My greatest fears are

Mes plus grandes craintes sont

being alone, being rejected by my father, and playing my saxophone.
being distant from God and not doing well in college
death of my relatives and friends, schizofrenia
death, this questionaire
going to jail, not having a good relationship with my children
losing, being fat, being poor
My greatest fear is leaving the world worse off.
not being happy
not getting into a good grad school and never being truly happy with my life and myself.
not making something of myself during my life
reality, the feeling of worthlessness, an aimless future.
spiders, snakes, and schizophrenia.
that I will remain alone for the rest of my life, that I will go to jail and that I will fail my family
that I'll be alone, or that I'll be unhappy with my life.
that people will forget history and only live to repeat the wars they have already fought
the unknown and death.

avoir des regrets au moment de ma mort
d'être inconsolable
de perdre des êtres chers.
de perdre un être chèr, de leur faire de la peine.
de voir envahit la France par des islamistes , guerre de religion, les immigrés, la perte de notre identité
de voir mourir quelqu'un de ma famille.
l'accident de ceux que j'aime et de moi
la fin du monde, la mort , la guerre, l immigration, l'islamiste
la guerre, la faminne, la mort
la non-maîtrise de soi, le ridicule, le regard des autres.
la perte des gens que j'aime, de faire souffrir
la perte des Valeurs, de notre histoire, de notre culture, par notre société et les étrangers
la solitude, la mort de mes proches, ma mort
perdre les personnes que j'aime
à venir dans le domaine des chocs civilisationnels et religieux


Doing Well in Life

I would say that in America, it is very important to succeed, especially at MIT, where people are so competitive. People expect a lot from us and we expect even more from ourselves. I think a lot of the fear comes from the fact that we don't want people to know that we are not as good as they think we are.


I think too, that there is also a lot of insecurity. In that we think that we will fail at some point, and people would be there looking/laughing at our failures...


Is immigration a big problem in France?

Fear of Personal Failures

I agree with the fact that the answers given by students from MIT have a major focus on whether one succeeds or not. In a way, this is due to the fact that the students who answered the questionaires are from a college in which mostly everybody would like to make something out of their lives professionally. However, there are also fears like gaining weight, being alone and things like that... which maybe explained by the genereally individualistic character of the americans. It is indisputable that personal failures have been the major fears of the students here in the States.

Fear of War and Lost of Identity

It has been really interesting that the greatest fears of students in France are, in one way or another, related to the fears of war and religious conflicts. It seems that students in France have a more global view of 'the greatest fears'. Moreover, the fear of religious conflicts reminds me of a law in the process of legislation in France - the law that forbids students who study in public schools from wearing headscarves to achieve a sense of unity in school. I am, therefore, wondering how the legislation affect is going to affect the lives of students. In addition, how diversed is the student community in France is like religion-wise?

Immigration in France

Why is immigration a biggest fear? What are the worries about it?

Rejections vs... Immigration?

I was intrigued by the disparity in the responses between the French and American students. It seems that, in France, the biggest concerns deal with identity, culture, immigration and religion while, in the US (though I'm sure it has probably more to do with MIT than all of the US), the biggest concern is failure and the feeling of worthlessness. I was wondering... Why immigration is such a big issue?


It seems that identity is also a big issue in France, but the part of it that's the issue is national or religious identity. I was wondering why individual identity, which ties into individualism, is viewed so negatively? Especially with the new laws regarding the wearing of headscarves in school or having outward signs of religion in public (it was mentioned in another part of the forum)...

Rejection in France

While looking at the list of responses for this sentence completion, I noticed that there was a lack of fear of rejection and worthlessness from the French students. Although I did not expect to find many, it astounds me that there is not one mention of failure or worthlessness and only one mention of rejection. As it seems to me that this is a very good thing, I'm wondering how you achieved this?


Je crois qu'il ya un malentendu entre les differentes personnes de ma classe. J'arrive un peu en arbitre! Je pense que les personnes n'ont pas peur des etrangers mais du phйnomиne de l'immigration. cela ne veut rien dire de gйnйraliser comme ca sur le fait d'une nationalitй. On ne peut pas dire qu'on a peur des etrangers. En outre la peur du phйnomиne d'immigration est tout a fait lйgitime ne serai-ce que sur le point de vue economiquie, chomage. Les immigrers sont de plus en plus en situation irrйguliиre et pour vivre ont bien besoin de travailler; ce sont des emplois en moins pour des francais. La moindre des choses d'un gouvernement est de s'occuper en prioritй de ses compatriotes.


je trouve ca d'une hyprocrisie poussйe а l'extrкme de dire qu'il n'y a pas de diffйrences entre les gens. Il faut UN IDIOT FINI pour ne pas voir de diffйrence entre un noir un jaune et un blanc. Pour la simple raison que l'un est noir, l'autre est jaune et le dernier blanc. Faire une diffйrence ne veut pas dire qu'une couleur est mieux que l'autre ; ce n'est pas un jugement c'est juste un constat.

Dйbat - vous croyez ?

Je crois que la question qui se pose est celle-lа : la France appartient-elle а quelqu'un (un groupe de personnes) tout comme les Etat-Unis appartiennent-ils а une communautй en particulier ? Je crois que le gros point commun entre "nos" deux pays c'est le cosmopolitisme. Chacun est un pays d'accueil du fait que les deux sont un pays dit "riche". Je pense en cela que le point de vue amйricain sur la crainte de l'йchec et de la rйussite en est rйvйlateur. Je me trompe ?

difference corrigй

je trouve ca d'une hyprocrisie poussйe а l'extrкme de dire qu'il n'y a pas de diffйrences entre les gens. Il faut кtre UN IDIOT FINI pour ne pas voir de diffйrence entre un noir un jaune et un blanc. Pour la simple raison que l'un est noir, l'autre est jaune et le dernier blanc. Faire une diffйrence ne veut pas dire qu'une couleur est mieux que l'autre ; ce n'est pas un jugement c'est juste un constat.

Vive la paix

Je trouve vraiment dommage que l'on s'entre tue entre nous. Et vous que avez vous des problemes de ce genre dans votre classe????

us class

Of course we do not have any of these problems here. In the US it is not politically correct to have many of the views you have mentioned. It would be considered intolerant. At MIT people were banned from hanging flags (US, Canada, Israel, Britian, Croatia, etc) because other people were offended. Additionally, some people as a joke had a party called 'ghetto party' that made fun of some steryotypes of African-Americans in this country. They were personally publicly admonished and criticized by numerous leaders: student, faculty, and administration. In fact, the head of MIT, President Vest, publicly condemned them himself. Indeed, often foriegners at MIT are shocked to find out that while freedom of speech is perhaps the most valued right/freedom in the US, it does not apply in all ways equally. While it might be politically correct to criticize things like Christianity, Bush, Republicans, America, war in Iraq, capatalism, and the wealthy, it is not considered acceptable to criticize Islam, homosexuality, abortion, and diversity. Certainly, this is true in an elite private intellectual East Coast Cambridge/Boston institution such as MIT. Thus, we never have these issues or problems here as they never come up. Everyone here beleives what is politically correct to believe.


The US certainly does have it's share of culture clashes, and there are those who believe that immigration is a bad cultural influence. But unlike France, almost everyone here decended from immigrants. One of the things we charish most is our right to follow our own cultures and backgrounds (that's why we identify with freedom and democracy, rather than specific culture). To me, the idea that immigrants should have to conform to some indentity reaks of opression and cultural elitism. Immigration is not a destructive force on some predefined, inflexible national identity; it defines that identity by adding diverse people who create it. So the argument you guys are having seems weird to me.

US culture problems

Actually, the US has its fair share of cultural problems. In some areas where the majority of people is of one culture, the introduction of a person from outside that culture creates a lot of tension. I cannot attest to that personally as I have never lived in that kind of an environment, but I have a few friends who can. However, given that MIT is located in Massachusetts, New England (where the cultures and ethnic groups located in that area are very, very diverse), it is considered rude, politically incorrect, offensive, bigoted, racist, etc. to act in a manner that might offend any of the ethnic groups in the area. Jonathan Mansfield's example demonstrates this very well. In fact, in several newspaper articles circulated in MIT, the school was condemned for not having acted quickly enough. I think that that kind of reaction probably stems from the fact that, as Isaac Cambron said, a large chunk of the people living here are immediately descended from immigrants. By immediately descended, I mean they are immigrants themselves or are first or second generation Americans. However, as I stated earlier, there are many parts of the US where the population is not as diversified. I believe that it is mostly in those areas that you will find people trying to prohibit the learning of non-English languages in school (I recall something to that effect around 7 years ago) and trying to limit immigration. But, as you'll notice if you take a look at any American dictionary, a large chunk of the words come from other languages. And I'm not only referring to Romance languages. You'll find a spattering of Indian (from India), Chinese, Japanese, Russian, French, German, etc. And, of course, English. :) And we Americans here in Massachusetts tend to take pride in that fact. I think that's probably why individual identity is so important here: there's not really a true national identity, thus we are left with our individual identity.


It seems to me that, in France, personal identity is subsumed in national identity. It seems that a large chunk of the fears on the French side have to do with a loss of culture, a loss of history. All of which has to do with national identity. Why is it that personal identity is so unimportant in relation to national identity in France? I also noticed the very, very large number of fear of death on the French side. Considering that the life expectancy of the French is rather high, I find this rather puzzling. Is there a reason for this?

issues in the US

Jonathon: you're wrong. "Politically correct to believe" completely depends on what kind of community you're in. For instance, in the South (e.g., North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi), it's completely Wrong to imply that open homosexuality is not one of the most evil sins imaginable, and, similarly, speaking against the "war in Iraq" or Bush is unthinkable. MIT just happens to be in a liberal area. And even in Cambridge, there are lots of people with varying views on abortion, captialism, etc. Actually, I was wondering, in France, are abortion or homosexuality issues at all?


Mon opinion sur le sujet de l'avortement est lйgиrement diffйrente de celle de Gaлtane (dans la classe nos opinions sont trиs partagйes!). Je pense que l'avortement est un droit et qu'il s'avиre nйcessaire dans certains cas, la durйe de ce droit n'йtant pas trиs important. Si le gouvernement autorise celui-ci jusqu'а 12 mois, c'est qu'il sait ce qu'il fait et que la loi est basйe sur des йtudes scientifiques appropriйes. Mon avis est que de nos jours, sauf exceptions, une adulte-enfant de 16 ans ayant un enfant, ce n'est pas concevable. Mais ce sujet fait appel а d'autres thиmes comme la communication dans les familles. Pour moi, il est indispensable aujourd'hui qu'il y ait un profond dialogue entre parents et enfants sur la sexualitй et ses risques et donc ses moyens de prйvention. Ce sujet reste encore trop tabou pour moi au sein de notre sociйtй. En ce qui concerne les homosexuels, je trouve honteux de les juger et de les brimer. Or, ceci est encore malheureusement trop le cas en France. Il faut кtre honnиte : ces non-dit existent depuis toujours. Aux Etats-Unis, existe t-il une communication importante au sein des familles, des mйdias ou au contraire existe t-il une certaine pudeur concernant ces sujets? Les homosexuels peuvent-ils se ballader dans la rue main dans la main sans que cela ne choque??

Oooops... I made a mistake.

Sorry. j'ai fait une erreur : ce n'est pas 12 mois mais 12 semaines. Pardon!


Homosexuality is one of those topics that everyone loves to talk about, but is afraid to say something that will offend someone else, so they leave the topic alone. In the US, there is much debate about whether homosexuals should be allowed to get married by law. In many states, they are not, and laws are being changed to say that marriage must be between a man and a woman. Whereas, some places are marrying homosexuals. In France, are homosexuals allowed to get married by the state?