annoying but necessary, money, dull

boring, long hours, coffee

boring, mundane, necessary

career, passion, goal

difficult, necessary, MIT, time-consuming

Discipline, Detail, Journey

efficient, time, effort

effort, productive, product

enjoyable, frequent, never-ending

enjoyable, provider, necessary

Exhausting, fun, routinely, adventure

General Motors, tough, decisions

job, tired, desk

Long, Effort, Frustration

mit, microsoft, summer internships

Money, Community Service, Career

money, success, holiday

money, time, family

obligation, passion, money

perseverance, studio, results

problem sets, hours upon hours, rewarding

problem sets, MIT, internship, sports

regular schedule, suits, salary,

Should be enjoyable

suffering, flow, Maslow's hierarchy of needs

tired, money, boring

work hard, play hard

argent, 35 heures, grèves

argent, épanouissement, patron

argent, contribuer, labeur

épanouissement, labeur, salaires

épanouissement, salaire, ambition

effort, sérieux, week-end

efforts, investissement, argent

Epanouissement, spécialité, importance

Etudes, utilité, production, accomplissement de soi

métier, étude, emploi

nécessaire, progrès, développement

nécessité, argent, plaisir

nécessité, équilibre

obligatoire, créer, valeur

organisation, argent, passion

participation, gagne-pain, routine

progès, activité, argent

Salaire, promotions, hiérarchie

salaire, réussite, éthique

valeur, épanouissement, mérite



It seems that for MIT students work is associated with pain and suffering of working long hours, while for French students the most frequent association is with salary. I am wondering, how popular it is to do internships between academic years in France?  Do students have work experience related to their field of study before they graduate?



En école, nous avons 3 stages à faire. Un stage d'un mois durant la première année dans l'école (bac+3) en tant qu'ouvrier pour nous faire découvrir le monde ouvrier car avant de manager des hommes, il faut connaître la pénibilité de leur travail. Ensuite à la fin de la 2eme année (bac +4), nous devons effectuer un stage assistant ingénieur de 3 à 6 mois afin de réellement appréhender le travail quotidient d'un ingénieur. Et en fin, nous avons un stage de fin d'étude de 6 mois, de préférence à l'étranger pour vraiment mener à bien un projet confié par une entreprise et effectuer le travail d'un ingénieur.

Tous ces stages sont obligatoires dans notre cursus, mais nous sommes libre de trouver le domaine dans lequel nous souhaitons effectuer le stage car l'école est généraliste.

Ensuite, je pense que quasiment tous les étudiants français ont des expérience professionnelles avant de finir leurs études, mais pas forcément dans leur domaine d'étude. Ce sont plutôt des jobs d'été pour gagner des sous avant de partir en vacance. Pour ma part toutes mes expériences professionnelles en dehors des stages sont des petits boulots dans la vente ou la manutention...

 Et au MIT, y a-t-il des stages imposés dans le cursus scolaire? ou devez-vous prendre sur vos vacances pour les faire?

De plus, je voulais savoir pourquoi le travail a une connotation si négative pour vous, sachant que vous allez quand même y passer une bonne partie de votre vie?? Pour les français, je pense que le fait d'associer travail et salaire, c'est une façon de trouver une motivation dans le fait de travailler et donc de ne pas l'endurer tous les jours. Après le salaire ne suffit pas non plus, il faut quand même trouver un travail qui nous passionne.

In general, at MIT during the year there is not too much hands-on experience required by our course of study. For engineers, the classes obviously train us so we are able to work in industry upon graduation. However, it is up to the MIT student to find experience outside the classroom. Many MIT students participate in UROPs, or Undergraduate Research, during the year or summer. And of course, we are encouraged to look for internships and summer jobs in order to complement our education in the classroom. It is also possible to gain an internship during the year, but it somewhat more rare since we are usually very busy.

While Americans indeed work for money, in the United States there is an overwhelming ambiguity associated with jobs. On the one hand, they are sometimes viewed negatively, since they can be frustrating, boring, or just not enjoyable. On the other hand, in the United States there is also the ideal of individualism, and finding the job that will bring you happiness. You will therefore also see many positive connotations with jobs. For us, a job should be a passion, and we have this notion that if you pursue this passion you will end up happy and successful. In fact, it will end up not feeling like a job at all. This ideal is portrayed all the time in popular culture, especially in movies. Every year there is at least one movie about a person who is working a miserable job, and then decides to quit, pursue his or her passion, and ends up living "happily ever after." Off the top of my head, a good example of this (though a really bad movie) is "Beauty Shop" (it's a really really bad movie, which I don't recommend you watch), and also "Office Space" (a really really good movie, which you should watch).

To me, it is interesting that French view jobs overwhelmingly as just a source of income. Is there any of this mentality of "pursuing your passion" associated with jobs?  Also, is work a common topic of everyday life? I know that in the United States people often talk about work, even on vacation. Is it a frequent topic of conversation?


I think the reason why there are many negative words from MIT students is that sometimes we have too much work to do and just start complaining. It doesn't mean that we hate to work because if we did, we wouldn't come here. I know many people who always complain about their work load but really enjoy what they do and sometimes work harder than they are required to. 

I have not grown up in US, and once I came here and had some exposure to work outside of MIT, my first impression was that people here consider job more seriously than in my country, where the successful career is not one's first priority. Here people work harder, and stay for longer hours if it is not required by the employer. Here is more competition feel as well. The more dedicated you are to your job, more hours you spend, the better chances are that you will be promoted and get a better position. I doubt that it's all for money. As a result people feel bound to stay longer and be more "dedicated" even if it exceeds 40 hrs per week.

How often employees in France stay for longer hours at work, even if they are not compensated for it?

Other possible reason for the words being negative is that that internships are not always exciting. Most of the time you do very basic things, having little or no say in the process. From my experience, it is very boring.

The internship experience definitely makes the resume more impressive. More importantly, it gives the opportunity to solve real problems, and guides us to find our own interest.

I feel students in MIT have lots of choices for both internships and jobs. And many people take it very seriously. We want to find the jobs that we are very passionate about; and money is secondary.

Do French teenagers usually have summer jobs in high school and college? Here in the US, it is usually the case, but in Ukraine, where I was born, it is unusual for high school kids to have summer jobs.


Comme Fabien l'a expliqué, nous avons pas mal de stages à faire et certains d'entre eux pendant les vacances. Nous ne pouvons donc pas travailler l'été en plus mais c'est quelque chose de fréquent chez les étudiants lorqu'ils sont libres.

Pour le travail, c'est vrai que nous parlons beaucoup d'argent parce que pour nous c'est aussi le principal moyen de gagner sa vie même si ça ne suit pas notre passion (que l'on peut avoir à coté). Néanmoins, l'argent n'est pas la priorité non plus et nous préférons avoir un boulot qui nous plait et être moins bien payé plutôt que de faire quelque chose d'ennuyant qui est très bien payé.

Pour répondre à Aron, le travail est un sujet de conversation qui reste dans le cadre professionnel et dans la semaine. Pendant les weekends ou les vacances par exemple, nous en parlons très peu.