I hope you all have gotten it the swing of school this semester. I feel that after a month as an ERAU student at EPF, I finally have. In the past two weeks, I have had all of my classes at least once, joined school sports, taken dance lessons, and gone to the movies. With little to no homework, I have been keeping busy doing fun social activities and mingling with my French peers. It’s a pretty sweet life if I do say so myself.
Probably the most interesting difference between classes at EPF and ERAU is that EPF seems to prefer a theoretical, rather than an applied, approach to teaching. For example, at EPF I have two hour long lectures, known as CM, which deal purely with proofs and mathematics. Each day I see all those strange symbols, like ∝ for proportionality, plus many more. At ERAU, while we do see these symbols, it doesn’t matter as much if we can read the symbols one by one, it is more important to understand what the proof means and how to apply it. Now granted, it could be the way that my brain works, but the application of theory to examples is where I truly understand a concept. While EPF has classes, TD and TP, which are exercises and labs, respectively, they occur sporadically and are not nearly as common as at Riddle where examples are done in class, given in class, and shown in text books.
My two favorite classes are probably Fluids and Space Mechanics. Professor Lisa Davids, queen of fluids at the Daytona Campus, would be so proud. (If you ever have the opportunity to take any of her classes, I highly recommend it. She is a really good professor with a lot of passion. Her classes are interesting, challenging, and fun.)
I think that I enjoy Fluids because it is semi-redundant for me. Following a typical four year plan at ERAU means that students generally take Fluid Dynamics during their sophomore year. At EPF, Mécanique des Fluides is a third year course. This means that while I have not taken all of the course material before, I am at least familiar with most of it. For me, Fluids is both interesting and fun.
The other class that I enjoy is Space Mech, or as it is called in French, Introduction à la Mécanique Spatiale. This is the class I mentioned previously where I am the only student. On one hand, having a one-on-one lesson with the professor is nice because it means that it progresses at my personal pace. If I have trouble understanding a concept, the professor will explain the subject in a different way. It also means that I get to mix theory with exercises, making it more like a class at Riddle. On the other hand, having a small class means that it can be difficult to find an empty room for lessons, since larger classes have priority. Just this past week, there was a scheduling conflict for a classroom and I ended up learning in the top floor, a converted attic, of one of the administration buildings. My favorite part about this class, though, is that it is about space! The very first session, had to do with Kepler’s Laws, which are about the motion of planets. While I have learned Kepler’s Laws before in high school, they are much more interesting now because I am able to study them at a college level.
EPF, like ERAU, has many school associations. L’Union de la Vie Associative, or UVA, is a student board that oversees each organization and connects the student clubs to the administration of EPF. Some of the more popular societies are Beach Please, which is in charge of student life including celebrations, activities, or parties, or the BDS (Bureau des Sports) which organizes intramural athletics such as volleyball, soccer, swimming, cheerleading, personal fitness, rock climbing, rugby, tennis, horseback riding, judo, boxing, badminton, etc. The first time I heard someone say the name of Beach Please, I was pretty confused. When the French say beach with their accents, it sounds like a different word with a completely different meaning. It took a bit, but eventually I realized that Beach Please was the name of an organization, not a French person using an American colloquialism.
Out of all of the sports offered by BDS, volleyball is one of the more popular ones. Volleyball occurs on Tuesday evenings and on Thursday afternoons, if you are a part of the school team. The first time I tried to go to volleyball, I got lost because the gym is on a different campus. I ended up stumbling around in the dark on the school grounds and lost in a labyrinth of halls until I heard the sound of balls bouncing on gym floors. Eventually though, I found everyone. Volleyball is pretty fun because it is not too competitive. If someone has a terrible serve, people don’t mind letting them serve again. It is less about winning and more about enjoyment.
Another school club that is under UVA is BDA, Bureau des Arts. The BDA offers lessons and outings from various cultures. Each year there are usually visual art and dance lessons, such as salsa, hip hop, and old school rock. The past two classes I attended were about hip hop dancing. We learned about popping and locking, body waves turns, and stalls. Popping and locking is when joints of the body are moved sharply to the beat of music. Body waves are when different parts of the body are undulated. Stalls occur when a person holds their body off the floor using just a certain part of the body, like an arm or head. Obviously, since I am a total noob (can you use that term for newbie dancers?), I had to look up all of these terms to make sure that I was using them properly.
This past weekend, I went to the MK2 Bibliothèque cinema with friends to see the film Prisoners with Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal. I don’t want to give any spoilers about the movie for those of you who have not seen it yet, but I will say that the movie is pretty intense and messed with my mind. It is not for the faint-hearted and definitely deserves the R rating. For me, since I scare easily, it is the type of movie I would watch again with friends, decidedly not by myself. I liked the movie theater though. The MK2 that we went to had an American store, which had a whole bunch of foods from the US, such as candy, cereals, and beef jerky. I bought three packs of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups to share with my friends since they had never tasted them before. Peanut butter is more of an American taste than a European one.
That’s all for this entry. As always, thank you for reading.