To GT-Lorraine...and Beyond!

Over 25 years of academic excellence and adventure

Category: Campus Life (Page 4 of 9)

GTL Represent!

Posted by Harry

Recently, the Jeux de Metz Technopôle (Metz Technopôle Games) happened. With over 150 participants from local high schools, colleges, and companies, you can say it was pretty hopping. Among all the competition, 4 GTL students emerged victorious and claimed the overall first prize. Congrats to Team Petit Fromage (a.k.a. Little Cheese): Jordan Peasant, Chris Molthrop, Jon Gillespie, and Edwin Bodge!

For the competition, it included of multiple volleyball matches, a rowing machine race, and jump rope. The theme was glow in the dark, and all competitors were given a white T-shirt and got splattered with glow-in-the-dark paint.

Jonathon stated this: “We all enjoyed the games very much. It will be one of my best memories for the year. ”

Congrats again guys!

One Week Off

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I slowly come to, as I squint, protecting my rested eyes from the mid-morning sunlight just peeking through my curtains. As I roll over I check my phone for the time, it’s somehow 10am. Considering that I came home only six and half hours ago, I would expect to feel more tired. Knowing it’s a “class-less” Friday morning, I force myself to go back to sleep. As the day finally gets going around 2pm, I start to feel a sadness come over me, and so begins my weekend off, free from the “burdens” traveling.
There are no ridiculously early trains this weekend, no hostels to find, no trying to sound polite in a new language or practicing an old, familiar one. Everything about this weekend is familiar. I sit in my same room, looking at my same computer, catching up on new, and then later homework. Soon I began to realize I’ve become addicted to the phenomenon of travel. Every hour or so, my mind begins to fade. Over and over again I go back to thinking of what could’ve been. What if I traveled this weekend? Where might I have gone? What might I have done? On and on the thought train goes. Eventually I come to the conclusion that I made my choice and must live with-it. And as little comfort as that provides it is correct. Sometimes you have to be an adult.
I’ve been having so much fun this first month and half in I forgot this is indeed a real semester, full of tests, homework, etc. The GTL weekends make it all more bearable than an average semester. The new sights, sounds, friendships all cloud over you so quickly you’re lucky if you remember the ride. Time passes much slower here than on a train or in a foreign country. The weather certainly doesn’t help, the day began with downpours and finishes the same. As I look out the window and barely make out the sun, the day seems to drag on.

As I finish statics after what seems an eternity, I glance at my watch. It’s only 5pm. Barely three hours of my day is used. Next comes my Aerospace homework, then Differential Equations and so on. A much more productive weekend is in play as I begin to knock things out. But still I feel guilty. I know that sometimes we must be grownups and do work, yet it still feels like a bed rail. To fly across the Atlantic and be in a study abroad program, then not travel is disappointing. Unfortunately this is what we do, students study and so while my weekend was not as glamourous as others it sets me up for an easy coming week. One in which I can plan an even better weekend and get right back on track.
However, I sit here writing this, on a Saturday night. You never know what the future brings, and with one more day of the weekend left, anything is still possible.

Getting a Haircut in France: A Guide

Recently, I got my first haircut here. It was a good experience. I’d just like to share it and some helpful information too.

Where:

harry-w8-p1-p1 harry-w8-p1p-2

Luckily for us, there’s two places conveniently located in CORA (another reason why CORA is probably my favorite place in Metz) so you can knock out two birds with one stone. There’s Saint James, which I went to on GTL Deputy Dean of Students Karen Pierce’s recommendation; and Diagonal, which is like a Great Clips, also according to Karen. Haircut places are called “coiffeurs.”

What To Do:

So I walked in, and the nice ladies in the front directed me to this comfortable seat as I waited my turn. By the way, they don’t speak English at Saint James (or Diagonal) so I was pretty much winging it all on basic French and non-verbal communication. When my turn came up, they shampooed it before-hand. After reading up on it, I think it’s a necessary thing in France to do because of hygienic reasons. Following the shampoo, I got into the barber’s seat and I told the barber two things: 1) “dégradé” (fade) and pointed to the sides and back of my head and 2) “mi-longs” (medium) and pointed to the top of my head. She looked a little confused. Luckily, she pulled out a book with a bunch of different hairstyles and I was able to point out a fade on one the pictures and we were good to go from there. My hair up top got cut a little shorter than I wanted it to, but it’ll grow back. It was a solid, refreshing haircut which was much needed at the top. I said my “Merci beaucoup” after leaving, didn’t get an after shampoo and just biked back to the dorm and shampooed there.

My hair isn’t too hard to do so I only had two requests but if you’re looking for something fancy, you can always show a picture or here’s a list of basic French haircut vocab if you need it! (from expatica.com)

Basic hairdressing services in French: Prestations de base proposees
Haircut: une coupe de cheveux
Shampoo: le shampooing
Colouring and highlights: les couleurs et mèches
Set or styling: la mise en pli
Perm: la permanente
Haircare and treatments: les soins et traitements
A blow-dry or straightening: le brushing
Top salon: un coiffeur haut de gamme
Local salon: coiffeur de quartier
Basic French hair terms
Your hair: vos cheveux (always masculine, plural)
Fine: fins
Thick: épais
Oily: gras
Dry: secs
Mixed: mixtes
Normal: normaux
Curly: bouclés
Frizzy: frisés
Smooth: lisses
Damaged: abîmés
Dyed: colorés
Permed: permanentés
Dandruff: pellicules
Cowlick: un épi
A lock of hair: une mèche
French terms for getting a haircut
Short or long: la coupe courte ou longue
Layered: en dégradé
Blunt cut: au carré
Clean cut/well-defined: bien dégagée
Asymmetrical: asymétrique
Square tapered: style carré effilé
Layered on top: dégradé sur le dessus
Short, layered look: une coupe courte tout en dégradé
Short ‘windblown’ layered look: dégradé déstructuré
‘Just out of bed’ look: indiscipliné
Highlights or streaks: les mèches
Hair weaving or foiling: balayage
Bangs: une frange
Hair part: une raie
Hair ends: les pointes

If you want to see more haircut vocab, check out Expatica.com (where the above is from) and FrenchLearner.com.

Meet Your Wardens: Ola Johnson

Posted by James

ola-johnsonIn the last installment of “Meet Your Wardens” we take a look at our “temporary RA,” Ola Johnson (pictured on the left). Ola is considered the third tier RA and provides assistance to Angel and Lara. This includes filling in for them when they travel, assistance in situations needing extra care, etc.
Ola is a third year Mechanical Engineering Student from Lagos, Nigeria. Speaking to Ola, it is clear to see how his life and personality have affected him. Ola speaks in a very passionate and direct manner, usually with ensuing laughter or smiles all around. From my first days at Georgia Tech Lorraine I kept hearing the name “Ola.” Ola’s so good at Ping Pong, Ola the cool RA, Ola this, Ola that. He was very popular and made friends with everyone early on. Friendships and getting to know people were one of Ola’s many reasons for becoming an RA. He didn’t plan to travel as much and simply wanted to become involved in a community while studying abroad. Working as a PL, or Freshman Experience Peer Leader, at the Atlanta campus every semester, Ola felt it was time to take the next step with more responsibility. Once again, the term community is part of our RA’s vocabulary. The signs bode well for the GTL campus becoming a close-knit group of friends.
Ola has only recently become acquainted with the US, visiting the first time for college in Atlanta. Originally planning to follow his family to London and pursue higher education there, Ola has an interesting story for picking Georgia Tech. The sister of his high school roommate went to Tech and invited him for a visit. After seeing the rankings and visiting, he became a fully-fledged Yellow Jacket. Since then Ola has been completing 2.5 straight years of school or 7 straight semester of Tech. From speaking to Ola it is clear to see he is a very intelligent, driven young man. Midway through the interview the conversation turned as he began asking questions of me and used his inquisitive nature to gain yet another friend. The topics quickly change to our travel plans and where we went in past weeks. This in turn led to bond much stronger than just friendship, but one between soccer fans, one between United – Manchester United – fans!
Eventually getting back to the interview, Ola revealed his reasons for his particular major. He chose Mechanical Engineering to be able to work in any field. He wasn’t sure exactly what he wanted to do later in life. Stating “I didn’t want to choose something specific, I knew I didn’t want to be specialized.” This prompted him to choose a field that has very wide applications. However, one thing he is truly interested in is computer science and artificial intelligence. Therefore, he is also pursuing a minor in Artificial Intelligence.
Our second RA who is an international student, and our third who speaks multiple languages, Ola rounds out our already impressive roster of RA’s for this semester. With community being part his motto as well, Georgia Tech Lorraine students can sleep well assured that this semester will be unlike any in Atlanta, and perhaps the rest of college.

One Month In

Posted by James

One month into our studies here at Georgia Tech Lorraine, and already life has changed. The other day I was talking to a friend of mine about just this.

He said, “What do you miss most about home?” And for the longest time I couldn’t think of an answer. It took me two days to finally produce something tangible. The reason for such a time lapse is based on how I’ve approached this study abroad. As in earlier blog posts, the advice I’ve gathered from others or given myself has to do with being open minded. As Americans we tend to believe our way of doing this is better than other countries. Not the case, for many things.

For instance, today I went on a tour of our local superstore CORA. Harry has already written about its marvelous wonders. The importance of this tour was that it was given by our French professor. She explained to us the ins and outs of how local French people shop. As we were leaving one aisle she stated, “Real quick, I want to show you all the sweets before we end class for the day!” Instantly I was thinking of chocolate and ice cream, my common comfort foods, but she showed us “petit Suisse” or little Swiss, a dairy-based product that most French people eat with sugar. This is just one of the many things that is different between French and American culture. So one month in, I’ve been soaking it all in, thinking and observing all the minute differences: the fact that Europeans only seem to drive hatchbacks, that French people eat bread with every meal, the different attitudes people give you when you approach them in their native language, how Europeans do their shopping daily, and that soccer is ingrained in everyone on this continent, and more. The list goes on and on for differences in terms of culture and ways of living.

In terms of academia there is also a large difference between the teaching dynamic here at Georgia Tech Lorraine and of the teaching in Atlanta. In Atlanta, class sizes are usually much larger even for selective classes in selective majors. The maximum number of students living here at GTL this semester is slightly under 200. Due to the much smaller class sizes, classes seem to be more intimate. The professors will tell jokes to lighten the moods during difficult lectures. Professors also pay more attention to the individual then in Atlanta, and the class size allows for this to happen. I find myself having one on one conversations with my professors on an almost daily basis. Here, the emphasis is on learning the material. To quote my AE professor Dr. Zaid, “we want to make sure you understand the concepts first, the big ideas!”

In closing, some more advice. These last weeks have flown by, mainly because I was paying attention to them. If you open up to the differences and accept them you will see the joy it can cause. Everything is a new experience, which is very rare for anyone over 5 years old. Every day I wake up not knowing what part of my day will be filled with amazing adventure. However, I know it is bound to happen. This is the beauty of studying abroad and immersing yourself in a foreign environment.

 

Fixing Your Technological Issues: IT Manager Jean Jacques

Name: Jean Jacques Michel

Position: Information Technology

Years at GTL: 11 years

Interests/Hobbies: Working with computers and electronics.

One line to describe GTL: “An interesting opportunity to work in a different system in relationship with Atlanta and with American people”

Piece of advice for students: Go out and explore!

In an urban Metz folk tale, it spoke of a man who has been roaming the halls of the Georgia Tech-Lorraine building for many years. It’s the guy pictured above. Jean Jacques Michel, our resident information technology manager, has actually worked in the GTL building for the past 21 years! Georgia Tech-Lorraine used to sublet space to an electronics company and Jean-Jacques worked for that company in the beginning. So it’s safe to say he’s seen his fair share of progress of this institution throughout the years. He’s been here almost from the beginning, and watched the number of students grow and grow, each and every year.

Due to the small size of GTL, it seems like every administration member I meet is a do-everything superhero in their own department. Mr. Michel’s sector is technology. From plugs in the wall, the audio-visual projectors in the classroom, and even the printing, he handles and fixes every little bug that comes across our way. He truly loves his work, as his favorite feeling comes when solving a problem that arises.

I know that during my time here, I’ve never ran into any technological issues thus far and it’s thanks to this guy. If you’re having a smooth time with the technology here and manage to catch this guy around, thank him for all that he does because it’s truly something we should appreciate!

The Student Lounge

Posted by Harry

Panorama of the student lounge.

One of my favorite places to be is the student lounge. If I had to find the “heart” of Georgia Tech Lorraine, it’d be here. This is where all the students (both undergrad and graduate) come to do a variety of things. GTL has always been known to be a “community,” and this is a huge contributing factor. From morning until night, this place is always bustling with people.
Located conveniently on the first floor (in France, this is actually the 0th floor, known as rez-de-chaussée) right past the front door, it’s easily accessible to all. Here, you can meet all the wonderful cohorts that are on this adventure together. Whether it’s talking about what happened the past weekend or what you’re going to do the next weekend, no one is a stranger here. Sharing and hearing experiences of others has been very fulfilling and rewarding and gives me a place to add to my bucket list!
There’s also quite the academic side to this room as well. There’s a plethora of desks and chairs on wheels to (1) make a custom desk set-up (2) move to a custom location of choice (3) super tables for group work sessions (4) any other fun things you wish to do with desks and and chairs on wheels. Computers with various software are also made to accommodate our academic needs.
Finally, my personal favorite aspect is the ping pong table and pool table. It’s a wonderful way to let some competitive energy out and take a nice break from the hard work that we put in during the day.
Come one, come all! There’s a place at the student lounge for everyone!

Shopping at CORA

I’d like to compare the CORA sign to Eyes of T.J. Eckleburg in “The Great Gatsby,” because CORA is always watching.

I’d like to introduce you to CORA. A nickname I call CORA is “The Provider”, since it contains everything you could possibly need to survive a semester (and more!) at Georgia Tech Lorraine. Its American twin would be Super Wal-Mart.

Upon my first visit to CORA, I was a little lost. I had to get my backpack plastic wrapped by security, the signs were all in French, and I had no idea what I needed to get for my dorm room. So I did the only logical thing: walk up and down CORA’s (estimated) 50 aisles to see what I needed. I spent much more time than I should have, but through this process I got everything I needed in the moment, saw things I would need in the future, and made a mental map of this grocery labyrinth.

Some general tips and tricks I have:

1) Bring your own shopping bags and backpacks. No bags are provided so one must carry it all the way back with their own bags. As I mentioned from an earlier blog, travel backpacks are excellent for this.
2) Bring a 1€ coin. This is the deposit needed to get a shopping cart, much like Aldi’s in America. There are these blue rolling shopping baskets, but the cart comes in clutch for both keeping your backpacks and bags in and also for the large amount of groceries one trip has.
3) Eggs and milk are stored refrigerated…so wander about aimlessly in the refrigerated aisle for 10 minutes as someone did…
4) Be open to trying new foods! We’re in France, so there are many things that don’t normally get eaten in the US that are wonderful.

And lastly, be good to CORA, and CORA will be good to you. 🙂

Meet Your Wardens: Angel Sanchez

Posted by James.

One of GTL’s fabulous RA’s, Angel!

And the EE’s have it! It appears that more than half of our RA staff is comprised of electrical engineers. I’m not sure what the qualities of this major have to do with being helpful, speaking foreign languages and wanting to be an RA; however, we won’t ask questions. Our second edition of this issue is Angel Sanchez a 3rd year electrical engineer.
Like Lara, Angel also speaks another language besides English. He doesn’t quite speak six languages, just the one – Spanish. However, Angel is fluent in Spanish because he was born in Cali, Colombia. As the son of two immigrants, I have firsthand experienced that your life isn’t the same as an average American. Angel’s experience is an even greater amplification of this statement. He moved to Georgia at the age of five. When asking Angel about his childhood he responded by saying, “Being from Colombia has really affected my life. I grew shy in part because of the language barrier.” Angel struggled with English up until middle school. At this point in his life, Angel became more outgoing and is continuing to better this aspect of himself. This brings him to GTL.
A common theme I am picking up on from our RA’s is a sense of community. Each has their own aspirations of building a better living, learning, friendship environment here at GTL. Angel is no different. What drew him to being one of our Resident Advisors was the ability to resolve conflict. He states “being an RA gives me the opportunity to resolve conflict and therefore build a better community. This aspect could once again stem from his birth, as Colombia has been dealing with conflict issues for several decades and perhaps Angel wishes to hone his skills to one day help his homeland.

Angel is looking to host social events throughout the semester for both the students and faculty of GTL in an effort to create new friendships and once again, a better community. This sense of “closeness” was one of the many things I looked forward to this semester. Angel understands this the same, being such a small group of students of only 150 or so compared our normal fifteen thousand plus back in Atlanta is a great opportunity to make lifelong friendships. (The friendships that are formed by taking 3am trains together to Amsterdam for instance.) It seems that this sense of community is a core moral of Angel’s, even contributing to his choice of major.
Like Lara once again, Angel originally became interested in Electrical Engineering due to its vast impact in the real world. “I like how electricity is involved in almost everybody’s life.” However, unlike Lara, Angel seems to be driven by this sense of community in terms of his future goals. Angel loves the challenge of such a hard major and strives to create a better world using his knowledge, as he’d be “improving the technology most people use.” He would like to get a job that focuses on semiconductors and/or computers.
In closing, I’ll leave you with some wise words from Angel. In our efforts to understand foreign culture and its people understand the differences and appreciate them. “Being Colombian has also taught me to be more thankful for the things I have. I get reminded every time I go visit Colombia and see the poverty so many people struggling financially!” Be proud of where you come from and the roots that hold you, but also extend olive branches to others and perhaps they will do the same for you.

Working Towards a More Energy Efficient Tomorrow: Graduate Student Matt Jordan

Posted by Harry.

Photo courtesy of Matt Jordan.

Name: Matt Jordan

Major/Field of Study: Electrical and Computer Engineering

Year in Graduate School: Starting 4th year

Undergraduate Institution: University of Richmond in Virginia

Interests/Hobbies: Playing the trumpet and tour cycling

One piece of advice for graduate students: “It’s not just about being in the right place. It’s about being there at the right time too.”

Baguette or Croissant? Croissant. It gets even better with chocolate.

Meet Matt Jordan, a man from the southern part of the USA. After obtaining his Master’s Degree at Alabama, he chose Georgia Tech Lorraine as his next destination in his studies. During his time here, he has had his hand in many different research topics around the Electrical and Computer Engineering department. Currently, his focus is on making solar energy more energy efficient by maximizing the amount of electricity generated for the least amount of cost.

Matt had some really nice options on the table when picking a school after his Master’s. Alongside GTL, he also had an offer from Stanford (wow!). GTL was the enticing option for him because of the opportunity to work with people across the globe and live in Europe. It’s definitely worked out, as he has gotten to work on a variety of projects and integrated himself into the graduate student “family” here. Upon completion of his degree, he hopes to take his research skills to the next level at a US national lab.

Outside of class, you can call Matt a renaissance man. He can play the trumpet, cycle for kilometers on end, and is a passionate skier too. His one recommendation to undergrads who like skiing is to go to the Alps. I’m not much of a skier so I probably won’t take that advice, but I will pass it on to those who do!

If you’re ever looking for some advice from an established graduate student in the ECE field or just looking for someone chill to hang out with, don’t be afraid to drop by the PhD students’ office and say hi to Matt!

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