Saturday, March 4, 2017

University Life/Students - Ecole d'ingénieurs de PURPAN

Ecole d'ingénieurs de PURPAN
University: 75 voie du TOEC, 31076
House: 54 Rue des Fontaines, 31300 Toulouse
Google Maps: Université, Moi, Place Saint-Pierre, Centre-Ville

University Life and Students. I figure this blog will be most important for anybody thinking about coming to Purpan to study and is unsure what their life outside of studying would be like. For me, there's no question that Purpan is a lot of fun, but you need to be a social butterfly. It's been 2 months since I've arrived and I've meet A LOT of great people and new friends. But, I still haven't made any close friends. Of course, these things take time. Until then, keep grinding, studying and never... NEVER stop meeting new people. :)

University Life: 
1) Sports, Various Activities 
     - Soccer, Rugby, Volleyball, Tennis, Skiing, Dancing, Wine Tasting, Beer Brewing, Apiculture and more. I haven't had any club turn me down so far so get out there and try something new!

Vinothéque (Wine Club)

Club Danse (Dance Club)

2) University Galas/Parties (Les Chouilles) 
     -These are fun and you must go! These are parties held at the university. If you want more info, you'll have to experience it yourself ;)

Gala 2017 - Casino Royale

3) General attitude/atmosphere
     - Imagine you left Purdue and arrived at a university where everyone speaks a different language, is 40 times smaller and is just as welcoming as Purdue. Every student I've meet so far has been kind and welcoming. Because the university is so small, everybody knows each other and everybody knows the most recent gossip that is floating around. Think high school, but with young adults... aka it's a mess haha. I will say it's refreshing to see the same people every day. As you may know, you rarely see the same people every day while walking around on campus or eating lunch as a student at Purdue. Also, there is a strong sense of unity between the years, "promotions" (in French), and they love planning events and other activities together.
     - Taking classes in another language can be challenging at times. You have a vague idea of what is expected of you, but when all the French students start to do something and you have no idea what you're doing because you only understood 50% of what the teacher what talking about... you have to improvise. I advise that you always sit next to a French student. Many are very helpful and can help guide you when you are lost. There's no competition between the students to earn the highest grade so if you have a question makes sure to ask. Even if the question may seem stupid.

University Students:
1) Why are they here? 
     - The degree earned from Purpan covers agriculture and agronomy in general. This degree opens up for them a variety of options after they graduate because they can begin working in any field and have a general background and knowledge of it. This is the opposite end of the spectrum when compared to the system in the states. I'll use myself for example. I study entomology at Purdue. After I've earned my degree, I'll be considered an "expert" within the field of entomology. The students at Purpan have taken one course pertaining to entomology, but that is all. They are more knowledgeable than your average Joe, but nowhere near being an expert in entomology. One thing they do teach students at Purpan is adaptability.  They've learned this from the many courses and projects they've finished over the gigantic field of agriculture and the multiple international internships they are required to do and write about before earning their degrees. Purdue doesn't require study abroad, but Purdue strongly recommends it and offers a $3,000 dollar scholarship to every student that studies for a semester abroad, $2,000 for any program more than a couple weeks and $1000 for the 1-2 week programs.

2) International Students
     -Students come from all over the world to study in France. Purpan isn't a large university compared to most back home, approximately 1,000 students, but it is considered large compared to many universities in France. There are somewhere between 20-30 international students studying at Purpan right now and they hail from all over the world including America, Mexico, Argentina, Poland, Germany, China, Brazil and more. You don't have to worry about making friends while you're here because all these people are in the same boat as you. They don't know anyone here, aren't familiar with their surroundings or the city and many don't speak or are learning French. Every one of these students has an interesting story and everybody, for the most part, is open minded and nonjudgmental. Plus, most if not all, speak some English!

3) L'apéro and Chez Tonton/Saint-Pierre
     - I don't know if I'm required to say this, but drink responsibly and don't do anything "sober you" wouldn't do. Ok, now with that being said, if you want to integrate into the French culture and make some great memories while doing so, then you are going to go to Saint Pierre. "Place Saint-Pierre" is basically the Chauncey of Purdue in Toulouse. You'll find bars and clubs nearby along with plenty of spots to have a late night snack. The one place the Purpanais (Purpan students) will insist you go to is Chez Tonton. This bar is super small, loud, crowded, filled with Purpanais and is a lot of fun! You'll learn quickly while you're here that the French have a different perspective on personal space. Aka, there's no such thing. You'll notice every time you buy a drink you've actually bought half of a drink because once you've turn around, you've been smacked by a wave of people and you've just spilled most of it. 
*Note: Beware of loud places!!! I have a personal vendetta against loud bars or clubs because nobody will understand your French here, unless you're a native speaker. So instead of practicing your French, practice your skills on the dance floor. Everybody loves a foreigner "busting a move".

     - L'apéro is the French equivalent to the pre-party. Basically, a few or a lot of people gather in someone's apartment around 6:00 - 11:30 pm to socialize and save some money before going to the bars. I've found these to be great times to practice French and learn local phrases, expressions, make friends and ask questions. 6:00 - 11:30 pm may seem like a ridiculously long time for a pre-party, but you aren't expected to arrive on time. Come when you're ready. Personally, I like to wait until after I've eaten dinner and go around 9:00 or 10:00 pm. 

Any ideas for travelling later in the semester? I've already been to Paris, Bordeaux, Munchen, Rome, Venice, Turin, Milan, Viterbo, Barcelona, Andorra, the Pyrenees.