American University vs. French University

Hello dear readers!

Sorry I’ve been MIA for the last couple of weeks. Contrary to what you may think of study abroad, I am not on a four-month vacation. I take classes at the IES program center and also at the local university here in Nantes.

At the IES center, I am taking classes of art history, religion, and French language. The professors come from the University of Nantes and are used to teaching American students. They understand a little bit of how universites work in the United States and, more importantly, that we Americans are learning French and can not be expected to rattle off lengthy, well-thought out answers on the spot. All of the classes at IES consist of one mid-term, one at-home assignment and one final exam.

My classes at the University of Nantes are very similiar, except that I do not have mid-terms and both of my professors are not used to dealing with American students. My two university classes, psychology and biology, are difficult but enjoyable. Yes, enjoyable. There is something humbling and satisfying about the experience. For starters, both of the courses are what we in the U.S. call “upper-level” courses. My psychology class is for students in L3, the last year of undergraduate in France, while my biology course is for L2, or second year, students. In both of the courses I am the only American student. This has been tough at times but also extremely rewarding. I understand most of the material just as well as the other students and have improved greatly in my listening skills. The real test will of my knowledge will come during the finals, which are in a little less than a month.

Luckily, I was able to take a little pause from all my school work during our winter break which was last week. I went to Rome, Milan, and Paris for Fashion Week. Check back soon for details!

Until next time,


Published by Rachael Kabagabu

Hi everyone! My name is Rachael Kabagabu. I am a junior studying secondary education with a major in French and minor in biology. I am currently involved in Nykerk, Hope College Student Ambassadors, WTHS (Hope radio station), and the Kappa Beta Phi Sorority. My previous activities include Orientation, leading a spring break immersion trip, the Black Student Union, and orchestra. Feel free to message me if you have any questions. Go Hope!

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