Saturday, January 21, 2017

University Classes - Ecole d'ingénieurs de PURPAN

Ecole d'ingénieurs de PURPAN

Address of University: 75 voie du TOEC, 31076
Address of my House: 54 Rue des Fontaines, 31300 Toulouse

University Classes Info - Found Below
First, an update on my daily life here in Toulouse. 
This past weekend (Janaury 14-15, 2017), I went to the Pyrenees in Andorra to ski for the very first time! For some reason, Thomas (the guy teaching the beginners how to ski) thought it would be a good idea to start us on the 2nd to hardest level (there was 4 levels of difficulty). So I spent 1 hour trying to get down to the bottom of the course. Needless to say, I was bruised all over my body from falling over and over again, but after I tried some of the beginner courses afterwards I finally learned how to turn and slow down a little... 

I also tried for the first time "fondue bourguignonne". Super delicious!

While we were there, there was a  gigantic blizzard and the route back home was blocked off. This was a problem because, if I understood correctly, our bus driver was going to come back to get us from this route. So, we were stuck in Andorra for awhile until we finally found a bus and a driver who would drive us through Spain to get back to France. We arrived back in Toulouse around 2:20 am. Those roads were SKEEETTTCCCHHHY.
This week (January 16-20, 2017) was super laid back, I didn't have any classes due to a hiccup in my schedule, but it's been worked out since then. I explain more in the section below. :)

Has anything interesting been happening back home? What's new?

University Classes:
1) System 
     - Basically, it's nothing like a semester at Purdue or any colleges that I know of in America. You must take 5 years of classes to obtain your diploma at PURPAN. The diploma is considered an equivalent to a bachelors and a master's degree in the USA. At PURPAN, courses can last a couple days (extremely low credit courses), a couple weeks (low credit courses) or for most of the semester (medium/high credit courses). 2 European credits (ects) equals 1 American credit. Extremely low credit courses can range from 0.5 - 1.0 ects and medium/high credit courses can range from 3 - 6 ects.  
     - Attendance to class is mandatory and and showing up late is frowned upon. If you are late you have to talk to the "responsable d'année" to explain why you were late. This person acts as a student adviser for the entire grade/year. Classes normally last an hour and 45 minutes and you can have up to 4 classes per day.
2) My experience so far 
     - Personally, I think the classes are way too long. Especially when you can have 4 of these classes every day for the week. They give you a lot of information in a short amount of time, so make sure to listen in class and sit near the front so you can hear. 
     - IMPORTANT INFO. Make sure your schedule is nearly completed before coming to PURPAN. They don't schedule classes here like they do back home. All the classes are already preset for each year for all the "Purpanais" (PURPAN students). This means crisscrossing classes from different years is nearly impossible. There are way to many overlapping of class times to be able to make a schedule with some classes from the 2nd, 3rd and 4th year. Pick just one year that you like and stick to it. You may be able to add one or two classes from different years if you can find a way to fit it into your schedule... if you're lucky. Another aspect to be aware of is that classes aren't scheduled until a week or two before the semester begins. So, you won't know when and where your classes take place until you arrive.... oh, I forgot to mention... the classes can change times from week to week based on professors leaving or due to other unforeseen happenstances. For me, this grinds my gears because I like having set times for classes and making a schedule for the semester. 
     - When I arrived, my schedule was a mix of classes from all the years. They told me that it would be difficult to make it work, but in my head all I saw was a challenge waiting to be conquered... it ended up being a really bad idea haha. I've just recently up heaved my old schedule and created a new one based around classes in the 4th year. It's more clean,  streamlined and I'm no longer sweating beads whenever I look at my schedule. At least for the moment. :)
3) Exams 
     - They aren't really different from Purdue's exams, but it really depends on the type of questions (multiple choice, short answer, etc), the professor and the course content. Exams are graded out of 20 points. Anything above 9.5 is passing for international students and anything over 11 is passing for French students. I'm also told that getting a 19 or 20 on an exam is nearly impossible. High scores for exams range around 14-17. Receiving a score in this range basically means that you earned an "A". For me, I'll be taking everything Pass/Fail (aka any score of 9.5+ will earn me the credits) soooo... no worries :)... I hope 
     - For international students, they allow you to use a simple French-English dictionary during the test. You can use it to look up words that you don't understand... or tear apart because the test is in a different language haha.


  1. Nice post Ben and thanks for the update (and not letting us know about the blizzard until now---we would have been sweating bullets ourselves with worry!! Glad you are getting your classes worked out--it sounds confusing because it is so different but how reassuring that they are willing to work with you to create something that works for everyone. Little Ann had surgery on Monday to remove the 'cyst' from her chest. She has a cut about five inches long! But despite that she is back to her normal, needy, lovable self. She has to wear a t-shirt all the time so she can't scratch and lick herself (for some reason, that sounds kinda weird). I found an old wife beater from your closet that fits her nice (LOL). She is scheduled to have the stitches removed on Thursday. Please say a prayer that the cyst doesn't return as Dad doesn't want to unbuckle for another $700 for a 12 year old dog ever again :( Other than that, everything is great here! Joseph and Dad are at the Northridge Science Olympiad competition helping judge events. Look forward to your next post! Love you loads!

  2. Hi Ben! Dad and I were just visiting here with you again and noticed that it looks like blood on your forehead in the first ski didn't hurt yourself again did you?????

    1. It's apart of the design on the visor. Don't worrying

    2. of course, silly me! Thank you! xoxo

  3. Cher Ben,
    Je suis très heureuse d'apprendre que ton expérience en France se passe pour le mieux pour toi. J'espère que tu n'as pas eu trop de mal à suivre les cours. Je sais que nous avons tendance à parler très vite, sans prendre en compte qu'il y a parfois des personnes qui ne comprennent pas tout! Mais vous faites pareil aux Etats-Unis ;)!
    Dans tous les cas, je te souhaite beaucoup de réussite dans tes futures années et je suis contente d'avoir eu de tes nouvelles.
    A bientôt,
    Chloé Pedelabat-Lartigau, your former French teacher :)

    1. Merci Chloé. Et oui, tout le monde parle très vite à mon avis, mais j’arrive à comprendre de plus en plus tous les jours. Pour le moment, il faut continuer à améliorer mon accent. Apparemment, c’est incompréhensible de temps en temps haha. Mais bon, ça roule. As-tu des suggestions afin d’améliorer mon accent ?