books, pencils, knowledge


Colegio San Ignacio de Loyola, MIT, College

difficult/demanding, friends

education, college, classes

education, passion, teaching

friends, homework, teachers

hard, friends, lack of sleep

high school, education, children

homework, lectures, essays

important, useful, money

knowledge, teachers, work

Learning, eye opening, boring.

learning, homework, books, essential

learning, opinions, education

MIT, backpacks, school children

MIT, classes, interesting

MIT, hard work!, peers everywhere

MIT, home, work, time

my high school, MIT, elementary school

necessary, imperfect, unifying

university, elementary, secondary

work, learning, interesting

amis, cour

apprendre, savoir, amis, professeurs


éducation, apprentissage, développement personnel, épanouissement

éducation, enseignement, aide, séparation, conflits

élève, connaissance

chance, rencontre, apprentissage, mérite, travail

cours, travail, enseignements, devoirs

enseignements, connaissance, formation, interaction


primaire, collège, potes, fêtes

respect, grandir, former


It seemed to me that French and American students think of many of the same things when it comes to the word "school"-- learning, education, the different levels of school... I thought it was interesting, though, that the MIT students noted items like "lack of sleep", "hard", and a lot of references to work in general while the Polytechnique students mentioned them to a lesser extent... how do the polytechnicians view the workload at your university?

What I noticed is how Americans used the words hard and implied that it was difficult but a lot of the French student looked at it differently. Many of the French students saw it as a growing experience both intellectually and socially or personally. Is there any emphasis on personal development or is it just understood that maturity comes at a certain age and level?

We noticed that many of the MIT students listed "MIT" as one of their words, whereas "Polytechnique" did not come up on the French list. Do you have a lot of school spirit on your campus? Many students here like to wear MIT apparel. Do students at your school like to wear clothing with your logo on it?

Overall the responses seem very similar with the differences mentioned previously by others in regards to MIT students emphasizing more their difficulty in classes. I feel that overall the French tend to think more profoundly about more abstract concepts in general while the Americans are more concrete but perhaps more superficial. I think this is a good example of some of the deep differences between the two societies and especially about the strengths of each. France with their art, gastronomy, music, and historic political contributions, and the United States with their strengths in economics and business, as well as in more superficial things such as Hollywood. Any comments about this?

Both the French and American lists of words could be borken down well in three categories: education, work, and people. The words as well as the distribution across categories was very similar between the two lists. I would not be surprised if they were the most similar two lists out of the choices.

I was curious whether the education in France is centered around breadth or depth. In the United States, the curriculum of most universities is aimed at fostering a strong intellectual basis while providing exposure to several areas. We have majors, for example I am studying chemical engineering, however, in order to pursue a professional career we must attend graduate school, medical school, law school, or business school to receive more specialized training and education. Consequently, upper education may last up to eight years. Is it the same in France? Since French students attend "les grandes ecoles" and the universities after taking courses in preparatory schools and attending other universities, is the education at Polytechnique more specialized or is it still broad like American universities?

Les études sont moins longues en France, à part pour etre médecin ou avocat. Jusqu'à il y a 2 ans, il suffisait de deux ans à l'université pour avoir un bon diplôme. Ca a changé depuis, il faut au moins 3 ans, mais c'est quand même beaucoup moins qu'aux US je pense. Je pense que l'enseignement est moins diversifé en France. Pou ce qui est de l'esprit d'école, il existe dans les écoles d'ingénieurs, et très peu à l'université. Nous avons des polos au logo de l'école, mais nous ne les portons pas beaucoup en dehors de l'école. Je pense qu'effectivement l'esprit d'école est moins fort que pour vous.

Helene-I was curious about when you talked about how long the schooling is. For a doctor or a lawyer, which you said takes a little longer than three years, how long is it in France?

One of the international students in our class said that only tourists purchase and wear clothing with his home university's logo on it. Here at MIT we get a lot of tourists everyday who come to tour our campus and look around. I am actually one of the tour guides! Do many tourists come to visit your school?

Renee : Pour etre medecin en France il faut faire entre 8 et 10 ans d'etude, selon que tu veuilles te specialiser ou pas. Ma soeur veut etre medecin, elle en est a sa 6eme annee et c'est vraiment tres long. Les etudes de medecines font parties des etudes les plus difficiles en France. Pour etre avocat, je ne sais pas exactement combien d'anne d'etudes il faut, mais je crois que c'est au moins 5 ou 6 ans.