and its beaches.

When I think of France and its culture, I get a feeling of splendor. I automatically think of the Eiffel tower, romanticism and its delicious food. I also think about getting a gondola tour and viewing the extravagant cathedrals and the Louvre. It is a country I have always wanted to visit and a culture I have always wanted to experience.

An impression that I get from French culture is that the men in France are much more flirtatious than American men. Is that true?

Another impression of the French I have is that there are more proper manners to follow and a sense of etiquette to be displayed. I have heard that the French like to get dressed up when going out into public as well as certain ways to dine. In America people go out in pajamas and it isn’t thought of negatively.

Also, I have heard that the French take their time in doing things and enjoy every moment that can. America seems to always be a hustle and bustle and forgetting the little beautiful things in life.

I can’t wait to meet all of you and hear all of the return responses from our class.
Good night!

Denis said...

Hello everyone, I'm Denis. How are you ?
I don't know what are your impressions about French people but we hear that you think we are frog and snail eater. It's not true !
So, in my opinion the United States of America appears like a powerful country to the rest of the world. The Americans seem to have a perfect life with the typical "American way of life" which give them the opportunity to become the richest man of the earth.
I think that the USA is a country where everything is bigger. You can drive when you turn 16, it's awesome !
In theory, you're not allowed to drink alcohol before you turn 21, isn't it ?
In France, we have an image of the USA with lot of buildings, yellow taxis like we can see in most movies.
I'd like to go to America to discover your culture and learn more about your lifestyle. I'd make a road trip to see all the beautiful landscapes you have like the Grand Canyon.
I'm sure that Americans guys are really cool and the way of life too.
See you soon on the blog !

Nicolas said...

My name is Nicolas, I’m 20 and I live near Grenoble. I’ve never been to America but I dream to see New York and Las Vegas because for me, they are cities to be seen. And if I can, I would like to take the 66 road with motorcycle because it’s just mythical.
In France, we have a vision of excess of America because everything is bigger than what we find here. You have big road, big cities, big cars,.......
Contrary to what you think, Americans are more patriotic than French. You respect more your national anthem. In France, saying that we are proud of our country is rather badly seen because you’re considered as a nationalist.
Regarding gastronomy, we may eat better in France than in America. The best chefs are French. We are used to eat very well since we’re young and we like that. But it’s a cliché to think that French drink wine everytime. We like good wine but we don’t drink it at every meal. There is however exceptions like in little village where you can find elderly people who like that too much!!
While waiting for others questions, I hope that I was able to answer some. Have a good day!!!

Goran said...

Hi,
My name is Goran and I live near Grenoble.
I’m happy to be blogging with you.
We’ve just read your comments and some are so funny. It’s fun to see what you think about us, many things are right but some things are just crazy.
Lot of people speak about France but only Paris!
Paris is a beautiful city, one of the nicest in the world with many museum, places, monuments and restaurants but they are so many other areas too.
I have been to the US a few years ago (Louisiana, Mississipi, Alabama and Florida)
During my travel, I have seen some cultures and landscapes which are different between Florida and Louisiana for exemple.
I hope we can talk together and learn more about our cultures and ideas…

Maëlle said...

Hi, my name’s Maëlle, I live in Grenoble.
I have been learning English for 8 years. It’s the second language studied in France.
I never been to America, but it’s in my projects .
What I know about Americans :
-at school they wear a uniform and they have fewer work hours than French.
-they have beautiful monuments and an interesting history.
-They have their driving license at sixteen years old.
-Freedom of speech is more important than in France.
-Most of the time they don’t eat healthy.
-some states are very touristic and famous.
I look forward to knowing more about your culture.

jgoran01 said...

Hi,
My name is Goran and I live near Grenoble.
I’m happy to be blogging with you.
We’ve just read your comments and some are so funny. It’s fun to see what you think about us, many things are right but some things are just crazy.
Lot of people speak about France but only Paris!
Paris is a beautiful city, one of the nicest in the world with many museum, places, monuments and restaurants but they are so many other areas too.
I have been to the US a few years ago (Louisiana, Mississipi, Alabama and Florida)
During my travel, I have seen some cultures and landscapes which are different between Florida and Louisiana for exemple.
I hope we can talk together and learn more about our cultures and ideas…

Nico said...

Hello, my name is Nicolas, I’m 19 years old, I live in Grenoble. I’m very excited to realise this project with you, I like the place where you live.
So my perception of your country is rather good. We hear a lot about your country whether it is good or bad. You are very big country with lots of influence in the world. I heard that you have problem of obesity because, in America, there are lots of fast foods and I think it is junk food. How often do you eat in fast food in a week ?
I also heard you have got very student parties, i watch a reportage on TV about spring break and I think it’s a very good party but you’re rythm of life must be different compared to France, so, do you take the time to party with your friends ?
I ‘ve already been to America but only for 2 days in New York and I would like to go back there and stay longer and why not live in America because I like the American dream, your big city, your cars, your history, your music, my favorite singer is 2pac, and your movies. But I’m proud of my country though and I’m happy to teach you my culture.

eddy-38 said...

Hi america !
My name is Eddy, I’m 20 and I live in Grenoble in the south east of France.
I'm happy to talk with you today because it is a way to discover other people and other cultures.
For us, French people, the USA are first of all, synonymous to success : culturals success (cinema,TV , mode, music), technical success (Microsoft, the Nasa,Boeing), school and sport success (Harvard, UCLA, the basketball).
This is the reason why this country fascinates us and that all the French people dream about going there because for us, the American life is like on television series with great colleges, big cars, big parties, big beaches and beautiful girls.
On the contrary, we also found that, despite American’s freedom, it is more strict than in France especially the majority which is of 21 while for us it’s 18.
I think it can be a major handicap particularly to drink alcohol, which is why it is better in France from this point of view.
I hope I have answered your questions and I hope to you speak again soon.
Bye ! eddy

Romain said...

Hello ! My name is Romain. I really don’t have an impression of you . My impression of the US is that it’s a very big country and there are lot of beautiful and different landscapes. My opinion of your culture is that you like your country and you’re proud of it. I think that many students love sports. You play mainly base-ball, football or basket-ball. Is it right ? I’ve never been to the US but i would like to visit them.

morgan said...

Hy ! My name is Morgan, I’m twenty-one.
I live in lyon. I’ve never been to America.
I think that Americans don’t have the same way of life than ours because you have more money and more jobs for the houses are bigger and more luxurious.
I think also that you eat less healthy because there is more fast food sas the macdo, burger-king, …
Universities looks much better than in France.
There are many stars in hollywood.
My friend went to the United States of America, during three weeks. He told me that you had straight roads that seem infinite. He also told me that the bread was bad. The NBA games are magnificent and see, the gymnasium are much larger than in France.

Mehdi said...

Hi, my name is Mehdi, I live in Grenoble. I’ve never been to the USA, I only know your cinema that I like very much. I feel that in your country, everything is so tall: cars, roads, houses… In America the new technologies are very spread, sometimes too much.
I don’t understand why the study is not free for everything; however student life looks more friendly than in France. I wonder if your series reflect the real life in America?
My level in English is low, though I’ve practiced English language for 8 years, but I would like to go to the USA to improve my level and discover your big country as well as your civilization.
I love sports, more especially soccer, in French : football, truly I don’t understand why you call the game American football since your play with your hands !?
I look forward to hearing from you!
Tell me your thoughts!

Mickael said...

Hi everyone, what’s up ?

I’m twenty and I live near Grenoble. I’m excited to blogging with you

I have never been to United States but I plan to go there one day to discover your culture and your country.

What I know about you :

In america you have everything bigger there like building, food, cars…. You have a sports culture very developed. You are number one to basketball, baseball and hockey.

Geoffray said...

I’am Geoffrey, I’m eighteen , I live in Grenoble .

I ‘ve learned English for seven years but my level is low.

I’ve never been to America it’s a pity, i would like to visit the country because there are beautiful landscapes(grand canyon …)and my dream would be to drive trail bike there, on the beautiful tracks in California.

I realised that in the US everything is bigger than in France( for example the car is bigger in contrario to France ,the building are high …)

We hear a lot about your country good or bad

Geoffray said...

I’am Geoffrey, I’m eighteen , I live in Grenoble .

I ‘ve learned English for seven years but my level is low.

I’ve never been to America it’s a pity, i would like to visit the country because there are beautiful landscapes(grand canyon …)and my dream would be to drive trail bike there, on the beautiful tracks in California.

I realised that in the US everything is bigger than in France( for example the car is bigger in contrario to France ,the building are high …)

We hear a lot about your country good or bad

Maxime said...

Hi everybody ! How are you ?
My name is Maxime.
I’m pretty impatient to be blogging with you for the following weeks !
My name is Maxime , I will soon turn 21 ! I live near Grenoble , it’s a beautiful city ,which is situated between mountains (big ) and city ! There aer some greats advantages but disadvantages too ; “nature” and as soon as you leave the city , you can breathe ! Because downtown it’s quite polluted ,and if you practice sports it’s possible to ski in winter with beautiful landscapes !!
I have never been to America , but I would like to ! I will probably come if my teachers and school agree ! All my classmates and I would like to !
To be honest I don’t know many things about you , about America . In my opinion , Americans seem to have a great and beautiful life .
Everything is bigger , everything is larger , everything is better !
Woaw ! Perfect life isn’t it ? No , I suppose that there are disadvantages too .
I hope will talk again and that we will learn more about each other.
Have a good day !

See you soon !

Simon said...

Hello, my name is Simon. I’m twenty three and I live in Grenoble.
I see your country as a very big country with very different landscapes. I ‘ve never been to the USA but I would like to. I would like to do a road trip in motorbike to see the landscapes. I think the cities in your country are too big for me, but I would like to visit them.
I think you have many clichés of the French people about our food habits, but I think we have many too. For example I think that the American people eat too much in the fast food and it’s bad for them health wise. Tell me if it’s wrong!

Ben Sigal said...

Bon jour et Hello tout le monde! My name is Benjamin and while I was born and raised in Florida, I would prefer much more to be considered a citizen of the world. I have been blessed in my life to have lived in Europe for about four months a few years back. During that time I spent about a week in Paris and a week in Strasbourg. My impressions are that Paris is a massive city with an ecclectic personality. However, much as it is French, it is still a big city with rude people! =-) Going to Strasbourg was much more the excursion I was looking for concerning French culture. The archetecture was beautiful and there was a little bistro downtown that had the most wonderful chocolate croissants.

France was an intriguiging place but was much different than what I had expected. I was not a fan of all french foods, though I do love your baking, pastries and coffee drinks! The idea of frog legs and es cargot does make me laugh since I saw it very rarely when I was there.

As far as us Americans, we are a strange breed. We are hard-working and big-dreaming, yet, can be lazy and not focused. We stress about life...ALOT! Probably more than any other country I have been to. As beautiful as you think our country is, we tend to think of France as a wonderful, exotic land filled with delicacies and beautiful women who have wonderful accents. =-) In America we have a saying that the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.

Lastly, to our fellow classmate from Ghana, Welcome! Growing up, I had a good friend who was from Zambia and have known several other people who were from Ghana, Nigeria, Zimbabawe and South Africa. As horrible the atrocities that have occured there, truly, even today there are such beautiful things that we could learn and utilize in our daily livings from your culture' ancient traditions. Thank you for sharing!

Sincerely,

Ben Sigal

shoegirl1010 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
shoegirl1010 said...

Hola Amigos! My name is Brigine. I currently live in a small town of Tampa called Valrico but I am originally from New York City. Unlike my classmates, I did not take French classes and the only French I do speak is: Christian Louboutin, Coco Chanel, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Christian Dior and Yves Saint Laurent :-) I am a huge fashionista and that is probably the only connection to the French culture that I have. I only know what I have seen in movies but I am very interested in learning more. My dream is to one day visit Paris, shop till I drop and admire the beautiful architecture by your country side.
I am originally from Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic so my culture is a little different than Americans. I don't truly believe in the personal space that my classmate mentioned above, but I do respect it because it is part of the American culture. My culture is very family driven. For example, it is normal to see a lot of Latin households consist of mom, dad, children and grandparents. The children are raised to respect all adults not just the parents. We believe in the saying "it takes a village to raise a child". I was raised in the Latin community of Washington Heights which is located in upper Manhattan New York. The building my family resided in, was occupied by Latin American families so I felt that I had a mother and a father on each floor of the building. It was great when I needed help but it was really bad when I tried to do something I wasn't supposed to do. No matter how hard I tried, I always got caught! I try to instill the very same values and morals to my 14 year old twins.
I have a lot of friends that come from different countries like Ghana, Nigeria and my home lands. I know that their view of America is not very positive. I usually tell them that yes! America does believe that bigger is better. At times we are a little lazy and I agree that some people eat too much fast food. However, I am very proud to be a part of such a diverse country with so many opportunities to those who really want it. My parents moved from Puerto Rico to grant my sister and I opportunities that we have not been able to receive have we not been here. I have friends who come over from other countries to study at the colleges here and use what they have learned to make progress in their own countries. I do wish that school was free that way, I could have more money to buy shoes!

Julio Torres said...

Bonjour!,

Hola amigos!

Mi nombre es Julio y soy de Puerto Rico, vivo en los Estados Unidos y estoy muy contento por la experiencia de participar en este blog. No hablo frances, pero hablo español, portugues e ingles.

Hi to everyone,

My name is Julio and I am originally from Puerto Rico (the smaller of the larger antilles in the Caribbean, and an US commonwealth). I am currently living in the US.

My grandmother was originally from Marseille,France, however, she met my grandfather and moved to Barcelona, then due to problems with the Franco regimen, they moved to New York for a year until finally settling in the beautiful island of Puerto Rico, our what I call my little piece of heaven.

I was never taught French but it is a very beautiful and romantic language. I have been to France several times specifically to Paris and Southern France: Nice, Cannes, Aix-en-Provence and of course Marseille and I loved it.

I welcome this opportunity to exchange culture, language and ideas with our new french friends.
So feel free to ask.

Mercy

Gabrielle C. said...

Hi everyone! My name is Gabrielle and I live in Tampa, Florida. I have traveled throughout the United States and experienced many of the different cultures and lifestyles here as we have a variety of people from different backgrounds and ethnicities. However, I have never traveled to France but it is on top of my list of places I would like to visit. Judging from the other comments left by French students, you seem to have a grasp on the concept of American life. As for my perspective of the French culture, I always believed the French did not like American people; viewing us as ignorant Americans. I am not sure if this is true but from what I have read it seems quite the contrary. From my understanding the French are also keen to fine wine and great food such as cheese and breads. Please correct me if I am wrong on any aspect of my post. :)

Nicholas Kieper said...

Hello everyone,
My name is Nicholas Kieper. I live in Salisbury Maryland and I am completing my HCC degree through the online distance learning program. This is my first time blogging and I really think I am going to enjoy this experience. I am not really sure what my impressions of France are. When I think of France, I think about magnificent art, culinary masterpieces, and romance. This may be purely because of what I have seen in movies. I love to cook and I know the French are extremely well known for their culinary abilities. I am a nursing major and plan to travel once I obtain my degree. I have always wanted to visit France in a travel tour through Europe. Hopefully I will get to visit while traveling as a nurse and get to experience some of the culinary works of art.

Julio Torres said...

Hi,

I have been reading all your comments and I absolutely love it.
I have to say that I agree with everyone's comments since your statements are based your own perception or observations as you or someone has encountered some particular aspects of the culture, however, I can assure you that it does not represent its entirety.

I am born and raise in a Puerto Rico, a country that speaks Spanish, English is also an official language since we are a Commonwealth of the US and American Citizens,although,we are indistinctively Latin American in idiosyncrasy. We are a very caring and emotional people, we love to dance, to talk, and everything is an excuse for a “fiesta.”
I found American culture to be more constraint in terms of expressing emotion and physical representation of affection.

Americans are very friendly, easy going and eager to carry on casual and sporadic conversations, but it is much harder to becoming intimate at a personal level because of that notion of “personal space” and extreme individuality. This observation in mainly applicable to highly dense urban centers, however, in some Mid States such as Wisconsin, I found Americans to be very
in-touch with their emotions and consistently caring and friendly.

I think that for mainstream American culture showing too much emotion is a sign of instability and weakness, therefore, they either suppress or medicate them; nonetheless, I do see great value in being logical, organize, commensurate and hard-worker. I came to realize that the solution lies not at the extremes but at the center, and I have incorporated into my life order and logic in order to channel my passion for living and get the best of life since you only live once.

I found French people to be much more reserved and less prompt to casual conservation than Spanish or American people; however, once you have gained their friendship they are warm, carrying and very radical.

I also came to understand America as rather than a melting pot, a collage or a quilt. There are many countries represented, ethnicities and ideologies that are very proud to call this place home and that what makes it special and interesting.

It is undeniable that America is a country of dichotomies: extreme entrepreneurship and laziness, very fit and healthy obsess people but also many fat people, conservative, traditional and religious but at the same time very capitalist, individualistic and antisocialist, sexually oriented but at the same time sexually repressed; and even that it is not perfect, I love to live here.

Julio Torres said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Julio Torres said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Julio Torres said...

If you can limit in your head the ambition for money and the notion of excessive 'want' then it is a paradise: you can find people, food and music and movies from anywhere in the world and at easy reach, so you feel can feel interconnected to the world and the global community.

You can enjoy here life at any age, people do not feel that their life is over because they are getting old (that rocks because in the Spanish world you are pretty much old news from the moment you get married and have children or when you get over 30 years old). There are pretty much a wide variety of activities for citizens of all ages. I particularly enjoy the concept on RV-ing, the concept of driving throughout the country in a movable home. I guess deep inside I am a hippie at heart.

Cities here are also quite interesting. My favorites are San Francisco, Chicago, Minneapolis, Seattle, and San Juan (PR) and of Tampa due to their laid back attitude.

In America you work hard for the money, however, businesses compete for your patronage, they make you feel special about spending your hard-earned money with them, providing you with special rewards, sales, customer protections and no hassle warranties (try to return a defective product to a store in Barcelona and you will understand). You can also get a decent place to live, a car, and basic comforts such a computer and technology for a fare price.

If you are smart you can live here nicely and enjoy yourself in the process; I have travelled to many countries and seeing many things for cheap (hostelling and backpacking). I have already seen some of the world most amazing wonders such as the Pyramids, the Hagia Sophia, the Panama Canal, Machu Picchu, the Parthenon and the eternal city of Rome among many others and it is all because of the opportunities this country has provided me.

The following link leads to a song that embraces some of my ideas about America; it is by a classic rock band from the 70's called Styx (lyrics included in video clip so you can follow it). The coolest part is that these dudes are now in their 60's and they still Rock and Rollin; I will get to see them in concert here in Tampa this October for the first time in my life, since I was not even born yet when they started playing music.

Enjoy and let me know if you understood the message of the song:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cm1U9P-OeOE

Athena Smith said...

One stereotype that is floating freely is that Americans are gullible. Therefore kind of dumb. Michael Moore said that, believing it, in one of his interviews.
I am Greek and I have not lived many years in the US but I would like to clarify this. Many Americans are honest. Therefore they believe what you tell them because they take it for granted that you are also an honest man.

Athena Smith said...

Julio, I believe you captured the essence of that nation!

I would like to add my experience with France myself. My daughter spent a semester in Paris two years ago. I spent a wonderful weekend there and I took both of my daughters to Normandy to pay our respects at the American Cemetery, in Omaha beach. I even wrote in the blog about it and posted some photos.

Normandy is a wonderful place! I would love to go back there!

Chantele said...

I definitely wish that American children grew up the way children do in Ghana. The word “Nuclear family” is almost extinct. It’s difficult just getting father’s to take care of the children they bring into the world. I believe if kids were raised by the entire family versus a single mother trying to make ends meet, the promiscuity rate, dropout rate, and crime rate of teenagers would drastically decline.

Chantele said...

Hello again! This is Chantele. You are completely correct about the fast food thing. Americans consume entirely too much of it. Americans live busy fast paced lives so sitting at home and preparing a nice healthy meal doesn't fit into the schedule sometimes. It's a real problem because the obesity rate among children is on the rise.

Bryon Bewsher said...

Hello all around the world. My name is Bryon Bewsher. I am currantly living in Tampa Florida. I have lived in New Jersey and Dallas, Texas. I have spent the majority of my life studying the Culinary Arts. I graduated from Culinary Arts school in Atlantic City New Jersey in 1992. I spent the next 17 years working for Swiss, German and French chefs in hotels and restaurants. I am most eager to learn recipes and food lingo from my new friends in France. I welcome any and all comments as well as questions about American Cuisine. Mostly for us, it has become cuisine from all over the world with a new flair added that MUST have what I call The Wow Factor. I have seen, and cooked, food from many different cultures, but I have witnessed in the past ten or so years in the States a trend of combining cuisines in kitchens.

Bryon Bewsher said...

I am now studying to be a Special Education teacher or teacher for blind children. I am legally blind as of two years ago. I have no sight in my left eye and 20 % in my right. Hard to cok in high volume anymore for me.

Lauren said...

I was very interesting to read everyone's impressions and thoughts of the US, as I am sure it was equally amusing to read our comments about your country. I was very surprised to read what Eddy said about Americans being more patriotic than the French. Although, if you want to hear something embarrassing Eddy, some of us do not even know the whole national anthem. There have been countless videoes of people messing it up. :) But, not all of us are like that.

Athena Smith said...

Bryon
You are characterized by a global hunan trait. Courage!
Keep up the good work.

Joel Thomas said...

Hello everyone! I am not going say "greetings" as though you are all from a different planet, just seems a bit odd to me, but oh well who am I to judge? Anyways I am excited to find out that we would be "blogging" with people from France in my globalization class. Honestly France would have been one of my top choices because I love Europe, and love Paris even more! I would have to say the first thing that comes to my mind when I think of France and the French culture is FASHION! Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior, Yves St. Laurent, Jean Paul Gaultier and of course Coco Chanel are some of my all time favorite designers and all were proudly French. Another thing that comes to mind is the how much rich history France has, along with the amazing architecture that comes with it. Unfortunately in America, in my opinion, there is not a lot of historical architecture that is found. Historical items in America are either tucked away in a museum, or turned into a museum.
I suppose what I'm trying to say is that I love French design, and love the culture itself. I would much rather prefer to live anywhere in France then to live in America. Americans tend to work too much, as well as eat a little too much! Sorry for the folks in the U.S., but you cannot tell me it's not true!

Bryon Bewsher said...

Joel,
I agree. I love history. I have always been interested in world history. Here in the States, there are few places that we can go to actually live the history. Our history, as a founded country, only goes a few hundred years back. Thereare not thousands of years here to dwell upon(yet, in the future there might actually be a resurgance of American Indian History). I like going through the northeast(where I am from) to go through the mountains and see outposts of where Washington an crossed the Deleware and through virginia and pennsylvania. In these areasa, there are places to actually live in the places where things happened. Most others are in museums and in history books. I would love to walk through Europe and see thousands of years of history around me

Brandon said...

Hey there fellow Bloggers, this is Brandon from Tampa, FL and I'm excited to start this 8-week journey with you all. A little bit about myself is that I was raised in the arid dessert of southern Arizona and I moved to this swamp after high school.
My impression of France is, and I'm not trying to ruffle any feathers here, it's a sketchy place full of rude people. I'm sure that doesn't hold true for the country as a whole but I've had a lot of friends and family travel through there and I am consistently told to never go there. I hear every city is dirty and if the locals find out you're American then they'll treat you with no respect.
I've also heard other things about France and it's culture like that women don't shave there, and that beer is on tap next to the soda machines in fast food restaurants.
The only other things I know about France is what I hear on the news, or used to hear when Bush was in office, that they didn't support us and looked down on us and so forth.
That is more or less my entire impression of France, I hope to learn more about your culture and that you can give me a different impression than I already have.

Vee said...

Hello, my name is Vanessa and I am from Tampa Florida. I am so excited to be blogging with so many students from so far away. Unfortunately I am a bit embarrassed to say that I do not know very much at all about the French culture. Through books, movies, television, and exchange students I have come up with a few assumptions about France, although I am not sure if they and completely correct. I have heard that France is a very beautiful place with many pieces of history standing above the ground. I have also been told that just like Florida, France is known for its rising numbers in tourism. Although I am pretty sure that the number of tourist in visiting France exceeds Florida’s numbers. From movies and books I have come to the conclusion that France is filled with romance and fine food. When I think of France I always think of the lovely accent that the French have. I hope to visit France one day in the future and spend plenty of time there so that I can experience everything your lovely culture has to offer. I would like to visit most of all the Eiffel Tower, and all of the Cathedral’s I hear they are quit spectacular.

Aaron said...

Hello Everyone,

My name is Aaron Hoffman and I am originally from a North Midwest state which is predominantly German and Polish decent. I moved to Florida in 1998 to escape the harsh cold long winters to enjoy the fun in the sun.

Traveling always been one of my passions along with surfing, snowboarding, waterskiing and Architecture, therefore I am very intrigued about the European and French Architecture since I studied History of Architecture in College. I welcome this opportunity to learn more about the French culture and make new friends.

France is well known here in the States for their Fashion cuisine, wine, Architectural Landmarks, and do not forget about the French kiss.

I have been reading some previous comments in the blog that are very interesting; however, some of them do not portrait the accurate picture. As an example, based on what I learned in my Sociology class about the disintegration of the nuclear family is that is a effect of post industrialization in which the parents are both forced to work to maintain the modern lifestyles. I do not think the parents in the States purposely want to detach from their children and loved ones; however, due the cost of modern luxuries and most haves, inadvertently neglect quality time with their family. In their opinion the American parents are in the belief that they are doing to the best they can in providing their family with material things rather than just love. Ironically this materialism lifestyle tends to spread to other countries that idealize the American lifestyle and culture.

As a final statement I would like to add that America has also very exciting history, culture and Architecture. American films and music are well known throughout the world. Architecturally speaking many cities such as New York, Chicago San Francisco, and Miami have served as urban models for later developments around the world. Some other cites like Washington DC which was built in the neoclassical style and Miami in its indistinctive modern Art deco embraced the spirit of those generations.

Overall our country has many flaws and may to some have a bad reputation with negative stereotypes politically; however, America is an urban melting pot of people, ideas and beliefs. I feel very fortunate to come from such a great and diverse country.

Aaron said...
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Anthony said...

Hi, I am Anthony, from Tampa, Florida, though I’m originally from Georgia. I am looking forward to this 8-week exchange and hoping to learn a lot. However, I don’t really feel as if I know much about your country at this time, but hopefully that will have changed by the time this is over. I do know that the French language is supposed to sound very nice, and that your country has many great museums. I also know your country has many great monuments such as the Eiffel tower. I’ve also heard your countries supposed to have very good food and wine. Lastly, I do know that a great many peace treaties have been signed in your country over the years. So I know a little, but I look forward to learning a lot more.

Anthony said...

Hey Simon, your right about Americans eating too much fast food. I think a lot of people due it just for the convince of not having to cook anything. Still taking a motor bike trip around the country does sound like a lot of fun, hopefully you’ll get a chance to one day.

Athena Smith said...

Vee
Out of curiosity I did some research on the number of tourists that visted France and Florida in 2007 and guess what! The numbers were alsmost identical. Eighty two million tourists each!

Vee said...

Quite honestly I am surprised to hear that the tourism numbers are about the same. I hear many more people say how they would like to visit France than I do hear about Florida, but I assume that is just because we live here. I can't understand sometimes why people would want to visit this hot muggy place with flat land, but I then realize that there is plenty of beauty out there I am just used to it.

Athena Smith said...

Vee
"Disney World!"
Plus
Miles and miles of white sandy beaches... :))
The rest is hot and muggy, I agree.

Joel Thomas said...

Simon,
You are correct by saying that American's eat too much fast food. I luckily have not had fast food since I was twelve years old.
In regards to the French and their food, from what I know most of the food is a lot fresher and cleaner than the food consumed in the States. I also know that the French have very unique cuisine and are wild about the bread, wine, and all of the different cheeses.

Goaldie1647 said...

Sadly I have not been France at all but believe me it's definitely a location that's on my "to do list". I don't know too much about France but I'm excited to ask questions and broaden my cultural frame of mind. What I do know may be very cliche, but France, in particular French people, I think are sophisticated and stylish from what I've seen. The food I hear is a amazing. Not to mention the world renounced chefs such as: Eric Ripet,Georges Auguste Escoffier, and Jacques Pepin just so happen to be French . The food alone has it's own subcultural. And the clothes, Paris wasn't one of the leading fashion capitals for a reason. With Dior,Chanel, and Vuitton also being French; the French cultural is notable recognized for is keen fashionistas. And who can't deny that the French language isn't one of the prettiest dialects that the world has. Terre Battue(French Open),which means the red clay, is one of my favorite tennis tournaments of the year(Vamos Rafa!!).France is as old and has been as influential to some many countries around the world; its culture and lineage is so deep rooted and matured. I just can't wait to get some perspective from people from a completely different cultural background from me. This is going be fun.

Aurélien said...

Hello !

My name is Aurélien, i'm 19. I live in Grenoble. I've never been to america. What I know about America is that you can take your driving licence at the age of 16 while in France it is 18. It seems that you have an issue with obesity because you eat too much junk food. In America you can drink alcohol when you turn 21 (France 18). Am I right?

Eric said...

Hi my name is Eric , I’m 21 years old , I live next to Grenoble .

I think in different states of the U.S.A. the life is different like a different country in Europe ?

I never been to America nor to an English speaking country . I think the U.S.A. is a great and young country.

Julio Torres said...
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Julio Torres said...

Hi Eric from Grenoble and
the rest of friends,

You are very right, life is somehow different among people living in different states in the U.S. primarily due to their environmental conditions, US is a very large country and some areas are very hot like in Arizona, or very cold like in Alaska or South Dakota. Another contributing factor could be their historical background and religion. Florida was part of Spain until 1822, Puerto Rico until 1898. The territory of Louisiana was purchased from the French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte in 1803. The purchase, which doubled the size of the United States, comprises around 23% of current U.S. territory. The rest of the West side of United States was obtained from the Spaniards and the large state of Texas from Mexico; soon after their independence war. The territories of Hawaii became a state in 1959 and Alaska was purchased from the Russians in 1912but became an official state in 1959.

The original 13 British colonies were located along the East Coast from New Hampshire to Georgia. Before it was New York, it was New Amsterdam, a Dutch colony. Americans were assisted by the French who played a key role for helping then in obtaining their independence from Britain. The Statue of Liberty was designed by Frederic Bartholdi and dedicated on October 28, 1886. The statue, a gift to the United States from the people of France, is of a robed female figure representing Libertas, the Roman goddess of freedom, who bears a torch and a tabula ansata (a tablet evoking the law) upon which is inscribed the date of the American Declaration of Independence. A broken chain lies at her feet. The statue has become an iconic symbol of freedom and of the United States. As you can see the United States and France have had a long relationship.

Julio Torres said...

However, the main difference from Europe would be that America is a very young country compared to the old European Empires and their iconic structures; therefore, you cannot see here the many layers of history you can see in Europe. Nonetheless, America has something unique to offer and it is their creativity and ingenuity because it was able to incorporate some of the most brilliant minds around the world that lead to marvelous works of engineering at a relative fast and constant pace.

The country has the advantage of using English as a single language for communication and that provides a great level of cohesiveness (Spain exported the Castilian language to the Americas, which is the language commonly referred as Spanish, however, the country also has other official languages such as Basque, Gallego and Catalan which are very different languages, therefore, many independence movements have arise in those Spanish regions due to their cultural and linguistic characteristics).

Despite these facts and it America differences based on state history and geography; I personally believe that there is a common American spirit and attitude (positive) than is prevalent in all the American people that are palpable from Hawaii to Florida. In Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam, the American Samoa, The Marianna Islands (American territories around this country) some aspects of this American spirit has been incorporated to the local palette and flavor.

Could any of our French friends enlighten me more about the history and background of Grenoble?

Have you guys travelled to other European countries or outside Europe? Have you ever thought about visiting the Caribbean? France has some nice
island-territories(Guadeloupe and Martinique among others).

Athena Smith said...

Some students mentioned that flag planting in France can be considered "nationalism" whereas in the US it is simply patriotic.

Well, not so fast. In the US we have taken it a bit too far.

Take a look here

shoegirl1010 said...

I can see how the tourist info for 2007 in Florida is similar to France. We have attractions like Disney World, Universal and my favorite Miami. Lots to do down here in Florida. When I lived in New York, every Memorial day and Labor Day weekends we came down south for some fun in the sun. Have any of the French students traveled to the states? If so where? If not, are you interested in coming to visit? And if so, where would you like to go?

Athena Smith said...

I also wanted to add something about history. As Julio said you can not see the vast layers of history here in the US. However one should remember what the definition of history is.
If you confine it around a time frame, then obviously there is not much to be seen here. From that perspective, I certainly get a strong sense of history by visiting Bastille and Omaha Beach.

What if the definition revolves around events that changed the way we think? Technology?
From that perspective I am at awe every time I visit the Kennedy Space center and I see the original spacecrafts and the first Apollo. I truly believe that tourists, who visit the US and confine themselves to NYC, have not seen America. They experience American history by visiting the Kennedy Space Center.

François said...
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François said...

To Brandon :

Girls do shave (some are even hygiene freaks sometimes!).

Regarding French rudeness, tactlessness... Some people are rude, most are friendly though. As in every country.

shoegirl1010 said...

Well here in the US some schools do have uniforms but those are usually private schools like Catholic Schols. In big cities like New York, the public schools offer parents the opportunity to purchase uniforms to assist with the expenses incurred from buying clothes.
The hours depends on which grade and what state you live in. It can start at 7 am and through 4 pm Monday through Friday. In the Dominican Republic, children have a choice whether they could attend in the morning 8-12pm or 1-5pm, which I think its rather weird. Most high schools here in Florida offer Driver's Ed. I didn't have this option going to school in New York. Here in Florida you can get a driver's permit at 15, however you have to wait until you are 16 to drive. Even then, you can only drive during the day or with an adult until you are 18.
There is a lot of fast food available and with the fast lifestyle that most Americans lead, it is easy to go to the fast food option. We have some healthy fast food places like subway and most fast food restaurants offer low calorie options like salads and fruit. Regardless of how much fast food is available, a lot of Americans promote a healthy lifestyle.

The one thing that I don't like about this country is something that maybe found in most capitalist countries-the obsession with appearances. We have millions of teenage girls with eating disorders in order to look like those stars on magazine covers. The problem doesn't only exists with teenage girls, it has extended with women always needing and wanting plastic surgery to "enhance and improve" their bodies. It's almost like we Americans are never satisfied with our appearance. Is France the same way? Is your country so fascinated with appearances as much as we are?

Sarah Moore said...

Wow. A week goes by and suddenly, there's 70 comments! I was going to address a specific comment, but because of the over-whelming agreement between the comments, I'll explain some of them the best I can. A common trend I'm noticing is that most people associate the U.S. with New York City, just as we associate France with Paris. We often forget about the south of France and the Alps because of the overwhelming cultural focus on Paris. Its the same phenomenon occurring with New York; all the movies and tv shows emphasize it so it's the most recognizable, but truthfully it represents a very small part of America. New York is quite different geographically and culturally from Florida and Florida is different from Tennessee, where I grew up. Not only are the landscapes shockingly different and beautiful, from the city skyline in New York, the beaches in Florida, and the mountains in Tennessee, but the lifestyles vary greatly. In New York City, everything is fast and urgent. In stark contract, Tennesseans take things slower while Florida falls in between. Its all so different it almost doesn't feel like the same country, and I haven't even begun to talk about the West!
One generalization that is correct is that everything is bigger. We like big things. Big cars, big drinks, big buildings, and, unfortunately, big people. As a population, we eat do eat very poorly, but I've noticed a trend to move families away from fast food and into a more healthy lifestyle.
What I'm noticing from our blog so far is that, while the blanket generalizations might be true, once you get down to a more personal, one-on-one level, they become less and less accurate.

ivanflowers said...

Hi Maxime
The way you described Grenoble makes it sound like a very beautiful city. I have always wondered about what it would be like to live in a place like that. It would be so difficult for me to get up in the morning with all that beauty around me; sounds so peaceful. You said that you think everything in America is bigger and better; it depends on how you look at it. I do agree about it being bigger, but I would have to disagree about it being better. I believe that most people in America would love to live in a place like Grenoble. I lived in New York City most of my life; big buildings and everything at my fingertips. As I got older I realized that I didn’t want my life to be moving at a hundred miles an hour every day. I guess what they say is true; the grass always looks greener on the other side.

Bryon Bewsher said...

I am still interested in some talk about the food culture in France. My experience with French cookery was probably Americanized. I worked in kitchens where we stuck to traditional "old school" recipies such as Coq au Vin and Beer Bouorgigonne. Are these traditional recipes atill in the cafes and hotels in France. Not just in Paris, as mentioned, but the back roads of France in the wine country? In those kitchens we also used a lot of b butter, creme and heavy roux based sauces. Here in the states, the hotels and upper scale restaurants put a higher price on smaller, gourmet portions. Is that true in France? I studied Escoffier and Careme in Culinary School. Are their influances still in the France Culture today? They are here in the States in upper priced hotels such as Four Seasons and Ritz Carlton, but the smaller portions are obviously gooing away, or to the extreme top of the consumer food chain. Big Macs and Super sized food is what most of the world sees us as far as food in the States. There are some great and healthy restaurants and cafes to eat at. There is a big push for sustainable food here int he U.S. that includes organically grown products, recycled containers to package and smaller portion sizes because of oour big back sides. I work at The University Of South Florida. We are opening a building on campus in 2011 that totally revolvs around sustainable foods and both vegan and vegetarian cooking. Now are those types of foods looked at in France?

Bryon Bewsher said...

my previous post should say BEEF Bourgigonne, not BEER

Lauren said...

Some of my classmates have already clarified most of your impressions of America but I would like to offer my opinion on a few of them.

As many of you said, yes we do like everything bigger. Big cars, big houses, big everything. In Tampa, a lot of people (not all) have the “keeping up with the Jones’s” attitude-this means we are all competing against one another on looks, possessions, living arrangements, etcetera. Some people even go into debt just so they can keep up their appearance.

Yes, we do have a problem with obesity, as other countries are starting to face as well. I think a lot of our problem is the junk food and technology. Fast food is cheap, easily accessible, and fast. A lot of us look for that with the fast paced lives that we live. Most people will not take the time to prepare and enjoy a meal. Technology is a factor because a lot of us are glued to computers, video games, watching tv, and so on, instead of going for a walk or getting some fresh air.

Yes, we can obtain our licenses at 16 and we are not allowed (by law) to drink until 21. This never made sense to me because at 18 we can gamble and purchase tobacco products. Funny how we can gamble our money away and increase our chances of getting cancer but that we have to wait 3 years to consume alcohol-go figure.

Simon said...

Hi guys, I’m Simon.

I read in your preceding comments that in your opinion we drink wine with every meal. No, don’t drink wine with every meal. For me, I love good wine but I drink just for special occasions.

You think that we are romantic but I think whether we are not more romantic than you.

If you feel like to do a trip in France for learn our culture, you shouldn’t stay in Paris because the Parisians are “crazy”.
My self I don’t like to go to Paris because this city stresses me.

I think the Parisians are not welcoming with the tourists because they have no time and they are always hurry up. Otherwise Paris is a beautiful city with its monuments, and there are a lot of things to do.

See you guys, have a nice time !

Geoffray said...

We have a vision of the US Mcdonald eaters, where the sport is not one big activity, where everything is enormous as some cities (ex: Los Angeles)
Everything you said about France is quite appropriate for the Parisian but the French people are usually very friendly,... We do not drive as fast as you think we are. We are normal people! Don' worry !

Shall be you more next time!

Maéva said...

Despite all the differences between us,
I think we are little similar, we go to Macdonald,
we love American movies, we wear Baggys, we listen to American singers/bands...
For the French people, USA is a very beautiful country ...
Bye !

Maxime said...

Hi!
I would try to re-lay has some ideas or questions!

Paris is an attractive city yes, but just for those who come in tourist, otherwise, there is an expression which is: METRO BOULOT DODO [[ SUBWAY JOB(WORK) SLEEP ]] (ask at your teachers if they knows this expression lol ) !


In Paris everything is in the immoderation, the speed, the stress, in cars it is really dangerous !



I think that French like very much americains, then they also imitate them! They eat in the fastfood, they get dressed similar, they like BIG SUCCES films which come from the USA !

French envy americains also, the majority have beautiful and big cars, that they can even drive from their 16ans isn't it?


Good evening!! Bye

Maxime said...

I would try to answer*
Sorry !

Athena Smith said...

Maxime

I believe evryone understands what you mean. In Greek we have the same experssion. Work, sleep, and so on and so on.
This is how it is in big cities like NY, Paris and Athens (where I lived for almost 15 years). Hustle and bustle, commotion, stress and cutthroat competition. Young people like NYC buceause of the "life" associated with it, but after a certain age you come to appreciate the beauty of the smaller metro areas or even the small towns.
And indeed I have seen breathtaking beuaty in small towns in Europe and the US. In France I loved Bayeux and in the US Charleston (South Carolina) and Savannah (Georgia) took my breath away.

Athena Smith said...

Unfortunately the fast food mania is a reality. Even people who do not eat at fast food restaurants have adopted the mentality for home cooking. You will see many Americans use processed foods. In other words they use too many canned foods and frozen dinners...

And, no, it is not because they are too busy. many are stay-home moms. I am afraid it is learned behavior.

However there is a movement for change with markets that specialize in organic foods and people taking an interest in cooking using raw materials and no canned foods. I have adopted it for one. You will not find any cans in my home! Yes, it takes a bit longer to prepare a meal, but the difference in taste makes it worthwhile.

Last summer I travelled to California, to Napa Valley, where they have the famous vineyards (I believe the French look down on them... I heard a French wine maker call them "Californian grape juice-punches" :)))

The influence of the French know-how is everywhere. Many vineyard owners spent months in France studying with the locals and brought back to California the French enthusiasm and meticulousness in this fine "art!"

Bryon Bewsher said...

Who are some popular Bands/singers in france right now?

Jayme said...

Hi Maëlle,
I think it is wonderful that you have been learning English; unfortunately I have not kept my Spanish current in my language. I studied Spanish for four years in High School, but I can only remember a little.
In the United States we have various types of schools; Elementary School-preschool (age 4), kindergarten (age 5), Grades 1-5, Middle School-Grades 6-8 and High School- Grades 9-12. These can be either public, private or a magnate school. In the public schools there are not uniforms, but there are dress code enforcements such as no miniskirts or inappropriate language in print. In private schools there are uniform requirements and also a dress code. Finally, magnate schools (schools which focus on a specific subject or encompasses many schools into one place), the dress code in these schools can be either uniform or general dress with a dress code in place.

Freedom of speech is very important to us in the United States. We have fought and people have died to give us this right. Freedom of speech is a wonderful gift, because it allows us the opportunity to be heard, make a difference and see things in someone else’s view point. The media, newspapers, television and radio, report events both local and national while sharing information and in some instance their opinions. I personally would not feel like I mattered if I could not voice my opinion and speak freely.

Jayme said...

I was wondering a few things about life in France:

What is the average size of your homes?

What is the average size of a household? What family members live there?

Do you have large chains of stores? (For example we have Walmart, Target, Macy’s..ect)

What are some common hobbies within your individual communities?

Is religion important throughout your community?

Thank you!!!!

Junglist said...

To Maxime and others who have commented about the driving age in the U.S.

Typically the age to receive a driving license is 16 years old. However, in some states you can get a learners permit at 14 and a full license 6 months later. Usually these states are mostly rural areas with many farms and there can be quite a distance between where people live and the closest town. This situation can necessitate a younger person driving to help their parents with agricultural duties or running errands.

Some states though have the driving age set at 17 or 18, like New York and New Jersey. Some people say this is to keep fewer cars on the road, and some argue that at 16 years children are not mature enough to drive a car.

Whatever the reasons, it is up to each State to set it's own driving age. This was also true with drinking age to some extent. Certain states had a drinking age of 18, until the national drinking age act of 1984 that withheld government funds from states with lower drinking ages.

Junglist said...

Some questions for our French friends.
How difficult is it to get into universities there? For instance here in America, there are schools with very prestigious reputations in certain areas, like Johns Hopkins for medicine and Harvard for law; that can be very difficult to be admitted to. There are so many colleges here though, that if you have the funds you can typically find an institution from which to receive a degree.
Also I am intrigued by the notion of nationalism. Is this nationalism based on political views or is it based on territorial rights? I want to know if being very patriotic is considered a bad thing because of some sense that the government of France is not doing the right thing for its people?
Also how does politics effect your everyday lives? Is it a big part of your culture? Or do many of you stay out of politics because you have other things to do with your time?

LaSandra67 said...

I was wondering what is the cost of living in France...

LaSandra67 said...

I accidently hit the wrong key...Sorry.

I was wondering also about how is France dealing with the issue if immigration?

LaSandra67 said...

Dr. Smith,

The news reports that I have seen on immigrants that have arrived in France concerns me. I really would like to get some clarity om the situation there. They have turned the matter into a "Us against them" situation here. What area of the economy does the immigrants that arrive in France help in. For the U.S. its mainly agriculture,if I am correct. Og...by the way! Whjat is this issue about the women wearing their hijabs? Does the majority of the citizens of France really have a proble with that? I really cannot say what my impression is at this point. Of what I have seen from the media. it has not been good. Please help me out on this one.

Chantele said...

I have a few questions for our French friends. In America we have a lot of government assistance programs such as financial aid, WIC, food stamps, Medicaid, and various others. Do you guys have programs like that? Do you guys have fraternities (Greek letter organizations) at your universities? And what is the crime rate like where you’re from? Just a few questions to try to get better insight on how similar and different our countries are.

Athena Smith said...

Lasandra
I believe the situation in Europe is more accentuated than the US. We have seen a rise of the far Right in many European countries that is related to anti-immigration.
I found this article in BBC about Muslims facing discrimination.

As for the hijabs, I found this article..

I hope some French students will shed more light into this.

Do you guys think a measure like this could pass in the US?

Athena Smith said...

Chantele
Next week we will talk about our respective welfare states!

Lauren said...

@ Jayme-
I couldn’t agree with you more! Freedom of speech is so very important and it is something we treasure very deeply. I know I, and I am sure many others, sometimes take it for granted. I always have to think “hey, there are other countries out there who do not have as many freedoms and liberties as I do.” It really does make me proud to live in this country, despite whether or not I agree with certain issues and how they are handled.

Gabrielle C. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gabrielle C. said...

It seems as if most of the topics that I can think of have been covered already. Jayme made the comment of people who have fought for the United States and died to protect our freedom as we know it. Coming from a family full of former military, I was just curious if France shared the same respect for its military as we do? In the US we hold our military and their family in high regards, even if its simple things to thank them for their sacrifice. So how do you view your military?

Chantele said...

I guess I I’ll wait until next week to get a response to my previous blog, sorry Ms. Smith. We’ve covered so much information on impressions of each other it’s hard to think of something else to expound on. Western culture has had such a huge impact on the rest of the world. How has American culture influenced the culture in France (if at all)? A few years back there were some reports on an increased rate of anorexia and bulimia in Eastern nations due to the infiltration of Western culture. The thinner, the more beautiful was a trend at one point. Also, plastic surgery is an epidemic in this country. People are becoming obsessed and a few have died. Is plastic surgery prevalent in your country as well? What about teen pregnancy? That is also a rising statistic in this country. They even made a Lifetime movie called the Pregnancy Pact, where high school girls made a pact to become pregnant at the same time. The movie was inspired by true events. I also wanted to touch on the subject of legal age to obtain driver’s licenses. I think it would be wise for America to move the legal driving age to 18 because teenagers today are just not mature enough for the responsibility of driving. When you get behind the wheel of a car, it’s not just your own life in your hands, but everyone else’s too.

Robert Smith said...

Hello everyone! I'm very excited about blogging with you guys for the next several weeks. I'm born and raised in Tampa,Fl and unfortunately I haven't left outside my country. Unlike everyone else on this blog I never studied French so I don't have the slightest clue what's going on there besides stereotypes I hear amongst my friends and what I learn in history class. I want to take full advantage of this opportunity to learn much of you guys culture and the way of living over there. I can't ask every question on my mind, but I have couple that I really want to know off the top of my head. I know that our country and you guys trade heavily, but beyond that how do Americans fit in over there especially the women. I don't know if this true or not but do people get criticize for speaking proper English and look at as an outcast. Another question I have is we all know how harsh our justice system is and how unfair it is especially if you commit a drug offense. Judges over here sentencing young people to more time for drugs than first degree murderers.Thanks for taking the time for reading my post.

Robert Smith said...

Hello Maxime. I was wondering about a certain thing and I would like you to enlighten me on this topic. Well in Tampa, Fl where I'm living our city has put up almost one hundred camera's at every busy intersections to catch people running red lights and speedsters to record their license plate and send them a ticket in the mail. I was wondering if you guys these same camera's or is your city in the talks of putting up camera's the same reason. Thanks for reading my post.

Athena Smith said...

To get the discussion going, let me ask the American students what experiences they can share on college education in the US. What you like, what you dislike, what has helped you and what obstacles you have faced, and most importantly, how you finance it.

Bryon Bewsher said...

Hello Blog,
well, to get it going on the schooling question by Dr. Smith, I attended college in 1991 for the first time. I was 18 and had little interest in doing well. It was at a community college so I was still living at home with my mother and working. It was not until two years later that I went away to culinary school in Atlantic City (where I grew up, I went back ) that I had a differant out look on what I heard college should be like. I was in a school that was teaching primarily what I liked to do, culinary atrs and I worked as well. I had student loans and one scholarship to pay for it. I graduated with a C average and went on to work in the field. at that point, I let the drinking and partying interfere with the study. I was doing A work, but missing classes. Them, two years ago, with my eyesight dwingling, I decided, with the Florida Division of Blind Services, to go back to school to be a teacher for either visual impairment children or special ed children. I was anxious to make up for the past. I am striving to do A work in all aspects . I think that is common no matter where you are inthe world. When you have a second chance at post secondary schooling, you do beter because it means more. My education is paid for by the Division of NBlind Services through grants. After Bachelors degree, I will have the option to stay in school and get a masters, depending on where my sight is and how it can be financed. I feel that I am learning about more than I bargained for woth the variety of classes that I am having to take. History, economics, math, english, spanish, so on and so on. I feel that I have a better rounded understanding of how many parts of the world operate on a daily basis, especially with this class.

Athena Smith said...

Bryon

Your story is a very good example of the decentralization of our educational system and the limitless opportunities one has to re-start college.

My thanks to the Division of NBlind Services for enabling you to attend my class! :)

Athena Smith said...

Chantele
I would like to see the minimum age go up.... way up....! :)))

yulia8na said...

As my boyfriend and I were picking out a place to eat lunch yesterday, it occurred to me that we have so many different cultures of food to choose from and all very close in range.Just on our street alone there are Chinese, Mexican, Japanese, Italian, and Thai restaurants. Plus so many fast food places. Is it the same in France? Are there many varieties of food to choose from as well?

We decided, since I have never tried to go to a restaurant with a hibachi grill. Our cook who grew up in Hawaii had made a point that restaurants like that have always succeeded in the United States because Americans constantly are in need of entertainment. And I agree with his comment. Americans to me are always in need to fit in and be the best, and constantly thrive on the media, particularly Hollywood.

I remember when traveling to Switzerland to visit my friends last year, their town did not have large corporate owned stores like the United States but rather small independently owned boutiques, stores, and restaurants. Only a common grocery store. This town did not have any varieties of cultural food at all. There were no Chinese restaurants, nor sushi bars, and especially no fast food joints. We would have had to drive an hour to the city for that. There were a few bakeries in this town and a meat market. It seemed like the town was helping each other in a way that they all specialized in something different to fit everyone’s needs. Is this also how it is in France?

Nicholas Kieper said...

My college experience so far has been kind of slow. I work full time in order to pay for the cost of school not covered by my student loans. Because of this, I have only been taking a few classes a semester. I have had fun in most of my classes. The class that I enjoyed most was definitely the ancient humanities class I took a few semesters ago. The professor was really passionate about the information he was teaching and this made the class much more interesting. I have not been so fond of the science classes that I have taken. During most of the science classes, it seemed that the teachers didn’t care as much about what they were teaching and some just read from the book directly. This made these classes kind of boring.
My biggest obstacle during my college career has been trying to find time to study while working forty hours a week, and trying to have somewhat of a personal life. It has included a lot of long nights, some all nighters, and study cram sections that lasted into the wee hours of the night. I am hoping to graduate this semester with an AA degree and then follow on to complete my RN degree within the next couple years.

Robert Smith said...

Hello everyone. This is my first semester in college and already I'm falling in love with it.I strongly believe by the end of my college career I will be a well rounded student and individual. With the requirements of taking certain classes not only will you master your degree you will also have basic knowledge of other subjects. I'm finacing myself through Federal pell grants and several other grants I qualified for. The only thing so far I dislike about college is the library. At my campus in Tampa the library printers are always down. If they are working you can't simply pay to use the printer but you have to go to the book store and get a I.D. card and activate it which takes 10 minutes. After you complete that you have to put money on the card to use the printer. If the printer is down, which is at least 3 days a week you have to go somewhere to use a printer and you still have money stuck on your card that you can't get back. Other than that I really enjoy college so far.

Bryon Bewsher said...

I found that my first atttempt at college wsaa financed through student loans. It took me a while to pay them off, but I did it through working my you know what off for ten years. I honestly did not plan on it being that hard once i graduated in 1994 and all of a sudden, six months later, had large loan bills to pay. be care ful if taking many student loans to get through school and realize that they will creep back and the interest keeps growing. I had a friend that was excited about going into video production school at the University of Tampa. I asked how he was going to finance his way through school since he, like me, is not wealthy. he saidd through loans. when I asked how much he will owe when he is done, he said 90 thousand dollars. I feel for him and tried to encourage him to take another route, but he did it anyway. Imagine that first bill?

Aaron said...

In regards to Athena’s questions about the educational experience in the United States: My college experience started back in 2000, just fresh out of high school and ready to conquer the world. I packed up my car with some cloths, my parents’ credit card and began the 24 -hour road cross trip to finally end up in my favorite state in the country, Florida.

Growing up as a kid I was very fortunate to be able to travel throughout the states; furthermore, the reason that I choose Florida for a place to live and go to school is the fact that as a child my parent had a vacation residence in Siesta Key, Florida. As a family we spent many weeks and vacations in this State. I fell in love with all that Florida had to offer, so I knew that it was here where I wanted to attend college.

After some research with my high school counselor and my parents support for the college expenses such as housing, books, tuition, we decided that St. Petersburg College in Clearwater, Florida was the perfect fit. St Petersburg College was converted from a community college (2 -Year College) into a state college (4- Year College) but remained your typical outdoor campus in Florida that it was small, affordable, and convenient.

It was a tough and strenuous journey, being young and living off-campus in my own apartment and having no supervision at all since my parents lived five states away. Obviously, there was too much parting and less studying. It took me a few downs to finally get backed up and figured out what I wanted out of my life, and who and what I wanted to become.

In 2005, after I knew I wanted to do something in the Architectural field, I did research and took a personality test at the college assisted me in determined my field of interests and the potential career fields that best suited me. Based on those results is that I decided to pursue an Interior Design degree.

With the help of counselors and my parents we found that the only school that offered a BFA (Bachelor of Fine Arts) in Interior Design at the Tampa Bay area was The International Academy of Design and Technology. This is a private accredited university that offered the program I wanted; however, it came with a price... Student loans. Compared to the SPC low college tuition, priced at less than one hundred dollars per credit hour, IADT tuition per credit hour was about three hundred. So for example the cost of a full-time semester at SPC was around one thousand dollars compared to over three thousand dollars at IADT.

Aaron said...

I graduated in 2009 with my BFA as Cum Laude (honor student) in the mist of the economic crisis with high student loans and no job opportunities available anywhere in my field. If I had to do it all over again, I would have chosen to stay at a public college that was affordable and paid for in the entirely by my parents and not having the stress today of repaying student loans when there is no paying jobs for what one invest in a bachelor’s degree.

The reason what I am in classes at HCC, is not to sacrifice my dreams or passion for becoming a designer, but to furthering my education opportunities and pursing other fields of interest while waiting for the economy to rebound.

Finally, I have some questions for our French friends: Is the college in Grenoble a 2-year or a 4-year college? Is your college subsidized by the government or it is a private institution? Do you have to pay for college or it is provided free by the government?

Joel Thomas said...

Overall I must say that my journey through college has been a very slow one that seems like it will never end. Most of my semesters I have taken at least four (12 credits) classes to remain at a "full time" level. I would have loved to have finished HCC within the two years that it is supposed to take, however working full along with going to school full time has made my visit at HCC longer than a two year period. College in the United States is said to be open for "everyone" however I know that there is no way this is possible because getting a "good" education now a days is at the very least 30,000 dollars, and in most cases it is double or even triple that amount. Yes, there are a lot of scholarships out there for grabs but there are also a lot of rules and obstacles to go through just to obtain one of them. The other option would be student loans and would I venture to say that I would probably be 50 years old before I paid off a student loan for a four year university. So yes I do like that anyone can go to college, however there is a great difference between being able to "go" to college and to actually being able to "afford" college. Luckily my grandparents left my sister and I money to put us through college, however I have a feeling that it will eventually run out with the way the school tuition and books prices are going.
In regards to help with college I have always looked to my parents and older sister's for help. Both of my sisters have gone through college and it helps a lot when I vent and they actually understand what I'm going through because they have as well.

Joel Thomas said...

Nicholas K.:
I feel your pain. My college experience too has been a slow process as well. I too am working full time and trying to manage taking classes full time. It is a lot to handle but hopefully one day it will pay off, that is what everyone says to me anyways.
I also agree with a lot of the professor's being "book happy" and pretty much teach straight from a book that someone else has written. A few of the classes that I have taken at HCC have been nothing but information from a book, or slide show presentations that were made by the books' author. I supposed with all the new technology available that education as just taken a different turn.

Ben Sigal said...

Wow! That is a lot of new comments! I love to see everyone's opinions and reactions on these topics. Aaron, your post on our culture and the truth of the American way of life was excellent. While there are sterotypes that fit the mold, there are definitely examples that break them as well. America, no matter which way you describe it or slice it, is a fantastic nation that may not always be the threads of our dreams but still offers the capacity to dream at least.

LaSandra, from my experience in France, and Europe as a whole, they are very accomodating to all religions. The issue becomes that Islam has represented a fanatisicm that has not been seen in the world since Hitler and the Third Reich. Not to say that it is true of all Islam and practicing Muslim's, but that such fears do spring up when you cannot find a way to quelch such passionate, deterministic mindsets such as those of Al-Qaeda, Hamas and Hezbollah. I do think that such a measure will come up in America and will pass if the ideals that are behind this radical movement cannot be swayed. Whether right or wrong, that is a whole other ethical arguement.

One last sidenote; I have had my drivers license since I was 16 and have been driving since I was 12. I have one speeding ticket (from trying to rush to an airport 4 hours away) and have never been involved in an at-fault accident. I think that it has little to do with age but completely to do with the responsibility and the capacity with which we endow our youth. Expect great things of them and prepare them for it and they will act accordingly. Tell them that they are too young or are not ready for certain ventures and watch as they try to prove you wrong, gracefully or fledgling.

Whew! With that said, now for this weeks questions. ;-D I have been in school on and off for 10 years now. I was involved with a Seminary (not sure what the french word for it would be but basically a school to learn about Christian theology) for two years. Upon finishing that, I married, had two children and have worked and moved all across the USA. About three years ago I started back with my educational pursuits. I went to a community college in Tennessee for a semester then went to a state university. After a semester of that, I found that until I am done with my AA, I will finish this portion of my education at a community college because I feel that it is a better deal for the price.

Speaking on prices and finances, my wife and I have both continued on our educational escapades by working full-time jobs, receiving pell grants and taking out small stafford loans. Though not cheap, we are both setup to go in fields that we adore and hopefully will do well in. Do what you love, right?

The school systems can be a trouble to navigate through sometimes, but as a whole, my wife and I have both thoroughly enjoyed our time back in college. If anything, some sort of mandated system so that all professors and curriculum could coordinate would be nice. But that is a small complaint. However, Professor Smith's class is amazing! :-)

All in all, I feel blessed to have lived the life I have and still have so many opportunities on a daily basis to try something new. Thank you everyone and adieu!

Goaldie1647 said...

I hear in France that there is universal or free health(yes they pay more taxes) and going to college is virtually free, is that true? As an American "free" anything seems to good to be true, but with recent political changes(new president) is it really an outlandish thought. I mean if European countries can thrive on this ideology why can't we, Americans? This is easier to go to college in France, as far as being accepted and paying for? And just a side note: I think that they legal drinking age should be 18 in America lol.

ivanflowers said...

I don’t have a lot of experience with the US college system but that’s because I just enrolled back in school after a 10 year break. However with the amount of experience that I have had, I can say that it’s not a smooth process getting back in; maybe it’s because I have been out for so long or maybe that’s just the way the system works. I had to turn in the same paperwork on a couple of occasions because I was told that is was not received. The wait for the simplest things; like getting a question that can be answered in two minutes, takes 2 to 3 hours. The costs of books are so high that it is difficult to get your books on time for a class if you’re not receiving financial aid. One obstacle that I faced was that my 2009 tax returns were used to determine if I would be receiving financial aid for the 2010 -2011 school year, which led to my financial aid being denied. The problem is that my salary was much higher then, than it is now. Because of this I have had to take out student loans to pay for my tuition. What I do like about the process is that everyone is so polite, it’s like the wait, the long lines and things falling through the cracks are expected so everyone just deals with it in a calm and collected manner. I also like that from day one you’re given a syllabus that tells you exactly what is expected of you throughout the semester. There are also many resources to help you with your coursework. Such as: being able to e-mail your professors if needed, teacher assistants if you need extra help as well as class labs. Overall the process of enrolling into college has been a difficult one however the experience I have had thus far has been a good one. I hope that over the next few years I will have gained a lot of experience and knowledge form US college system to complete my degree.

Bryon Bewsher said...

One other comment that I have about scooling. When I was in high school and my first run with classes in college (1987-1994) I did not have to log onto a computer to get into a class. I had to go to the campus, wait in line, talk to a counselor, register through that person and go to the claasses. Then, I had to go to the loibrary, study in the library(bacause some of the books could not leave) go to classes and talk to the teacher. Computers were emerging, but not in the force that they are in today. I had a tough time adapting to the new way of education through buying passcodes, emailing teachers instead of talking to them, and registering online hoping that I was was doing the right thing. This was not only for distance learning that is popular now, it was for every class. Distance learning was done throgh mail and no one did it. I am in the mix now and spend a majority of my time on the computer studying. Id this a good thing or bad? I can find information at a click of a button, but the idea of going out and finding things out on my own is vanishing? Any thoughts.

Athena Smith said...

Ben
You said "The issue becomes that Islam has represented a fanatisicm that has not been seen in the world since Hitler and the Third Reich"
Allow me to disagree.
We have seen that fanaticism in all sorts of terrorist organizations since then.
Here in the US, the KKK (they also acted on behalf of Protestantism).
In Europe with IRA (Northern Ireland) and ETA (Basques separatists). Both very Catholic. In Latin America, with the worst type of terrorism, which was state terrorism (the government assassinating its own citizens and resorting to baby harvesting in order to raise citizens with the 'right' ideology- google Argentina's dirty war for more details). All these Latin American governments were heavily Christian.

Why the Al Qaeda terrorism was dubbed "Islamic", thus staining one billion of Muslims?
It's the media. They started calling it "Islamic". And the rest of us fell for it.
Yes, they do have extremists in these countries.

But we also have a good number of these folks in our own backyard. However, we never seem to be mentioning their religion for some reason.

Athena Smith said...

Bryon
I also remember these days when writing a term paper would take me at least two months because of all the research that I had to do physically in the library.

Is it good or bad?

I think both. It has certainly sped things up but also it isolates us. On the other hand through a discussion board like this one or the one we have in our course (whatever happened to it? Turned dead all of the sudden!) we get exposed to opinions that many students would rather not share in class. I have found out that students talk and share more in a blog rather during a conversation in class.

Vee said...

My experience with the college education in the United States has been great so far. Especially at a community college where there are not so many people crammed into one room. I do feel like I am succeeding and getting the academic attention I need and we all deserve. Something that I happen to dislike about college education in the United States is the transferring. I am in my last semester here at HCC and will soon be transferring to who knows where. I have found that this is the hardest part of my college career so far. Different schools require different things, and they all want you to jump through hoops. The option of online course has helped me tremendously in my college career, because of the flexibility of my schedule. I feel sorry for my parents they must have struggled because they never had this option. I finance my college classes through a "savings" that was started when I was born. I will also soon be receiving a few scholarships (hopefully). I am enjoying my college education very much and I hope to be done very soon. Although there are faults in our education there are also faults everywhere else. Nothing can become great without first being bad.

Vee said...

In regards to Goaldie, it got me thinking… What is the health care system like? Do you guys have insurance and choose which doctor you go to and stuff or is it like a free for all type thing? And if you do have insurance do you pay co-pay for a regular doctor visit, if so how much?

Isaiah Merritt-Harris said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brandon said...

To the question from Mrs. Smith, "To get the discussion going, let me ask the American students what experiences they can share on college education in the US. What you like, what you dislike, what has helped you and what obstacles you have faced, and most importantly, how you finance it."

My experience with college education in America is that it's over-priced and it's a bureaucratic nightmare. It takes forever to fill out all the forms that need to be done and sign up for the things you need. You have to be completely on top of things if you want to finish on time.
I have been to a private college and two community colleges. The private school was extremely over-priced and the classes were very challenging. I did, however, gain from there much of what I use in my academics today. A funny story is that I turned in the same English paper to the private college and the community college. The private school professor gave me a D+ and the community college professor gave me an A+. This just shows how subjective academia is.

What I like about college education in America is that with enough money and determination you can go about anywhere. There are so many grants and loans out there that the only thing holding you back is you. The thing I don't like about college education in America is that bureaucracy of it all. The in-state and out-of-state tuition rules upset me. I pay for college through grants. Part of the reason I got married young was so that I could go through school for free.

Isaiah Merritt-Harris said...

My college education experience has been a bit rough since the beginning, partially because of the obligations to finance my education without help from my parents. I rely on loans and employment to pay for my college expenses...and it is very difficult to do it on your own. Many countries finance education for all citizens who want it. Sure people pay higher taxes, however to me, it is worth it to invest in the future. Overall, the college experience in the US is ok, however, I feel that the advisors to our seperate programs do not fully disclose specifically what professional schools require as far as grades, volunteering, and specific guides to writing personal statements and other things that would make gaining acceptance to these programs a breeze. I feel that universities should have mandatory advising appointment each semester for every student to make sure they are on the right track to accomplishing their career goals. For example, a person aspiring to become a physician should have advising appointments every semester geared towards accomplishing that goal. Not every student knows the correct steps to take to continue their education after undergrad, and universities should cater to that fact so that we are not jobless after obtaining our degrees. The learning structure is fine, although some classes are held in large auditoriums with 300+ people. As long as the instructor is committed to serving the student, the course content is easy. How is the educational system set up in France?

Isaiah Merritt-Harris said...

Bryon
I also remember these days when writing a term paper would take me at least two months because of all the research that I had to do physically in the library.


---To comment on this post, I am grateful for the internet because it makes it easier to research and develop a term paper. Although researching at the library is one way to do it, the internet has a vast number of resources, journals, and articles on any subject you can think of. The internet has helped my studies tremendously!

chantal said...

Hello Everyone!

I have to say me educational experience here in the U.S. has its ups and downs. Overall, I love what I do and am glad I can further my education with online courses because I have a family and full-time job. It can be demanding though at times to get through all of the homework nightly after having already worked for 8 hours. But i appreciate my family for stepping in to cook or clean when I'm too busy. My husband and children have been great throughout the process.
The downside is the costs and time it takes to actually get your degree.I have been doing my prerequisites for what seems like forever(almost 3 years). Then I still have to apply of rthe program I want after I am finished, so it is definitely a task. The costs is pretty ridiculous and financial aid isn't very much anymore, so outside of the federal grant I have to take up loans to cover the rest. I don't look forward to having to deal with that after school is over either. But it could bw worse so I am thankful for what we do have here.

shoegirl1010 said...

I have two separate experiences of college. My first experience was right after high school. I received a scholarship so it was free for my parents to send me to college.Everything was free: tuition, room & board, meals and books. I even had a monthly stipend for my personal use. I went to school in upstate NY about 6 hours away from my home. I loved my first experience even though I must say that studying was not my first priority. My mother was pretty strict growing up, so I loved the freedom that going away to school allowed me. I partied a lot and learned to be a bit independent. I studied electrical engineering for about three years. During my final year, I got pregnant. My boyfriend and I decided to get married. He entered the military and I put my education on hold in order to start my family. The timing was never right to go back to school until my boys were old enough. This time around the experience is a little different. Time was my biggest obstacle. My children are now 14 years old, I work full time and take about 3-4 classes a term. My employer just started paying for classes but they only cover 2 classes a term. Because my husband and I make "too much money", I do do not qualify for financial aid. I am 35 years old and really do not want to want to be paying off student loans until I am 50 so I refuse to take any. Before this year, I have had to pay for all my classes and books. I also must add that because I pay for classes, I am a little more dedicated to school and my grades reflect it. Because my husband is in the military I am entitled to some of his GI bill, which would help out significantly when I go to USF next year. I love the educational opportunities that I have in this country however, I think that education is too expensive. I am not sure if I necessarily agree with it being completely free but I think that lower tuition will allow more people to attend college. The college I originally attended was a private school which cost $27,000 a year and that was back in 1992. The school tuition is now a whopping $33,000 a year-more than some parents annual income. I am excited about my boys going to college in 4 years, but at the same time paying for double tuition(since they are twins) is something that I am not looking forward to. I am praying for some type of scholarships :-D

Athena Smith said...

Isaiah Merritt-Harris

Very good points!

Anthony said...

To answer Ms. Smiths question. I have to say my biggest like about college is the freedom you have in choosing your classes. You do of course have to take a certain set of core classes (though they may have slight variations depending on your major) But outside of those core classes you can pretty much pick whatever you want to study. You’re supposed to take classes to work towards your degree but I’ve actually taken a few extra history classes than necessary because I tend to enjoy studying history. So I like how college offers you more freedom in terms of what you study and when. There is nothing in particular I dislike about college really except for maybe how expensive the schoolbooks can be. I would say the biggest obstacle I’ve faced since I’ve been in college is getting all the work done in time. Usually at the start of the semester, I don’t get on it as much as I should and sometimes find myself rushing to get it all taken care of in time. But that usually is a wakeup call to me and I tend to get my work habits in order after that. I currently finance school through financial aid. Though I am trying to get my grade point average up to a higher number so I can start applying for scholar ships and hopefully have less money to pay back on when I do graduate.

Anthony said...

In response to something, Vee said. Online classes really can be great. I try to take them when I can because I find it easier since I can work on them all the time whenever I find myself with a free moment. Not to mention its one less class I have to drive to school for and that can save on gas money and wear to your car.

YARY'S BLOG said...

Hello! Every one….
I haven’t has the pleasure to be in your country but one the things that I always admire is the love for the arts and history. I love art, specially the museums and the music including opera, ballet and theater. France has a magnificent history about music and movies. Greatest artist and movie directors are French also how many American movies has been film in France? ...too many. I am originally from Puerto Rico, Small Island on the Caribbean. One of the family aspects that we have also compared to European is the family values. Our families are very important and our priority. Most of the Hispanic families believe that the more children you have the better and when you get older they will take care of you. Some Hispanic families do not believe on nursing homes or take you to a place when you get older and left you there with a stranger. In my case my grandparents had and raced 14 kids that you can imagine how big is my family. In the other here in USA the families values are different Americans believe in independence and freedom. That’s why I love to live here. I love food and wines been that the best wines are from France. I cannot wait to visit the wineries and small shops in the country areas. I watched the food channel a lot and I loved when they go out to the country areas to cook and drink fresh wine. After my French class I learned that French people are conservatives, do not trust people easily and very open mind? It’s that true? I have work as a translator for a hospital and the French speaker they were really nice and social. In my opinion I think it depend on the traditions, age and family. I really want to make friend and travel to your great country….

yary said...

In reply I think college experience it’s hard but anything that you want in life it’s not easy. Thing that come easy, easy they go away. I think it’s better to work hard and one day look back and see the hard work and the money paid off in a better future for your personal and family live. For me has not been easy. I was in the military for ten years and now I am back to school. One day I will accomplish my goal of become a Chemist and go to Pharmacy School and open own business and help people to get better. Remember some people sit wanting something and other get up and start working to achieve what they want. What kind of people you are?...because I am the getting up one.

yary said...

In reply I think college experience it’s hard but anything that you want in life it’s not easy. Thing that come easy, easy they go away. I think it’s better to work hard and one day look back and see the hard work and the money paid off in a better future for your personal and family live. For me has not been easy. I was in the military for ten years and now I am back to school. One day I will accomplish my goal of become a Chemist and go to Pharmacy School and open own business and help people to get better. Remember some people sit wanting something and other get up and start working to achieve what they want. What kind of people you are?...because I am the getting up one.

Goran said...

Hi everyone!!

i think all the world live with the American rythm. The United States are a source of inspiration for rest of the world.
Everyone dreams and needs a big house in a large city like NY or LA, a yatch, maybee a plane but many people dont know how many would work but they haven' t got any jobs, they have never seen all the people in New Orleans who was lost there houses with Cahterina and live now in the street after all years long for exemple...
Hollywood makes very good movies but it's not true for all.
I don't think all American people have to much money and in France is same.
Now,I'm going to work if I want to realise my American dream.....
See you later

François said...

In response to Goaldie1647 questions, we pay a private healthcare insurance in average 50 euros per month.
As to college, the average fee is 250 euros and I you don't have much money, 40 euros or so.

François said...

And I recall someone saying that he heard French girls do not shave. Actually they wax/epilate more than they shave. Just a question of terminoly maybe!

François said...

To respond to Jayme's questions :

Average size of a house :

4 bedrooms : 120 square meters.

We do have big shops, malls...

Religion is less important than it used to be. People go less to Church.

François said...

To respond to Yary :

"After my French class I learned that French people are conservatives, do not trust people easily and very open mind? It’s that true? "

It's like everywhere. It depends on the person you talk to. We trust people and we get to know that very same person. We are open-minded I hope so !

Ben Sigal said...

Professor Smith;

I understand your point made concerning the focus of Westerners to view such organizations as Al-Qaeda as first Islamic, then whatever else follows. However, my comment was meant to speak of their fanaticism not in religious tones, but as the same fear and trepidation that was felt in the world during WW2 towards NAZI Germany. There was very little understanding at that time that separated the average person's understanding of a German and a Nazi.

Today we live in a world that does not understand the difference between a Muslim and a terrorist. While it is easy for me to fall back on my own prejudices and the media reviews of current events, I refuse to believe that every Muslim is without compassion and every follower of Mohammed is without love. Thank you!

Athena Smith said...

Ben
Thank you for the clarification.

Denis said...

Hi everyone,

First of all, I want to clarify the point of the religion in France. Compared to you, we go less to church and I think that many people don't believe in God.
Then, we don't have many video cameras in Grenoble which could allowed police to catch runaways. It could be a good point to help the police in his work but I think it's very expensive to install video cameras in many streets.

Well, since the 11th September, many people think that many Muslims are terrorists. It's wrong and we have to clarify it. It's just a group of extremist and fanatic Islamics named Al-Qaeda, which catch people and do bomb attacks. For example, last week, Al-Qaeda caught some French in Niger.

I hope to see you soon on the blog !

Morgan said...

Hi! I'll try to answer any questions or statements you may have.

No we don't drink wine with every meal, we drink wine only for business lunch or specials dinners.

A friend who went to the United States told me that you drive slowly and that you take your time genereally speaking comparared to French.

We have a great history.

What you can see in Paris in terms of behaviour is specific to Parisians, this does not represent the rest of France.

I do not know if the French language is 'love' than English.

Good bye friends !

Bryon Bewsher said...

Hey everyone on Blog-
Our Tampa Bay Rays baseball team is iin the playoffs for just the second time in their history (short history that it is). What are the sports schedules like in france. Are there sports year round or do you watch a lot of American sports?

Bryon Bewsher said...

Professor Smith,
What is the question for this blog session?

Athena Smith said...

You are looking at the wrong post. Go the new one that was uploaded late Sunday night titled "Blog 3: State-funded programs in both countries."
When you log on at http://stayinginschool.blogspot.com, it's right in front of you!

I believe you are entering the blog trough a link that leads you directly to the post "Hello Grenoble and Tampa." Follow the URL I just gave you!

François said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
François said...

And we don't watch much American sports (American football and Baseball).

On French TV, it is mainly soccer.

François said...

Bryon Bewsher :

In terms of number of members, the 3 main sports in France are : football, tennis and horse-riding .

And also : rugby, judo, basket-ball, swimming, golf, handball, athletics, table tennis...

ivanflowers said...

There are many different aspects of social protection in the United States. I think social security and the pension program are both good ideas that have both good and bad aspects to them. The social Security program gives our elderly one type of financial security during retirement; it is also given to individuals with certain disabilities. My grandfather gets social security and a pension, while it does help it is not enough to survive on, in his case. The system or idea of the social security and pension program is not perfect but is better than nothing. I don’t think they are too generous, although some people tend to abuse the system. There could be better policing of the system by the government to prevent individuals form abusing the system and to make sure the people that do need the benefit get’s it. I think the welfare system works, but also needs to be revamped so it is not abused as much. If there are less people on welfare there would be more help available for the people that needed it. I also think that the public school system needs to be upgraded. Kids are not held to high standards anymore, and when I say that mean in every aspect of the public school system. We should start with the basics; if you are attending school then you are required to show up with more than a couple sheets of paper and a pencil. A lot of kids nowadays days don’t bother bringing a book bag to school. How can we say that we want our kids to succeed if they are not even required to be prepared; this is just a small example of how negligent the system has become.

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