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Friday, September 23, 2011

Advice: Le Master in France

The day after mom left I had no time to be emotional, the sadness from the morning wore off as I returned to worked and drowned myself in telephone calls and student follow ups.  Quick enough that too passed and I found myself zombieing towards the direction of school to go to one of my many many classes for my Master's program in France.  That's right, after a year of intensive French via the CIEF program at Lyon II I enrolled into a specialty International Management Master under the Frenchity-French name of: Master 2 en Internationale Management des Petites et Moyens Entreprises et Entreprises Tailles Intermediares.  Simply put in our 25 people class slang, M2PMETI.

Classes officially started last week, of course I was stressing before they even begun.  I remembered the foreign students in my Business classes- how, in utmost honesty, I dreaded having them on my team because I knew we'd have to explain everything.  During roleplays we'd give them the easy role, minimalist lines and try to support them... I was going to become that foreigner.  A week before the classes were to start I already started to have nightmares, I would show up to class and suddenly all my French would disappear and I couldn't understand a word from the teacher ni the students.

Of course starting off wasn't super easy either, looking back at last week my notes are written in short-hand, scribbled nonsense sentences and sometimes a vocabulary word scratched on the top of the paper with a huge QUESTION MARK.  It was nice having some recognition for what I am doing, I kept mentioning l'importance de changer le stéréotype Américain, that, ce n'est pas juste que dans le domaine des affaires tout le monde faut parler en Anglais.  I pushed the fact that I was the only business student AMERICAN that I knew with such a fluent level and respect for the French culture.

See, most people who come over, come to sort of suck up the culture.  Learn about the literature, the gastronomy, cooking skills, methodology to teach French back in the States- I decided to utilize my strength and experience in Business and learn that aspect.

Plus a Master in France only costs like 250€ payable in 3 installements of 83€!  Calculating my Master costs in the US made my head spin- and I couldn't stand the fact I would have to rack up more debt to get an education.. so I bit the bullet and found a program that fit my goals and applied.

The interview was in July; with a lovely lady who seemed ravie that I had applied to the program.  I was the first American in a long time, I would be a great part of the program.. etc.  Plus I'd get to try and do an INTERNSHIP with a company in Lyon... which is another stress in my mind.....

Now the question, what is it like in a French Masters Program?

Well, hard of course.  There is always the language barrier- which some professors are kind and give lots of synonyms during their lectures so we foreigners understand- but unfortunately it's not always that easy.  I have one professor that talks so fast I only have a moment to digest what he said and get it until he suddenly jets off in a separate direction... I have the innate feeling he has a slight ADD... but it's dommage because he is one cute dude. (But married for those of you looking for the marriage way of staying in France).

I have a mix of classes, Business Plan classes, classes about the Industrial Economy... I think the hardest part about the information is the changing of the words.  In business the French have tried to find equivalent words for everything we already have jargon for in the States- for example a Greenfield Venture has now become ex nihilo.  WTF?

Now, probably wondering how to get all enrolled in a Master program in France?  It's quite easy:

  1. Go to the Lyon 2 or Lyon 3 website and search what they offer as formations or masters
  2. Pick out what you like and sign up online to deposer un candidature
  3. Remember all those pesky documents: releves des notes, lettre de motivation, CV
  4. Apply once all documents are ready
  5. Wait for a response
If you are nervous about your carte de séjour running out- fret not because when you reapply you don't need proof of school until September.  They understand students are waiting for a response..

And word to the wise:  Don't attempt a Master's Program in France until you watch French news and understand what is going on.  Otherwise opt for an English based program (such as those offered at Lyon 3) or a language based program (such as the CIEF)

bonne chance!


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