Subject : Les etudiants americains a l'etranger
Bonjour a tous,
Sur les sites de USAtoday et de Understanding America j'ai vu que les Etats-Unis attirent beaucoup d'etudiants etrangers, mais il n'y a pas grand chose sur les etudiants americains qui vont etudier a l'etranger. Le site de USAToday mentionne que le Royaume-Uni est la principale destination des etudiants americains qui vont faire une partie de leurs etudes a l'etranger. Doit-on en deduire que le but de ces voyages n'est pas linguistique (puisque c'est la meme langue)? Qu'est-ce qui peut motiver les etudiants ameriacains a aller faire leurs etudes a l'etranger?
Est-ce que les universites americaines poussent les etudiants a voyager et a effectuer une partie de leurs etudes dans un autre pays comme l'INT le fait ? Ici nous devons faire au moins 10 semaines de stage dans un autre pays et les sejours d'un semestre ou plus dans une universite etrangere sont vivement conseilles. Nous avons en outre l'obligation d'etudier au moins deux langues etrangeres dont l'anglais durant nos trois annees d'etude a l'INT et d'obtenir le TOEFL pour etre diplomes. Quels sont les exigences du MIT en matiere de langues etrangeres ?
Merci d'avance pour vos (nombreuses) reponses...
la parité homme femme
je reste persuadé que le simple fait de mettre une pression politique suffisante sur les divers partis politiques aurait suffi pour ouvrir les portes de l'hémicycle aux femmes. La loi se doit d'être cohérente et s'il y a bien un texte ou chaque mot doit être pesé c'est bien la constitution. Or introduire la distinction de sexe dans le statut de citoyen reste une porte ouverte dangereuse car cela donne un précedent... Or cette erreur fut faite (sans consentement de la population d'ailleurs alors que toute modification de la constitution entraine obligatoirement une sanction au suffrage universel). Soyons clairs : cette réécriture de la constitution fut faite dans une bonne optique. Cependant la méthode me gene car de deux choses l'une : ou bien on vit en démocratie et donc on joue dans les regles, ou bien on laisse quelques personnes choisir a notre place. Il ne faut pas se leurrer même si en théorie c'est la première option qui est retenue, il faut bien dire que c'est la seconde qui est en pratique appliquée. Cela n'est pas forcement un mal d'ailleurs. Mais il faut être d'autant plus vigilant... Note pour les américains : je me suis vraiment retenu de ne pas finir sur une citation d'un de nos brillant romanciers. Comme quoi même si nous sommes des amoureux de notre langue on sait se corriger...
Hi dear MIT students! Sur le site de USA Today on a observé qu'un pourcentage assez élevé d'hommes adultes habitent encore à la maison par rapport à un pourcentage moindre de femmes. 20% des hommes entre 24 et 29, 8% des femmes entre 25 et 29 ans. Cela me paraît un peu contradictoire avec le fait que les Américains veulent être indépendants assez rapidement, qu'ils veulent montrer qu'ils n'ont pas besoin de leurs parents tout le temps. Est-ce que cela reflète la réalité, ce que vous pouvez observer chez vos amis? A bientôt. Maud
salut tout le monde! j'aimerais réagir a propos d'un sondage paru dans US TODAY sur les boissons: il y est écrit que les américains ne boivent pas assez d'eau avec pour raisons 12 % prefèrent d'autres boissons. Est-ce le lait, des sodas que vous buvez? 13 % parce qu'ils n'aiment pas le gout de l'eau. Chez nous, la caractéristique de l'eau est de ne pas avoir de gout! Ou alors est-ce parce que vous buvez de l'eau du robinet. En France, en ville ou l'eau a le gout de chlore, on boit de l'eau en bouteille. 21 % parce qu'ils n'ont pas le temps!!! Alors là je ne vois pas...
PS pour Guillaume: Le vocabulaire me parait un peu trop précieux pour des étudiant étrangers
a bientôt, Sophie
Hello INT Students:
I enjoyed meeting those of you who were at the 12 PM EDT video conference this afternoon.
I looked up some general statistics on France. I think this is of interest because things like population size and density greatly affect one's culture. For example, a larger population density may influence how people live. France had 58,519,000 people in 1999 according to the Institut National de la Statistique et des Etudes Economiques (INSEE). The population density of France is 108 persons per square kilometer. I have never been to France, but I imagine that most people must live in apartments. In America, the resident population in 1999 was 272,700,000 people according to the US Census Bureau. The US has a population density of 28 persons per square kilometer. Indeed, there are many who live in apartments here, too, but many families also live in private homes several times larger than an apartment. The cost for these houses are (probably) not nearly as high here as they would be in France. Perhaps a higher population density would require that French people interact more with strangers (Questionnaire: A stranger smiles at you...) or that neighbors be more discrete (Questionnaire: A good neighbor is one who...). Just a thought.
Then there are things such as unemployment. The unemployment rate in April 2000 of France was 9.9% (aged 25 and older). The unemployment rate in 1999 of the US was 4.2% (aged 16 and older). Although a difference of 5.7% does not sound like a lot, 9.9% is more than twice 4.2%! I am curious whether the French feel more pressured to work hard than Americans. (I suppose the only students who could answer this question are those who have lived in both countries.) I think people in always feel the pressure to have security and a good career, but our government also supports its citizens in many ways, including those who are unemployed. We have programs like Welfare to take care of those who are unable to support themselves, thus relieving a lot of stress for some.
I have a very important comment and question for you. I read at one of the websites a list of some random prices for different life necessities and was shocked. It listed the the prices of different articles of clothing for women and for men. Men's clothes are more expensive in France?!! I would think it to be the other way around like here in America, where the trend usually goes: the less fabric, the more you pay.
Is it true that men's clothing is really generally more expensive than women's? Or has there been a mistake? Because if it is true, maybe I should move to France! :)
Hi INT students, I calculated from data from the Quid website, the INSEE web site, and the US Census Bureau. It looks like while about 14% of the population in the US is not health-insured, only about 0.3% of the population in France is not covered by health insurance. My European friends often tell me the system in European countries is much better than in the US, but one has to pay much more in the form of taxes. Are you satisfied with the system? Is it a centralized system through the goverment? Here it is the responsibility of one's employer or school to provide health insurance. I personally am not satisfied with any of the health care providers I've encountered here since childhood. Suzanne
Subject: study Abroad (response to Prune, message #1)
Hi everyone. Sorry I didn't put a title for my last posting. I just want to address Prune's questions. Many universities here offer study abroad programs, through which students can study a semester or a year abroad. I don't know of any university programs which _require_ participation in a study abroad program. I don't know the percentage of students who participate in these programs, but I don't imagine it to be that high. Again, exposing oneself to other cultures or learning other languages is not a high priority in the States. I myself was born in the States, and until my first experience in a different country, I sincerely believed that the United States was the best place to live, and our culture the best that there is. Looking back, I can't believe how naive I was, given that I didn't have any experiences in other countries in order to form such an opinion. When I talk to other Americans many often feel the same way I used to about the USA: we're number one, and we don't need to prove it. In any case there is little or no pressure for most Americans to gain experience in other countries, although I think this may be changing in some professions... the world is getting smaller and people think more globally. As to why United Kingdom is the most popular destination for study abroad among Americans, my guess is that it has to do with the language barrier. I can't think of another reason why the UK would be more interesting than, say France. :) I hope that helps. I enjoyed meeting those of you whom I met at the 18h (? in France) video conference.
Subject: drinking water (response to Sophie, message #2)
Hi Sophie, I personally don't drink enough water. It's mostly because I prefer something with some taste. My favorite drinks are orange or apple juice, but I think most people here prefer soda or milk. Bottled water has recently become more popular in the United States, especially for people who exercise and want a handy source of refreshment. I can only guess, but I think a lot of food and drink products here in the U.S. are made sweeter (for example, chocolate) than they are made elsewhere. I think people in the U.S. are used to and expect sweeter, or just more taste, than people elsewhere, so water is probably not as popular a drink for that reason. Incidentally, I noticed a new product in the grocery store recently: it is essentially bottled water, but with a very slight slight taste of fruit or something. It is clear and looks just like normal water. I wonder if it's clear so that the people who buy it feel as if they are drinking something good for them, but it has enough of a taste so that people are willing to buy it.
Hi Sophie, I agree with Suzanne that I too do not drink as much water as I should. I have been better about it lately, but I still crave the flavor in soda and juice. I don't personally drink much milk other than in cereal, but I know in the mid-western states (where cows are more common and so the milk is fresher) people drink a significant amount of milk in their diets. I do enjoy the taste of water most when it is filtered and ice-cold, so I tend to drink it more when it's available in that form.
Hope that helps! =) -Jen
I was reading thru the French articles on the web and I found a lot of articles on homlessness. Why is there so much talk about this. It is a tremendous problem in France?
I found some nice statistics I would like to share with you guys. According to U.S. Census Bureau the median family money income in dollars in the U.S. is $48,950 (363,970 Francs) per year. According to quid the average french annual salary is 131,120 Francs (17,634 dollars). I want to look into the standard of living. How much something costs. I'll look into it next time.
I was looking at the sports/leisure polls. It seems that the French and Americans have siginificantly different tastes when it comes to sports. Americans tend to enjoy American football, basketball, & baseball, while the French enjoy participating in sports like football(i guess that means soccer?) and tennis.
I also noticed that the French have a lot of dance festivals and opera festivals. How big is dance in France? What kind of dancing is perforemed in these festivals?
Bonjour etudiantes d'INT! J'etais contente a voir et parler avec vous hier (le lundi). J'ai une question sur le sante de les Francais. Dans les Etats-Unis, il y a beacoup de personne qui se concerne sur le nourriture - si on consomme suffisante vitamins, beacoup de gras, etc. Une statistique dit que 30-50% de les Americains ont "over-weight" et autre dit que nous avons un vie tres "sedentary and unhealthy". Quelle est la situation en France? C'est la meme? Je ne peut pas encontre les statistiques equivalent pour le Francais. Merci!
response to #3: independence:
hi maud, you've found a very interesting statistic ("20% des hommes entre 24 et 29, 8% des femmes entre 25 et 29 ans"). These are surprisingly high numbers (especially in men 24-29). First of all, regarding americans wanting to gain independence from our parents, i don't think this is really true. american's are so diverse that i don't think there really is such a pattern. i actually don't mind depending on my parents (but then i don't fit into the age bracket mentioned). my best guess to explain the statistics that you see is that men will probably stay with their parents until they get married so they can pick a place to settle down with their wives. this could be an explanation seeing as how men marry later than women (which could also explain why less women live with their parents). People i know who are part of the age bracket mentioned actually do not live at home, but travel home often until they get settled down with their own families. i hope this helps some in understanding americans.
response to #4: drinking water:
hi sophie, i know you've already seen a lot of responses about drinking water, but i just wanted to add a little to what is above. it is true that people here do not drink enough water. i think athletes drink more water than the average american because pure water is the best way to replenish fluids in the body after exercise; however, since much of the american population is physically inactive, it isn't always the case that we would drink water. we prefer liquids with more taste like coffee, or juice, or soda.
my question: religion
here in the US, we currently have a somewhat sensitive debate on allowing religion in schools. i read in "ambassade de france" that 81.4% of french people are catholic, so does this play into school life? are students given prayer times? i think i am mainly talking about elementary, middle school, and high school, but any thoughts or information you have, i would greatly appreciate. thanks.
Hello. The statistic about people living with their parents is very interesting. One thing I'd like to add to Irene's analysis is that women often have more of a need to "feel" independent, and moving outof your parents home is one way to express your independence. Despite thefeminist revolution of the seventies, women are still often identified with their families and their role as mother and wife. The brief interlude between becoming an adult and getting married is the only time women are truly free of any family constraints. Men dont' usually feel this pressure. My question is about women in the workplace in France. On "Voici La France" the essay about women in the workplace states that althoughmany women work, they still spend themost time taking care of children (39 hours per week, as opposed to 12 for men). How lenient are employers in France in giving women time off to take care of young children? Most large companies here will give women maternity leave to take care of infants without harming the women's ability to come back to work at a later date. Is this true in France also?
Consumer Price Index
I was reading the Institut National de la Statistique and I found an interesting statistic. The statistic is the Consumer Price Index. What I found interesting however is not the index itself, it is the inclusion of tobacco as a seperate entity in the index. The page displayed the index excluding tobacco and including tobacco, which caused a 0.3 increase on the index. I looked into US CPI data and it is inetersting that in the US data, the CPI never mentioned tobacco as one of its components. Is that due to the price of tobacco in France or do you think that is due to the popularity of cigarettes there?
Married and Non-Married Couples
I found an interesting statistic in the web site of the French Embassy in Washington D.C. The statistic showed that there are 285,000 marriages and 120,000 divorces in France (it didn't mention the time period). I think this is a high divorce rate. This is comprable to the divorce rate of the US. I read that 50% of first time marriages are likely to end up in divorces in the US!! But the interesting statistic is that the number of non-married couples has risen significantly from 1.5 million to 2.4 million since the start of the 90's. On the other hand, the number of married couples has fallen sharply (numbers were not mentioned). Do you think there is a social or cultural change in France that caused this phenomenon? Is it becoming more and more acceptable in France to have a couple that you are not married to? What do you think are the causes of this phenomenon?
Subject:Energy Consumption Hi everyone, I was interested in comparing the energy consumption (per person) and comparing that betweeen America and France. In particular I have heard that the French are conservationists, and that they criticize Americans for having wasteful, non-energy-conservative lifestyles. Do the French students feel this way about the United States?
Interestingly, if my numbers work out correctly, the French would have reason to criticize! According to my numbers, while America has about 4.7 times the population of France, (around 1990: America's population was about 270M and France was about 57M) America consumes about 9 (nine) times the energy that France does! (America used 94.6 Quad Btu = 2251 Mtoe, France uses 250 Mtoe, around 1990).
I was looking at the QUID comparisons and I found that France is much more homogeneous in its population make-up. 93.6% of the people living in France are "nationaux." First, I was wondering what exactly does that mean? Does the term "nationaux" refer to European French people only?
Along those same lines, do you, in France, notice that there are many French-speaking people from the Caribbean islands, Asia, or Africa living in France? I would think that people who could speak French, who were from poorer countries, would try to move to France to find a better life, similar to what happens in America. The figures I found for population composition (mostly "nationaux") does not seem to support this, though. I look forward to hearing your responses.
Subject: Nobel Prizes
I found an interesting piece of information from the QUID, that only 47 Nobel Prizes have been given to French people, while 213 have been given to Americans. I thought the number of French Nobel Prize winners would be much higher, considering the emphasis France puts on its education and culture. Are French people in general not as interested in science as Americans seem to be, or is it simply that America has a larger population, and therefore would be expected to have more Prize winners?
Also, only 6 Nobel Prizes were given to French people in the category of Medicine, so I was wondering about the amount of medical research being done in France. Is it known for medical research, or do the French rely on other countries' research and apply it to their own problems?
I found that 75% of Americans over 25 have graduated from high school and 20% have graduated from a 4 year college. I couldn't find similiar data for France. I know that the US high school graduation rate is not that high compared to other countries in the world. These numbers are not surprising to me though because in my high school 566 out of 725 (78%) graduated. Does anyone know these numbers for France?
Subject: French prisons
I read something from INSEE saying that most of the prisoners in France are young men under the age of 30. There is no mention, however of their ethnic background. In the U.S. there is disproportionate number of ethnic minorities in U.S. prisons, especially on death row. In another survey (SOFRES) 70% of those polled thought that minorities were more closely monitored by the police in France. Are the inmates in French prisons mostly minorities or is this not the case in France?
Subject: Daily Newspaper Circulation
On average, 36% of French people read a daily newspaper every day and 55.1% of Americans read a daily newspaper every weekday (a number which seems to be going down, as it was 58.6% two years ago). I was surprised by this; do most French people listen to the news on the radio or read it online?
Subject: Personal Computer Ownership by Household
About 51% of US households own a personal computer (Aug 2000, US Commerce Dept.), as opposed to 23% of French households (2000, French Ministry of Foreign Affairs); the page also mentioned that 46% of French people use a computer at work. Do most French people not buy a computer for home if they have one at work; i.e., is it considered more of a tool for work? Are there many public access terminals around, like in libraries or cybercafés?
Subject: Cable TV Subscription
About 64% of American households and 35% of French households are connected to a cable network; I don't think these numbers include satellite dishes. How many broadcast channels are there in France? I.e., how many channels do you get if you don't get cable? In the US you'd probably get 10-15 broadcast channels, and they wouldn't all necessarily come in very well, depending on your exact location.
Subject: Discrimination in the variation of wages between men and women
Hello INT students,
I came upon a survey that studied the variation in salaries between men and women. According to the results, the variation was 27% in favor of the men. Does this result actually reflect how women are treated in job places in France? What jobs are considered bizzare for women? I know there are frequent protests/demonstrations in France; Do women groups currently form a greater part of these protests? I look forward to your quick responses. thanks
I have been studying data on agriculture for both America and France. It seems that 54% of French land is used for agricultural purposes such as vinyards, crops, and various types of farms. There are 600,000 farms in France. I was just surprised by these numbers becuase I never thought that such a large percentage of French industry was centered around agriculture.
Are many of your families involved in some sort of agriculture? Is it common, if you live outside the urban areas, to live near farms and vinyards? I was also wondering if many young people choose to study and find jobs in the agricultural business, or in farming.
Dear INT Students,
I have one more question for you. I was looking at data on energy usage in France I am wondering why only 4.5% is renewable energy. Are there any environmental movements in France to use more renewable energy resources?
Also, do you find prices on gas for automobiles to be high in France?
Subject: response to Prune about study abroad
I just wanted to add some comments to Suzanne's response wrt study abroad programs. It is true that at MIT study abroad programs don't seem to be very popular, but at liberal arts institutions they definitely are. I did my undergrad at a small college and I had a lot of friends going abroad in our junior year. A lot of people went to Paris, to Italy, to Germany and to Spain. I believe the difference can be well explained by the different degree requirements at these institutions and also by the distribution of academic concentrations. (In liberal arts schools, you will find a lot of people having a second major in a language/foreign literature related subject.)
In response to Samia's analysis of costs of clothing,
Business clothes for men and women in the US tend to be priced comparably (in the range of a couple hundred dollars - comparing suits to suits). The same is more or less true for casual clothes, with jeans and t-shirts and sweaters being about the same prices for guys and girls.
The only striking difference I can think of is for formalwear. Men's tuxes will tend to be a few hundred dollars (without much of a range in prices), while a woman's gown can range in price from about $200 to easily over $3000 (more people will buy stuff in the several hundred dollar range). Additionally, guys get to wear tuxes as often as they'd like, but women don't want to be seen in the same dress too often. Thus, women's tend to spend more for formal clothing, but that is really the only category with great disparity.
sujet: réponses à certaines questions
bonjour à tous! Merci pour les nombreuses réponses à ma question sur l'eau. Personnellement, je ne bois pratiquement que cela (parfois sous forme d'infusion) car je n'aime ni le lait, ni les boissons trop sucrées. Mais les gens en général n' en boivent pas assez. En ce moment, tous les magazines pour femmes parlent de régime car c'est bientôt l'été, et ils conseillent de boire 1.5 litres d'eau par jour. Mais rare sont les personnes qui le font. Avant de répondre à quelques réponses, j'aimerais faire une remarque sur les prénoms de certains élèves, qui sont d'origine française : Geneviève, Irène, Suzanne....Certains prénoms Anglo-saxons sont communs en France car ils sont ceux d'acteurs de cinéma ou de série télé. D'où vient le choix de ces prénoms? pour répondre à Gary sur la densité. Je pense qu'en ville, il ne doit pas y avoir plus de gens en France qu'en Amérique. La différence vient je pense des "grands espaces" des USA : les deserts, les montagnes, les parcs nationaux..où personne ne vit. En classe quand on a parlé de l'Amérique, une des images qui revenait était celle de l'espace (la Death Valley, les Rocky mountains, les plaines cultivées du Middle West). Il n'y a pas autant de zones inhabitées en France. Il faudrait comparer la densite de population des villes et des agglomérations^pour vérifier. Pour répondre à Irene sur le sujet de la religion, les écoles sont ici laîques, c'est à dire que tu ne dois pas montrer de signes visibles de ta religion. Par exemple, tu peux porter une croix ou faire le ramadan, mais il n'y a pas de temps de prière dans l'emploi du temps. Il y a eu il y a quelques temps des élèves musulmanes qui portaient le voile qui se sont fait exclure de leur école, car elles ne voulaient pas l'enlever en classe. Cela dit, c'est un cas extrême. Les élèves sont généralement tolérent entre eux. Certaines écoles privées comportent aussi un enseignement religieux, mais il faut alors payer des frais de scolarité. A l'int, il y a une association chrétienne, mais elle est moins populaire que les autres.
Je vais aussi commenter le taux de divorce en France. Il est effectivement élevé, car c'est maintenant entré dans les moeurs. les problèmes se situent le plus souvent au niveau de la garde des enfants, car ils sont souvent confiés à la mère et certains pères s'estiment lésés. On parle aussi beaucoup des "familles recomposées" (deux parents divorcés avec enfants qui se marient), et des problèmes de cohabitation entre les enfants. Pour ce qui est des couples non mariés, cela ne choque personne non plus. On parle de concubinage, de cohabitation juvénile... L'âge moyen du mariage en France est de 28 ans, ce qui correspond aussi à l'âge du premier enfant. Les gens vivent ensemble, et se marient quand ils ont un enfant pour fonder une famille. Un dernier point sur la consommation d'énérgie en France. C'est vrai que les Américains ont la réputation de gaspiller les matières premières et l'énergie, mais aissi la nourriture. Mais je sais que pour l'agriculture, vous utilisez des éoliennes dans les endroits venteux. Les champion du recyclage en Europe sont les Allemands, qui sont plus écologistes. En France, on parle beaucoup de " l'heure d'été": on se décale de 2 heures par rapport au soleil (une heure en hiver) pour qu'il fasse noir plus tard le soir et que l'on consomme ainsi moins d'électricité. Les économies ainsi réalisées à l'échelle d'un pays ne sont pas négligeables. Mais on est décalé horairement par rapport aux autres pays qui ne le font pas. Mes parents m'ont aussi toujours appris à éteindre la lumière quand je sort d'une pièce ("on n'est pas à Versailles ici!").
A bientôt pour d'autres commentaires, Sophie
Subject: French names
Yes, my name Suzanne is of French origin. It is popular with Vietnamese families (especially Catholic families) to choose French names for their children; it sounds more "sophisticated." But actually my parents did not choose this name themselves; their American friends came up with several names and my parents drew my name out of a hat.
My cousin named all of her children with both French and Vietnamese names : André, Camille, Micheline (?)
Government Involvement in Socio-Economic Affairs
Hi, i have a question for the French students, just out of curiosity. Looking at different statistics and from what I already know it is evident that the level of government interference in the lives of people is far greater in France(and Europe) than in the US. I was wondering how you guys felt about this ? DO you have any strong beliefs about the extent of government involvement in soci economic issues of its people ?
reply to sophie (#32)
bonjour sophie!!! thanks so much for replying to my question on religion. i actually did not know that my name was of french origin. irene is not a very common name here, especially in my generation in my generation. i have only met a few. my parents chose my name (i think out of a name book or a list of names) because they thought it sounded nice with my last name, and also because it means peace. take care!
topic: principal causes of death
hi everyone. i found this kind of interesting: the US and France only share 2 top causes of death, maladies cardio-vasculaires et maladies respiratoires. Tumeurs is also listed under France while the US includes maladies infectieuses, accidents, et homicide. The last 2 for the US really differ from the rest. I'm guessing that accidents is not on the French list because there are less cars? is the crime rate lower there also? how would you guys explain it?
Sujet: couverture sociale
Bonjour à tous les étudiants du MIT!
Vous semblez intéressé par les actions gouvernementales en France. Il est vrai que comme l'a dit Zaffar, le gouvernement a une place (trop) importante dans la vie économique et sociale. Le but de l'Etat pour les Français est de permettre à tout le monde d'avoir un niveau de vie décent. On pratique donc la redistribution des richesses. En gros, des impôts élevés et de fortes contributions sociales permettent à tous les Français d'être assuré contre les maladie, la vieillesse (caisse de retraite), le chômage et d'avoir des aides quand on éleve des enfants. Dès qu'on travaille, on cotise automatiquement, ce qui explique le taux élevé de personnes couvertes par la sécurité sociale que Suzanne a remarqué. Certains se plaignent que l'Etat assiste trop les gens qui restent passif. Par exemples, certaines personnes vivent des indemnités chômage sans chercher d'emploi stable, et travaillent juste ce qu'il faut quand elles n'y ont plus droit pour de nouveau arreter de travailler.
C'est ce droit à une vie décente qui rend les cas des "sans-abris " ou "sans domicile fixe" (SDF) dont parle Carlos choquant. Avec une telle politique, ça ne devrait pas exister. On trouve beaucoup d'associations qui s'occupent d'eux en les abritant la nuit, en leur offrant des repas ( l'opération des Restos du Coeur) ou en les aidant à se reintégrer. La plupart sont au chômage, ou sont des immigrés clandestins. Ils sont surtout dans les grandes villes et Paris. Le problème est que certains refusent l'aide, ou ont des chiens et ne sont pas acceptés partout. Les gens ont aussi peur d'eux car ils ne rentrent pas dans les normes, et certains boivent pour oublier. Ce n'est pas que les sans-abris soient un grave problème en France, c'est surtout que cela va à l'encontre de la politique d'entraide étatiste.
A bientôt, Sophie
Hello INT Students,
Before continuing, I just wanted to say that I really enjoyed meeting all of you. It was great to finally see your faces and hear your voices after exchanging ideas on the forums. I hope we will have the chance to do it again.
COMMENTARY ON THE FOLLOWING MESSAGES: Suzanne (message 7); Zaffar (message 34); Sophie (37)
I thought that Suzanne's message #7 was a nice way to open up the discussion on the different types of governments in the United States and France. I was interested to see that Suzanne said that she had European friends who prefer the European model of delivering health care services. In Canada, we have something resembling the European model. That is, we are charged high taxes and the governemnt provides us with basic medical services free of charge.
Although I come from Canada, I prefer the American method of distributing health care services. In general, health care in Canada is very poor compared to the United States. Every few weeks, you can read a story in a Canadian newspaper about somebody who died in an Emergency room waiting room because the hospital was severly understaffed. Although we pay high taxes in Canada, the standard of medical care offered in Canada is vastly inferior to that offered in the United States. After seeing the situation in Canada, I have become very disenchanted with the idea that governemnts should provide health care services via higher taxes.
I also wanted to examine this problem from an economic point of view in order to postulate why the Canadian system is so poor given our high taxes. I believe that the American model leads to the most efficient economic outcome. For instance, if my visits to the doctor are free, I will not hesitate to go to the doctor every time I catch a simple cold. Although my health will change very little, my consumption of health services will increase greatly, which leads to an inefficient allociation of resources in the economy. So, in the end, Canadian taxpayers are paying a lot of money for services that are not really needed.
Before continuing, I just wanted to say that this discussion also touches upon one of my basic ideas about governments. In my opinion, governments are a necessary evil; the less intervention of governments in the economy and society, the better. In general, I prefer to spend my hard-earned money instead of having the government take it away from me and spend it for me. I believe that the main tasks of a government should include enforcing the law, provide very basic services (i.e police, highways etc..) and try to assist as much as possible those who are poor. However, I disagree with giving the unemployed large unemployment benefits, because this reduces their incentive to work. This is why 35% of working-age people in Sweden are "not employed". I think it is optimal for the citizens of a country to shape their future and their country's future as much as possible, as opposed to having the government do this. This allows for the most opportunity for citizens to provide their creative input, and everyone benefits from this.
Returning to the health-care discussion, there are some deficiencies with the American model. Most notably, the poor don't have very good access to health care services. However, it cannot be said that the European and Canadian models are solutions to this problem, because these models lead to other severe problems. I think that the problem of providing health care services to a large population is a difficult one with no simple answer. At the same time, I know that a lot research is being done in the US in the field of health economics and there is active dialogue between the government, healt-care workers and economists. It is for this reason that I am optimistic that the delivery of health care services both in the US and abroad will improve greatly over the next twenty years.
COMMENTARY ON THE FOLLOWING MESSAGES: Carlos (11), Rayan (16)
I just wanted to throw my two cents in here on this discussion about salaries and the cost of living in the United States and France.
I did some research on the cost of goods and services in both contries. In order to do this, I visited a site called "Expat Forum" (www.expatforum). The Cultura 2001 links couldn't quite supply with the information I desired.
On this site, I found data on the cost of buying in different countries a standard basket of goods and services that cost $100 US in the Unied States. It said that this same basket of goods would cost $131 in France. I am sure this tool is not perfect, but based on my admittedly limited exposure to economics, economists commonly use this method to compare the cost of living in different countries. If you're curious to see the cost of living in other countries, visit: www.expatforum.com/Resources/icol.htm.
So, Carlos told us that salaries in the United States are substantially higher than those in France. Also, it seems that price levels in France are higher than those in the United States.
I was wondering how the French students feel when they read such statistics?
Again, I can't resist talking briefly from personal experience here. In 1990, the exchange rate for one Canadian dollar was .9 American dollars. Now, one Canadian dollar is worth .63 dollars American. So, Canadians have basically become 50% poorer than Americans over the last ten years. Also, the average American salary is 40% higher than the average Canadian salary. Finally, in 1999 the most commonly sold car in Canada was a Honda Civic (cost: C$ 15,700) while the most commonly sold car in the United States was a Toyota Camry (cost: $21,300).
For me, it has been very upsetting to watch Canada become poorer and poorer relative to the United States during the last ten years. I was also suprised that when I lived in Canada, not as many Canadians felt as passionately as I did about this issue.
I look forward to your responses.
En fait je ne connaissais pas ce pourcentage de journaux lus tous les jours. Mais j'ai l'impression qu'à Paris les gens qui voyagent en métro ou en train au travail lisent beaucoup le journal pour faire passer le temps. Pour ce qui est des journaux qui sont lus, ce sont principalement Le Monde et Le Figaro. Mais il en existe beaucoup: Libération, Le Soir, Le Parisien, etc. et de nombraux journaux régionaux.
Mais, on écoute aussi beaucoup la radio. Il existe des stations de radio qui passent des "news flash" toutes les quelques minutes et ainsi on a la possibilité de s'informer rapidement. Et c'est pratique dans la voiture, entre autre pour connaître la situation du trafic, etc. Et c'est pratique pour les étudiants, qui sont tellement occupés et n'ont jamais beaucoup de temps;)!
Pour la lecture et la recherche d'info sur Internet, j'ai lu récemment que cela se répandait de plus en plus. Les gens consultent de plus en plus Internet pour s'informer, car très les bons sites actualisent leurs pages toutes les quelques minutes, sinon heures, et on peut donc presqu'être sûr d'avoir des informations 'up to date'.
Dividing by population gives about .8 tv/person in the US while France is at .6 tv/person--a rather significant margin.
I can think of several reasons why this ratio is disproportionate: greater wealth in the US resulting in more TVs per household; Americans watch more TV; wider variety of programs to watch in the US.
I'm going to dig around and see if I can't find some more data on this topic, but until then, what do you think? Are Americans just that much lazier, or do they have more TVs to watch (with more on them)?
Subject: health care
Actually I am curious to hear the answer from both French and American students: are you satisfied with your health care?
I was surprised that Allan seemed satisfied with the system here. I agree it could be worse, but my personal experiences with the doctors at MIT medical and elsewhere were horrible. In general they only have 10 minutes for you, they are always late for your appointment, they don't listen, and they don't bother to do anything. For example, I went to several doctors for an ongoing heart related problem. Out of 4 doctors, only one actually listened to my heart The others only said, "Well, the chances of you having heart disease at your age are very slim. Just see if the problem goes away and come back if it doesn't." I have heard that for several years and the problem has not gone away.
On top of that I don't feel as if they are that knowledgeable. When I had to get travel vaccinations for my trip to Vietnam a few years ago I did a little research on my own to find out which medications I could take against malaria in Vietnam. When I went to the doctor, he gave me false information and was not aware of the information I found on the Center for Disease Control website. He tried to argue with me for a while, then finally admitted he didn't know, and then asked me to come back later for a second appointment after he had a chance to look at the info himself. He's supposed to be a specialist in travel immunizations!!
I know health care is pretty bad at a lot of places, but I think people deserve better.
It sounds like France is very serious about traveling abroad and learing about other languages and cultures. To answer your question, here at MIT, and I think in most other schools, we have to take some sort of humanities classes, but not necessarily languages. I think most people study a foreign language in high school but don't learn it well enough to be able to speak fluently. In college, some lear to speak it fluently, but a lot do not. It is not a requirement by any means, though.
It is interesting that you have to take the TOEFL to graduate. Do you know why they make you do this?
Subject: Personal Computer Ownership
In addition to Anne's statistics about computer ownership, I found that in the US, as of 1997 about 74% of children had use of a computer either at home or at school.
Are school systems (other than INT which we know more about :) ) heavily integrating computers into their curriculum in France at younger ages? Are they using state-of-the-art systems, educational software, or programming in the computer curriculum?
subject: education, military
I found several interesting facts in the CIA world factbook (www.cia.gov).
The first is the literacy rates in both countries. For the US it is 97% and for France it is 99%. This makes sense to me because there is less poverty in France than in the US.
The other thing I found was the number of people fit for military service compared to the number available for military service. In France there are 12 million fit out of 14 million available. In the US there are only 2 million fit out of 70 million available. I checked other countries to see which one is more normal, and most other countries are similiar to france. I can't think of any good reason for this disparity.
I know that since I have been at MIT I have stopped reading the newspapers as often as I did in high school. I find that this is true of many university students. Sometimes I look at BBC or CNN online, though. When I am on vacation I tend to read the paper much more often and catch up on the news.
The US has NPR, National Public Radio. National Public Radio has very good news and great interviews with artists, musicians and public figures. Is there a National Public radio station in France?
En France il existe la station radio "France INFO". On peut l'écouter dans pratiquement toute la France et elle passe des 'news flas' tout au long de la journée. Il y a aussi des reportages plus régionals parfois et qui s'adressent plus particulièrement à une région. Cependant la station n'est pas comme celle dont tu as parlé. Il n'y a pas de musique (sauf quand ils font la grève...). C'est une radio plutôt sérieuse avec certes des reportages, mais toujours en rapport avec des sujets d'actualité, de politique, etc.
In response to Suzanne's message (43), I am satisfied with the health care system here. Because the government does not control everything, one can seek a higher level of coverage than might otherwise be available. Health care providers are not all as evil as popular culture here would have you believe, though some are deinitely superior to others.
The only major problem I can see with the current US system is that so many HMOs are going out of business and leaving many companies scrambling to find another, affordable company to cover their employees. While this is causing some trouble, I don't think a government-run system would be much better, since it would likely cause doctors to be even more restricted, and though more people would have more visits paid for, certainly the doctors could not perform as well. I say this because our government has a reputation for being even more restricting, burocratic and inefficient than even the most poorly-run private health-care provider.
In France, I noticed that prescriptions are far cheaper than in the US. I can only assume (since the drugs are identical) that the government places limits on prices. Is this the case? What kind of controls are there on the prices? Such drugs here are very expensive, and the pharmaceutical companies claim that this is because they need to spend billions (they do) on research and cannot turn a profit if they do not charge such high rates. Is there a lot of goverment mandated price-capping in France and elsewhere in Europe? (Is this why people in the US pay so much more?) or does the government merely subsidize prescriptions?
sujet: les médicaments
Voici quelques précisions concernant les médicaments en France. Jai déjà évoqué le système de sécurité sociale français et le fait que tout le monde doit pouvoir avoir accès à des soins.
Les médicaments sont de deux catégories. Ils y a dabord ceus qui sont remboursées par la sécurité sociale. Ceux sont les seuls prix industriels à être administrés par le gouvernement en France. Les prix sont donc limités. On ne peut pas faire de publicité auprès du grand public pour ces médicament, c'est le médecin qui les prescrit. Ils représentaient 77,3 % du chiffre daffaires de lindustrie pharmaceutique en 1998.
Les prix des médicaments non remboursables par la Sécurité Sociale, c'est-à-dire principalement ceux qui peuvent faire l'objet de publicité directe auprès du public, sont fixés librement par les fabricants depuis le ler juillet 1986. Cette catégorie de produits représentait 7,4 % du chiffre daffaires de la pharmacie.
Les prix des médicaments vendus aux hôpitaux sont également libres depuis 1987.
Ce strict contrôle des prix a pour but de contribuer à réguler les dépenses d'assurance maladie, mais cela na pas eu vraiment deffet. Et en effet, la rentabilité des laboratoires opérant en France reste faible relativement aux autres pays, car leurs marges sont moindres. En conséquence, ils sefforcent de vendre des produits nouveaux, qui bénéficient d une réputation de meilleure qualité que les anciens, même si ce nest pas le cas. Cela nuit aussi à lexportation et à linternationalisation des firmes françaises. Mais c'est le prix à payer pour des médicaments bon marché.
Le TOEFL, réponse à Carlos.
Les Grandes Ecoles françaises attachent une grande importance à l'enseignement des langues étrangères et de manière plus générale à leur dimension internationale, c'est un des éléments qui feront qu'elles seront choisies par les élèves et reconnues par les entreprises. L'INT à choisi de faire passer le TOEFL à tous ses élèves afin que leur niveau soit reconnu internationalement. En faire une obligation assure que tous les élèves travaillent leur anglais pour atteindre ce niveau. Il faut préciser que l'anglais n'est pas une matière obligatoire au concours d'entrée de l'INT (ce doit être la seule école dans ce cas), et qu'il y a donc des élèves qui ont besoin de cette pression pour s'y intéresser.
Subject: Nobel Prizes (message 20, Anne Marie)
I just have a comment about Nobel Prize statistics. I think the statistics can be hard to interpret and it would be difficult to make direct comparisons between different countries as far as # of Nobel Prize winners.
Here's why I think that:
1) The total # of scientists in the US working in fields where Nobel Prizes are awarded is probably much greater than in France.
2) The method the Nobel Prize Committee uses to choose its winners is not known; their discussion is not open for public scrutiny. There are often accusations that the Nobel Prize Committee is biased against or for certain individuals/ countries/ institutions. This is hard to prove or disprove since the Committee does not discuss its reasons for choosing or not choosing someone publicly.
I know in biology a lot of the Nobel Prizes for medicine or physiology haven't made sense to biologists in the field... i.e., someone who made a more significant contribution in the eyes of many scientists was passed over for a prize.
3) A lot of scientists who win Nobel Prizes are listed as "American." That can mean anything from someone who lived all his/her life in the US to someone who was educated in a different country and then came to be a professor in the US. The US attracts a lot of good scientists from _other_ countries, and with it comes the Nobel Prizes they win - which will often be listed as "American" even if the scientist considers her or himself to be German, French, Indian, or what have you.
Hi all MIT students,
Sujet : la santé Pour ce qui est de la santé (en réponse au post de Suzanne), je pense que les médecins français sont en général suffisamment à l'écoute des patients et suffisamment bien formés. Ma mère est médecin et j'ai quelques petites connaissances dans le domaine ; jamais une de mes questions n'a désarçonné un spécialiste français. Au contraire, ils sont là pour répondre à nos craintes et ils le font souvent bien... Par contre pour ce qui est des examens c'est vrai que certains sont plus interventionnistes que d'autres. J'ai eu un problème au genou il y a quelques années et il a fallu que j'aille en voir plusieurs avant que l'un d'entre eux ne se décide à prescrire une IRM (Imagerie à Résonance Magnétique) pour voir précisément ce que j'avais.
Pierre "Clad" R
Salut aux étudiants du MIT,
Sujets : l'éducation et les ordinateurs
En France je pense que notre situation concernant l'éducation et les ordinateurs a longtemps été ambigüe. Il y avait de nombreuses zones d'exclusion pour ce qui est de l'accès aux nouvelles technologies. J'ai moi-même eu la chance de bénéficier de quelques heures de découverte de l'ordinateur à la fin de l'école primaire : j'ai ainsi pu me familiariser avec Deluxe Paint, Logo, le DOS... (toute une époque !). Il y a aussi eu à un moment un grand programme d'équipement des collèges avec des TO7, mais ça n'a pas marché (matériel trop rapidement obsolète). Aujourd'hui, la volonté affichée de notre ministre de l'éducation Jack Lang est de combler le fossé technologique en proposant dès la rentrée prochaine un grand plan visant à rendre accessible à tous les élèves du secondaire les nouveaux media et Internet. Peut-être bientôt un "e-cartable" pour tous si la langue de bois n'a pas encore frappé... ;°)
A bientôt, Pierre "Clad" R
Sujet: les américains et l'alcool
Encore un sujet qui va déchaîner les passions... la bière. Saviez-vous que les américains buvaient environ 223 bouteilles de bières /an la palme revenant à l'état du Nevada avec 1 bouteille par jour!!! Impressionnant non!! Je pense que les americains ne picolent pas plus que les français mais que ces derniers boivent beaucoup plus de vin..
sujet: les animaux de compagnie des préseidents américains
On trouve de tout à la maison blanche des chiens et même des vaches des chèvres et des chevaux!!! Vous voyez jacques chirac promenant sa vache dans les jardins de l'Elysée. C'est vrai qu'en france nous n'avons pas autant d'espace qu'aux uSA c'est peut -être pourquoi les chiens et les chats sont nos principaux animaux de compagnie.
Hello Prune and Suzanne,
I must have missed Prune's message #1 and Suzanne's message #8 because they raise interesting questions that I would have responded to earlier. For me, England would be my number one choice if I had to study in a different country. However, the reasons for this are not related to the fact that English is spoken in England.
If I were to go to a different country, I would try to learn as much as possible about how they do things and pick up their good habits. When I look at what England has done over the past one hundred years and what other countries have done, I get the feeling I have more to learn from the English than I do from any other country besides the United States. I suppose if we asked all the MIT students this question, we would get a wide range of answers, so to each his own.
Also, I have always loved British culture and I love the way that the British write. However, given that British food is probably worse than even American food, there are still some drawback with going to England.
I wish I could go to five or six different countries (one of which being France) to either work or study. However, there are a lot of things that I want to do in the US, so I doubt that I will have much time for this.
Suzanne mentioned that she suspects that not many American students participate in study abroad programs. I would understand why few MIT students would be interested in such programs. Since MIT is perhaps one of the top schools in the world, why would anybody want to leave, even for a semester? I love it here so much at MIT that it would take a very interesting opportunity in another country for me to leave MIT for a semester or year. I understand the importance of exposing oneself to different cultures, but in most cases the opportunity cost vs. staying at MIT is simply too high.
Hello Pierre and all the INT students,
Subject: Education and Computers
Why do you think that the situation with computers and Education have been ambiguous? Do you think it has anything to do with the kind of government in France?
Subject: Immigration et mouvements
Ok, like Anne-Marie, I looked at this topic at quid.fr. However, my concern is: Why aren't there any Cameroons listed as immigrants?
The statistics for Africans are Algeria-876, Congo (ex. Zaire)-1187, which I assume are listed because they are the africans with significant presence in France? However, since the French government is still very much involved in the affairs of Cameroun, shouldn't the Camroonians have a significant presence in France?
Awaiting responses, Chidinma