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Category: Campus Life (Page 6 of 9)

Places to Relax Around Georgia Tech-Lorraine

Posted by Lindsay

The mixture of traveling every weekend, and studying all week can be tiring. But there are some awesome places around campus to relax and take a break.

The Student Lounge

The student lounge in the Georgia Tech-Lorraine building isn’t just for studying. The lounge has a ping pong table where students can play for free. There is also a small lending library where students can borrow books and just return them when they are done reading them. The lounge also has nice comfortable chairs which are great to read in, as I can attest. This is also where most of the BDE events, like game night and trivia, are held.

 

The Lake

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Across the street from the Georgia Tech-Lorraine building there is a small lake with a track around it. There are several benches around the lake to sit and enjoy the scenery. There are also ducks that are found at the lake, as well as swans. It is always nice to sit in the sun and watch the ducks swim.

 

Paul’s

Paul’s is located in between the GTL building and the Lafayette dorms. They have indoor and outdoor seating where you can order a coffee and sweets and enjoy the weather. There aren’t many Starbucks located around GTL, so Paul’s is the next best thing, with the added benefits of freshly made sweets and bread.

 

The Dorms

If all else fails, the dorms offer a lounge where students can relax as well as study. It is also not unusual to walk down the hallways of the dorms and see all the doors open and students chatting in the hallway. This open and welcoming community of students is a great way to make new friends. There are also usually pickup games of soccer or Ultimate Frisbee happening around the dorms.

 

My Favorite Aloes RA: Rachael LeRoux

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Posted by Morgan

Hometown: Suwanee, Georgia

Major: Industrial Engineering

Year: Rising junior

 

Don’t be alarmed by my title. I rarely choose favorites because I hate confrontation; however, in this case I just had to do a light stab twist at the other RA, Tim, who insists he is the funnier and better Aloes RA. Sorry Tim!

Tim and Rachael

Tim and Rachael

Jokes aside, Rachael is pretty awesome! I might be biased because she is my sorority sister, but if you met her you’d understand why. She has a genuine personality and is easy to talk to which makes her such a good RA. While she doesn’t always know the answers to our questions (it is her first time here too) she has no problem in trying to help us out, even if it means politely asking the French Aloes residents to quiet down at 1am on a Tuesday night…and then staring down the French residents until they quiet down.

For Rachael, her decision to apply as an RA was due to the fact that she felt she would work better if she had more responsibilities. Netflix is time consuming as are those much needed naps, but the light duties of a GTL RA help her keep the Netflix tab closed and the IE 3039 notes open. Maybe I should have applied to be an RA then?

Outside of classes, Rachael leads a busy life. She is very involved in her sorority, Alpha Phi, working as director of sisterhood. This means she helps plan events and keep the documentation organized. She is also secretary for the foundation for international medical relief of children. Next year, she hopes to volunteer at the Humane Society and possibly get a Coop. Clearly she keeps a busy schedule but that doesn’t stop her from working hard in the classroom.

Her favorite part about the GTL classes are the professors, who use the small class size to their advantage. Rachael commented on the professors saying, “I like that the professors are more laid back because they know that you are here to get international experiences and traveling.” That is by no means to say that the professor will exempt you from a test so you can leave a day early for travel, but they will work with the class and discuss a good test day if one week is heavier than the other. Clearly the GTL professors have a good relationship with the students.

But what about travel? Being an RA doesn’t prevent you from traveling or keeping up on your studies according to Rachael. I’ve also learned from her that you don’t have to go very far to have fun; her favorite experience so far was actually going to the Metz fair. A prior French exchange student of her family lives in Metz, so he took her around and gave her the real French experience. She got to go on all the fun rides and get a feel for Metz from a non-tourist perspective. That’s something I wish I could say!

While she didn’t have to travel far for this experience, she does have to travel far to get to Italy, the place she is most excited to visit. “There is Pompeii, Sorrento, the Amalfi Coast.” She wants to see it all! This is something I am excited to do with her as we will travel around Italy together. If you can’t tell already, she is a pretty cool person to have as a travel buddy.

Me and my travel buddy

Me and my travel buddy

All in all, Rachael enjoys being an RA. “Believe it or not being an RA with the Tech students is easy,” it’s “having to deal with the French students who live on my hall that’s hard,” says Rachael. She usually does her rounds around 8pm, making sure there are no problems or disturbances and she keeps a phone on her for emergencies while she studies. Thanks to Rachael though the aloes residents can rest easy, being assured they have an RA to go to for questions, to get advice, and even to help with those “cultural differences”-aka late-night partying French students.

 

 

Le Déjeuner

posted by Morgan

Lunch, otherwise known as “le déjeuner,” is the most important meal of the day in France. Fortunately for us Georgia Tech students, most of whom can probably solve a triple integral with more ease than cooking some chicken, lunch is provided to us at the local cafeteria.

Please do not be alarmed by my use of the word “cafeteria.” It is not the horrifying place most of us remember from high school, where the pizza is equivalent to cardboard and the frozen peas are still frozen. In fact I have had a few friends that say it is as good as their mother’s cooking (I was blessed with an extraordinary cook for a mother so I can only go so far to say that it is “pretty good”).

During the first few weeks here, the process of actually obtaining the food was a little stressful. Yes, you stand in line and grab the food as you go down the aisle, but they have a very strict policy on how much of each item you can get. For example, you can get two items from the last section which has fruits, desserts, cheese, and yogurt but only one item from the first section, which consists of appetizers and salads. If you take more than the allotted amount you will have a French woman waving her finger disapprovingly at you and grumbling some unidentifiable words. But if you take less than the allotted amount, for instance you skip the chocolate mousse dessert, you will still get the same disapproving response. There is the added fact that they only allow you a maximum of two meager ketchup packets which, as an American, just seems unjustifiably tragic to me on those days they serve french fries. After about a month here though, I can confidently say that I have mastered the process of going through the lunch line. Now I just pass on through and then find a seat at a table with friends, enjoying that french bread we students so eagerly chow down on but then later regret eating.

The entrees are always tasty too. Each day is different. Sometimes it is hot dogs wrapped in bacon and cheese. Other days it is pasta with butter and tomato sauce. The most special day so far was when we had croissants that were filled with some type of magical goodness. In short, everyone’s lunch tray is covered with various foods. Overall, our cafeteria, Crous, is a nice place to eat lunch, catch up with friends, and enjoy a break from classes. It might not be the student center with Chick-fil-A or North Ave. with an ice-cream machine, but it we enjoy it all the same.

The Best Study Spots at Georgia Tech-Lorraine!

Having just completed hell-week, the most tumultuous, tiring, tear jerking time next to finals week, I have discovered a few of the best places to study. Here they are!

Studying in the lounge

Studying in the lounge

The Student Lounge: The equivalent of the culc, if you are looking for a convenient place to casually work in between classes this is the place! While there is no starbucks or gorgeous views of Atlanta, there are some comfy couches and a coffee and vending machine. Plus, it is a great place to run into people and say hi!

 

The Lake: On those rare days that it is not raining, this is the most tranquil and beautiful place to study. The campanile pales in comparison. Take your notes with you and sit on a bench or lie under a tree! There is no better spot!

Studying by the lake

Studying by the lake

 

An Abandoned Class-Room: If you want some peace in quiet in a central location, this is the way to go. It’s kind of like the equivalent to our library or a study room. At the end of your day you can meet up with a classmate and go over work in a quiet and peaceful place. Since classes tend to die down around 5 pm you can usually find an empty classroom around then. No long distance walking to dorms is necessary!

 

Dorm room kitchen

Dorm room kitchen

The Kitchen: The kitchen has been my favorite place to work on CS hw. I can pull out my laptop and spend an hour or two with friends writing some code. We don’t have to worry about disrupting other people, and the best part, we can cook and eat dinner while we work! Multitasking is key if you want to be a true Tech student!

 

Your Dorm: This is the best place for people who like to work late into the night. The GTL building is not the culc, open 24 hours a day. Because most people at GTL have their own rooms, working in your dorm with your light on at 1 am is an viable option. While I don’t find it to be the most enjoyable atmosphere, it is the best place for me to knock out some work!

Dorm room

Dorm room

These are the places I study at most often! Believe me, you will study on this study abroad, so find the right place for you so that you make the most of this experience!

One Room Schoolhouse

When I started looking at colleges in high school, the one thing I knew that I wanted was a large school, a school so large that I could easily meet someone new every day of class. Georgia Tech proved to be a nice compromise to this desire with a student body of around 15,000. Having recently completed my freshman year at Georgia Tech I can honestly say that the classes, the people, even the professors in the large lecture halls were exactly what I wanted. Then came GTL, where the class sizes quickly drop from 250 to 20 students, the office hours are held by request instead of daily, and the TA’s are non-existent.

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Walking into the GTL building, you realize the sheer meagerness in size. It is not the Clough Commons where your legs tire from walking in search of your classroom. The entire campus is made up of one building. There are only about 10 classrooms, each colored coded instead of listed by room number. Instead of huge projector screens that span across the walls, there is one small screen at the front of the room. Add the fact that there is only one outlet in every room instead of a personal outlet rooted into your desk and it makes me feel like I am in a one room schoolhouse.  I did not think I would particularly enjoy this small environment of learning, yet GTL classes have given me a positive, new perspective for my education.

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There is a personal feel to it. For example, my computer science class has only about 20 students or so and one professor. The usual size for this class is closer to 150 students, but our small class size allows us to have a one-on-one relationship with the professor. The ability of our professor to ask us our opinions on tests and quizzes and then give feedback right away would have been impossible in Atlanta. Students can also ask in-depth questions, hold conversations such as “what works better, the enumerate function or a for loop?,” and can even take the time to learn more details about the professor on a personal level. I have learned, for instance, that Professor Simpkins is afraid of heights but used to be in the air force.

In short, my classes have a calmer more personal atmosphere, but I am still able to “enjoy” the rigors of sitting down and debugging some code with friends after class. With one building for a campus, we students get an idea of what a small college feel is like. While it might not be the hustle-bustle of Georgia Tech Atlanta, it is still a stimulating environment that we enjoying coming to, even if it is at 8:30 in the morning.

Where to Eat Near Georgia Tech-Lorraine

Unlike at the Georgia campus, dinner is not included in any of the meal plans for the GTL student. This means that every evening each GTL student needs to fend for themselves. No need to worry though as there are several options for dinner. There is the obvious option to cook dinner in the dorms, but for those times when you’re too busy to cook here are your options:

Paul

Image source: Paul.fr

Image source: Paul.fr

Paul is located about halfway between Lafayette and the GTL building. Paul has several options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Throughout the day they have fresh baked bread, pastries, sandwiches, salads, and desserts. Each day they have a slightly different selection, making sure that you don’t get bored eating the same thing every day.

 

Crous

CROUS dining hall

CROUS dining hall

While dinner isn’t included in the meal plan, lunch at Crous is included. That being said for 3€ dinner at Crous can be purchased. Dinner at Crous typically includes a choice of two entrees, one seafood option and one non-seafood meat options. Some of the options included so far this semester were chicken fingers, ham and grilled cheese, pork and macaroni, among others. They have a variety of cold sides each night including oranges, apples, watermelon, a variety of cheeses, yogurt, and mousse. One or two hot sides are available each night as well such as scalloped potatoes, green beans, and pasta.

 

La Boite à Pizza

Image source: laboiteapizza.com

Image source: laboiteapizza.com

La Boite à Pizza is the local pizza place that is located next to Paul, and is within walking distance from GTL. Let me tell you La Boite à Pizza is not your typical pizza place. They have a selection of gourmet and traditional pizzas made with fresh ingredients. They even have deals every Monday and Thursday for any medium pizza for 6€50!

These are the options available within walking distance of GTL, but there are always the restaurants in Metz if you get tired of these.

 

Visiting the Doctor While at GTL

MK-doctor

What do you do when you get sick abroad? Everyone gets sick occasionally, especially when we travel as much as we do. Last week, I caught the common cold, and just like at the Georgia campus if you are too sick to go to class you have to go to the doctor. There are a few English-speaking doctors near GTL – the one I visited is located right off the Mettis bus line, and is the GTL-recommended physician.

After getting sick, I headed to the doctor with the cost of the visit in cash. This doctor doesn’t accept credit cards and it is advised to bring exact change; 23€. Just make sure to keep your receipt as the GTL insurance will reimburse you later. Seeing the doctor here was different than visiting one in the US though. The doctor’s office is located in the back of a large apartment complex right next to the bus station.

After walking into the building I was expecting to see a reception desk or a hallway which lead to an office with a reception desk. That was not the case; when you walk into the building there are a few chairs and this is where you wait for the doctor to come and ask you into his office. Once this happens, you go in and tell him what is wrong. There is a difference in the office setting as well; while in the US you would typically talk to the doctor in an examination room whereas at this doctor’s office, you talk to him in his office.

Unlike in the US where you can make an appointment with a general physician, in France the doctor has open hours where you go to wait to see him. This makes it slightly difficult to get in to see the doctor. Be sure to make it to the open hours early to try to limit the time that you spend waiting to see the doctor when you are sick.

Overall, while the experience was new, the entire visit was quick and effective. I walked out of the office with a prescription for some cold medicine and an excused absence note for my professors.

Time Management

Posted by Morgan

“There are never enough hours in the day”

Georgia Tech Lorraine (GTL)

Georgia Tech Lorraine (GTL)

My mom always told me this as she attended my soccer games, cooked my sister and I dinner, spent the day coding at her job, attended my band concerts, picked me up from field hockey, sorted the junk mail, cleaned the house, and helped me with my homework. As a child, I did not understand this statement, but as a student at Georgia Tech Lorraine, I could not hear her any more clearly.

Packing your weekends with sightseeing, train rides, 12 mile walks through the city, and a few hours of sleep is tiring. When the school week finally returns and your back at GTL, you want nothing more than to collapse in your dorm room and sleep. But, being Tech students, we don’t really have that option. The classes are hard and while the professors are understanding, the pace is still fast. As a result, I have had to learn how to manage my time efficiently.

While this was a skill I learned my freshman year of college, the rules are different here at GTL. Instead of balancing school, social life and sleep, you must balance travel, social life, school and sleep. I’ve learned a little bit along the way though that I think has helped.

  • Study Groups: Even if you don’t know anyone in your class at GTL, the class sizes are small, so you have to just grab someone and ask them to study with you. It reduces the time you spend mulling over problems and actually helps you learn the concepts better.
  • Office Hours: Yes we have these in Atlanta too, but often times you can get more one on one time with your professor. You can ask them to explain a concept or work through a detailed problem with you. They are the equivalent of your TA now.
  • Studying on the Train: When I say “study on the train,” I do not mean bring your textbooks and laptop. You simply will not have the patience or time for that. Instead, pull out a few notes you think are necessary or important. Then try downloading power-point presentations onto your phone. It will save you space and time.
  • Sleeping on the train: Find sleep whenever you can. If you’re on a train, but wide awake and don’t want to study, close your eyes. Just do it. Even if you’re not tired now, you will be later and you will be thankful you took the time to rest on a train instead of sleeping through your travels.
  • Plan your week: Plan out your week ahead of time. If you have a test the following week but are taking a 20 hour train ride to Budapest the weekend before, you are not going to want to study that much the day you get back. Start early so that you are prepared.
  • Plan your travels: This makes life so much easier. Don’t wait until the last minute to book a train otherwise you will be standing in line forever and might not even get a ticket to your destination of choice. You should also try to book an airbnb or hostel about two weeks in advance. It greatly diminishes the time you spend searching for that perfect price. 
  • Cook with Friends: Feeding yourself in France takes a little more patience. You have to walk to the supermarket, carry all of your groceries back, and you don’t have the same resources you would back home.  Then you have to spend the time actually cooking your food. Cooking with friends though reduces the time and counts as part of your social life!

These tips and tricks have been vital to my survival here at GTL. I am still tired after a long weekend of travels, but these tips help me stay on top of my studies and still have the full GTL experience.

5 Times I Really Wish I Knew the Language

  1. Buying Plane Tickets: Believe it or not, buying a plane ticket online can be harder than you think, especially when it is in another language. When booking plane tickets to Naples, I had to try and use my rusty German in order to make sure we got 2 plane tickets to the right location on the right day. I’m still hoping that I did this correctly…I guess I will find out in a few weeks.
  2. Ordering Water: Tap Water. This might be what I miss most aMK2_1bout America. When you are at a European restaurant, if you ask for water they automatically bring you a fancy small glass bottle of water that costs more than a glass of wine. When you are parched from roaming the city all day you just want a tall, cold, refreshing vat of water, but sometimes they don’t always understand the translation of “the free tap water please.”
  3. Directions: When walking around Metz, France during my first week at GTL, a group of us were trying to find the bus stop to get back to our dorms. Not many locals know English though, so we just ended up walking around the city for about 45 minutes in the rain until a nice man took pity on us and walked us to the bus stop we were trying to get to.
  4. Reading Menus: French food is delicious. There are crepes, escargot, coq au vin, and of course my favorite – pastries. While pointing at a menu and just hoping for the best can sometimes be a good option, it is always an MK2_2unfortunate feeling when you look over at your friend’s dish and see some mouthwatering dessert like a stuffed, chocolate and banana crepe with caramel ice-cream and dusted almonds and then glance back at your boring croissant.
  5. Trains: America is known for not having good public transportation. We drive everywhere and rarely use a bus or train to get from place to place. In France, everyone uses the train, but it is not as easy as it looks. Sometimes you could be waiting on the track for your train that is arriving in 10 minutes and then next thing you know everyone starts dashing halfway across the train station. Let’s just say we learned later on that European trains tend to switch tracks at the very last second, but it would have been nice to have known that a little earlier on.

Georgia Tech-Lorraine — 25 Years in France

Posted by Morgan

When I walked into the GTL building on Friday, I was greeted with an unusual sight: shiny gold and white balloons, large Georgia Tech-Lorraine posters, and of course the warm, friendly smiles that adorned the faces of those staff members dressed in navy blue and old gold.

I, on the other hand, was dressed in a bright, bold, red dress. Clearly I had forgotten the dress code for any Georgia Tech Event–no bulldog red. But it didn’t seem to matter as it was the 25th anniversary of Georgia Tech-Lorraine and everyone was far more interested in the festivities at hand.

Dr. Peterson speaking before a full-house.

Dr. Peterson speaking before a full-house.

While many students were busy shuffling to their next class, those that had a break eagerly rushed to meet our president, Bud Peterson, and listen to his speech. It was exciting to hear our president talk about our study abroad program with an eagerness and appreciation that so many of us could relate to. At first Bud Peterson admitted to being skeptical of the study abroad experience at Georgia Tech Lorraine. How could that much be gained from a short summer on a campus with 250 Georgia Tech Students and only a handful of Georgia Tech Professors? But then he visited. He visited and described how his opinions changed from skepticism to enthusiasm. As Peterson closed his speech, he spoke of the value he saw in studying abroad at GTL both from a cultural and educational perspective.

For the majority of us that are here, being able to have an experience like studying abroad while participating in such an academically rigorous and prestigious school makes us feel like part of something bigger. We are not holed up in our rooms forever studying differential equations or thermodynamics but creating experiences, and hearing Bud Peterson’s speech validated those thoughts.

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Tim Jaudon, a rising third year industrial engineering major, said it best:

“I liked the fact that Bud came all the way out here to celebrate other branches of the school. It makes Georgia Tech feel much bigger and more global than just Atlanta.”

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is what Georgia Tech-Lorraine and our 25th anniversary was all about. Of course we college students loved the free food and instagram-worthy photos, but it was the message of Georgia Tech’s commitment to integrating into the global community in France that we could so easily relate to after only a few weeks here.

Students enjoying the food after Dr. Peterson's speech.

Students enjoying the food after Dr. Peterson’s speech.

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