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Category: 2016-Spring (Page 2 of 3)

Advice from Real-Life GTL Students

Posted by Julie

At this point, we are well over halfway through the semester. We’re about two and a half months older, and quite a bit wiser. We aren’t sages yet, but we do have some thoughts about how we would have approached this semester and what we would have done differently. So, for all those planning on coming to Georgia Tech-Lorraine, or even for those just generally traveling, here’s our thoughts on traveling, Europe, Georgia Tech-Lorraine, and travelling Europe at Georgia Tech-Lorraine.

 

Don’t worry so much about things not going as planned. Things end up working out in the end.  – Jessica

Jessica’s advice holds true for j12779022_10208896617761798_4447155126991845723_oust about any experience, but especially for travel: there will always be something that doesn’t go as planned, but honestly? There’s no need to overly stress. We have lots of opportunity to travel, and the rules at Georgia Tech-Lorraine allow for a certain flexibility, so if your train gets stuck in Frau, Austria, generally it’s fixable. Also, I’ve found, personally, that when things don’t go as planned – that’s when the magic happens. Those are the memories you’ll keep. (Like wandering around Naples at 10pm with your friends to find that one pizza restaurant that guy in Rome recommended. Totally worth it, by the way.)

 

Interact with the students around you – especially the French ones – more. – Joy

All I remember about our first orientation meeting is my extreme skepticism12768270_1233192183361624_3995472953783433646_o toward one statement made by Ms. Bass: “GTL students become like a community.
You will know everyone, and you will probably be friends with most everyone.” 200 students, and I’m going to be friends with all of them? Riiight. But it’s not so far from the truth. Between classes, activities with the BDE, mutual friends, the Universal GroupMe, or just walking up to someone in the student lounge, there are many ways to meet people. You just have to go for it. All the people here are in the same boat as you, and really, most of them don’t bite. Ask to borrow sewing kits, where to eat downtown, and people to travel with for the weekend, and you’ll generally find a friend.

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Spend a little more time planning out your travels. – David, Pranav, Ije

This was quite a popular remark. People come with grand dreams, but realize there are some realities to study abroad, train travel, and the limits of mortality. It does help to plan out where exactly you’d like to go, and prioritize your dreams, but be aware that if you want to travel with others (which I highly recommend), sometimes there will be curveballs.

 

Don’t just follow other people when choosing where to travel. – Indiana12783787_10206586667692259_9026917480081343070_o

This follows the last one pretty closely. Define your dreams, try to travel with others and make friends, but don’t limit yourself to what others want to do solely because all of your friends are going somewhere else. People have realized throughout the course of the semester that cities aren’t nearly as interesting as adventuring and hiking, or maybe Italy was not everything it’s cracked up to be. Form your own opinions and pursue them.

 

Budget anything and everything. – AJ12573928_10208349260392297_2029775313939866714_n

A basic, but vital necessity. Fall semester, I made a massive spreadsheet, detailing fees, tuition, food, trains, activities, and any other thing for which it is possible to spend money. There was extensive research: I frequented the Georgia Tech-Lorraine page, but researched on train ticket websites, travel blogs, packing lists, and more. There is more to living abroad than one might realize, and it is necessary to consider all possibilities. (Including, dare I say it, nightlife, for those legal and willing.) It’s easy to spend way too much, but if you have a form laid out, you can see what steps you need to take so you aren’t high and dry and begging your parents for money at the end of the semester.

 

Branch out and do new things despite 773593_10206494390895489_5985898670448672616_othe cost. – Sienna

Now, we’ve been responsible; we’ve budgeted for our trips. However, that being said, if something really compels you, and you know you’d regret it later on, DO IT. #majorkey

 

4 Easy to Make Meals While Abroad

Many of us jumped into this whole “study abroad” thing with little to no cooking experience. Rather than waste precious money on a pizza or kebab every night (although, sometimes this is absolute necessary and okay), here are four quick and easy meals to make in your very own kitchen.

10448641. Spaghetti: All you need are two basic ingredients: Noodles and spaghetti sauce (meatballs optional). Boil your noodles in 5-10 minutes on the stove, warm up a pre-prepared spaghetti sauce, and voilà…you have yourself a meal. If you really want to channel your inner chef, try throwing in some seasoning and parmesan cheese. (Suggestions: Panzani spaghetti noodles and tomato pesto, Auchan brand)

sandwich-on-plate2. Sandwiches: After a couple of months your meals may start to feel somewhat repetitive, and that’s where the sandwich comes in. Possible ingredients include tomatoes, cheese, lettuce, mayonnaise, mustard, ham, chicken, etc. There are endless combinations to choose from.  Even bigger plus: buy a bag of zip-locks and sandwiches become the perfect to-go meal.

6855099710_d9c42e48bc_z3. Potatoes/French Fries:  Who doesn’t like potatoes? Head to the freezer section of Simply or Cora and you’ll find potatoes cut in virtually every shape and size. Throw some oil and butter on a pan and warm them on your stove for about 10-15 minutes. Eat as a side dish or even a main meal. Optional: Season with basil, garlic, salt, and/or black pepper. (Suggestion: ‘Pommes Rissolées’, Auchan brand)

4. Cereal: One thing I’ve learned is that cereal can be eaten at any time of the day. Yes, even at midnight when you’re up cramming for anBowl-of-Cereal-007 exam. Buy a large carton of milk to last multiple meals. Keep in mind that most French milk is not pasteurized, and the taste is slightly different from what we’re used to back home. While you won’t find the exact same cereal brands, you’ll find very similar ones, for example, Kellogg’s Frosties.

….and if all else fails, La Boite à Pizza is right around the corner 🙂

 

Politeness at PAUL

Logo_Paul

PAUL logo courtesy of en.wikipedia.org.

Students at Georgia Tech-Lorraine generally have a few choices for lunch: make your own (but pasta gets a bit old after the first 15 times), go to CROUS (the student cafeteria for French schools which is actually amazing), or stop by Paul (or Boîte de Pizza, a new addition this semester).

I am of the personal opinion that Georgia Tech-Lorraine students represent a large chunk of our local Paul’s revenue. A mix between a boulangerie, patisserie, sandwich stop, and resto (the French abbreviation for restaurant), Paul is right on the path for many students – particularly those who live in the Lafayette dorms.

So, if you’re on your way to class, stop by for a croissant or “le Parisian,” but to avoid appearing as tactless tourists, it’s nicer to try to speak the native language. And so, I’m going to give you a quick rundown on how to order at Paul without offending anyone. Copy any of these into Google Translate to get a feel for pronunciation.

 

INTRODUCTORY FORMALITIES

You may hear the employee say «En suite,” which means “Next.”

«Bonjour» or «Bonsoir»: Depending on what time of day it is. “Bonjour” is more for mornings and early afternoons, but “Bon soir” is for late afternoon and on. They will say it first, and to be cordial, you say it back.

 

ORDERING

« Je prends…»/« Je voudrais…»/ « J’aimerais…» = “I’ll take…”/ “I would like…”/ “I would love…”

All are acceptable to begin your order, but many (especially in fast food) skip this formality as well.

Then [insert food item here].

Check out their delicious menu here to get a heads up on what you can add to end that sentence.

If all else fails, and you don’t know what something is in French, you can ask « Comment on dit en anglais?» or “How do you say this in English?”

« Et aussi… » = “And also…”

If you want multiple items.

« Ça c’est tout?» = “Is that all?”

Asked by the server. Easiest reply, if you are finished? “Oui.”

 

PAYING

« Comment on paye?» = “How are you paying?”

Asked by the server. Generally cash or card – but it’s best if your card has a chip in it!

« Par la carte» or « Par la carte bleue» = “By credit card”

« Avec l’argent » = “With cash”

 

TEARFUL GOODBYES

The server says «Merci» and «Bon journée» or «Au revoir».

You repeat for politeness.

 

Other good words to know are basic numbers (as I would be impressed if you wanted to order 96 pains au chocolat). Check out this article for basic food words like chicken, allergy, and vegetarian to make your life easier.

RA Profile: Meet Adrienne Dooley!

Name: Adrienne Dooley10154526_637210376332590_830590590_n

Year: Sophomore

Major: Biomedical Engineering

Hometown: Redding, CT

What residence hall are you an RA in? Lafayette

Why did you choose to be an Resident Assistant?

My PLs freshmen year were amazing and really helped everyone on our hall get to know each other and transition to college life. I applied to be an RA so I could have the opportunity to provide support in Metz like I received in Atlanta. I also wanted to work on further developing leadership skills.

Were you a Resident Assistant before hand, or is this your first time?

This is my first time as an RA.

What are the benefits of being an RA? Are they worth it?

One of the greatest benefits of being an RA so far has been the opportunity to meet most of the undergrads at GTL through normal duty rounds and events the RAs have hosted as well as provide support. The position has also allowed me to develop leadership and supportive skills. I enjoy being an RA and definitely believe it is worth it.

Describe what a typical day is like when on duty.

Duty starts at 8 pm Monday – Thursday, although one of the RAs will always have the phone in case of emergencies. I usually start by walking around each floor of each building in Lafayette where GT undergrads live. The rounds provide an opportunity to talk with residents about any concerns with the dorm as well as to trade travel tips. Between 8-12 I’m available in Lafayette if needed, and I’m usually doing homework or planning for the weekend. I also do a second walk-through of Lafayette later at night.

Does being an RA affect your travel plans? Can you travel on the weekend?

I can definitely travel on the weekends! Traveling just involves a little more planning when looking at the semester as a whole so I can plan longer trips for weeks when I don’t have duty on Thursday night.  

What has been your favorite travel destination at GTL so far?

One of my favorite travel destinations was Bern, Switzerland. On the second day we were there we took a funicular up the Gurten, a close-by mountain. Walking around the top (which was a mini sledding and ski slope) provided us with amazing views of the city of Bern as well as the Jura mountain range and the Alps. The prevalence of ornate fountains and chocolate stores throughout the city also helped make Bern one of my favorite cities to visit.

Thanks for the interview Adrienne!

The Great Collaboration

Posted by Julie

A few weeks ago, something big happened: I met new people! This, of course, isn’t newsworthy in and of itself. In fact, that statement has become so regular here at Georgia Tech-Lorraine that the fantastic feeling of shaking hands with a new person happens probably about daily. It’s more whom I met, and why I met them.

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A small subset of both the GTL BDE and the Supélec BDE.

There was a meeting – top secret (not really) – between some members of the Bureaus des Etudiants of three major universities here in Metz. (A Bureau des Etudiants, generally referred to as the BDE, functions similarly to the Residence Hall Association back home in Atlanta.)  Students from Georgia Tech-Lorraine, Supélec, and ENIM gathered to plan a job fair called Mission: First Job for their students.

The meeting was entirely in French, which was a struggle for a few of us Atlantans – but it was a good test of my French skills for sure! Details were discussed and plans laid out, then we were sent to fulfill our respective duties.

The meeting itself was productive and interesting, but my favorite part of the night was the little soiree afterwards. The Supélec BDE invited us to snack with them after, presenting us with a host of delicious foods, as well as interesting conversation. I got to learn what life was like in our neighbors’ houses, and even for students that bridge the gap between our schools, as one member is a student both at Supélec and Georgia Tech-Lorraine as a dual-degree program participant.

Topics like daily student life in our respective countries were broached, as well as perspectives on our home countries. It inspired some very interesting conversation, and there were many common experiences, such as schooling tracks, and some very different ones, such as the elections for BDE officials.

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The Supélec BDE Président and the GTL BDE Président.

What most excited me about this meeting? It was the start of a great relationship with our fellow students. We’re already working together on one project, and several more were pitched throughout the course of the night – the dreams of connecting our students for maximum experience possible. This is why I wanted to join the BDE: I wanted to connect our cultures as much as possible for more of a first-hand experience with people our age in another country. And so, I am frightfully excited about our future plans.

Stay tuned!

How Well Do You Know Metz?

How well do you know Metz? Read some interesting facts about the city below and see!   

  • Metz is a city in northeast France. It is on the Moselle River. It is the capital city of the region of Lorraine.
  • Where-is-Metz-on-map-of-FranceIt is a cultural, commercial, and transportation center of Lorraine, an industrial city producing metals, machinery, tobacco, clothing, and food products, and the home of one of France’s largest military bases.
  • Metz is one of eight cities targeted by the French government for special planning and development.
  • Metz was a major cultural center of the Carolingian Renaissance (8th century) and was later (10th century) a prosperous commercial city with an important Jewish community.
  • Metz became a free imperial city in the 12th cent. and was then one of the richest and most populous cities of the empire.
  • Paul Verlaine, a famous French poet associated with the Symbolist movement, was born in Metz in 1844.
  • PaulVerlaine_NewBioImageDuring the German annexation of E Lorraine (1871–1918), Metz, largely French-speaking, was a center of pro-French sentiment. During World War II the city suffered greatly under German occupation.
  • There are many Gallo-Roman ruins in Metz, including an aqueduct, thermal baths, and part of an amphitheater. Much has also been preserved from the medieval period.
  • The celebrated Cathedral of St. Étienne, built from c.1221 to 1516, has one of Europe’s largest collections of stained glass.metz-cath_1631917i
  • The Place Sainte-Croix is a square in Metz surrounded by medieval houses (13th–15th cent.).
  • Metz has several other churches, including St. Pierre-de-la-Citadelle Basilica, mansions from the Middle Ages, and many beautiful promenades.
  • Metz is also the site of the futuristic Pompidou-Metz museum (2010), the first regional branch of Paris’ Beaubourg (Pompidou Center).Centre_Pompidou_Metz_2_900x600_Hufton_Crow

Interesting, right? Stay tuned for more facts coming soon (and make sure to visit these sites while you’re here!).

-Ije

Source: http://www.encyclopedia.com/topic/Metz.aspx

The Final Stretch!

Oh em gee! It’s April already! Meaning, we have all but 5 weeks left here at GTL. It’s been a crazy and busy time for us all, as midterms, papers, and final presentations are starting to pile up in our classes. On top of that, we are all trying to squeeze in our last batch of “must see” destinations for the remaining weekends. For many of us, this time of the semester has become a mixture of wanting to be home with family and friends yet at the same time wishing your time abroad could be extended. So, how does one deal with this whirlwind of a final month stretch? Some may go on a sky-diving trip to get one last rush of adrenaline in. Others may stay at GTL and hit the books, in order to solidify that A in Statics. Surely, each and every one of us will decide what is best for ourselves on our own. Whatever you do choose to do, make sure the remaining weeks of your semester count.

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Leaving Our Mark on the Community

Posted by Julie

That last week has been the best Metz I’ve ever seen – a balmy 60° underneath blue skies and gold-tinted sunbeams. Personally, I think it was the universe getting excited about our volunteering event at Fort Queuleu.

Students have asked for an opportunity to volunteer, and while there are too many hoops to jump through for volunteering genres such as soup kitchens and homeless shelters, we found this early on and have been working to make it happen for a while.

You may remember that one of the first blog posts I wrote was about my International Affairs trip, which included Fort Queuleu, a former internment camp just a 20 minute walk from Georgia Tech-Lorraine. The tour was particularly impactful – from the storytelling of our guide to the creative, connecting visuals. I was amazed that so much history was hidden in the hills so near us, so I was incredibly excited about this opportunity.

We joined a group of maybe ten other dedicated volunteers who convene twice a month to clean up and preserve the history of the region. Many spoke little English, so it was a great way for the group to brush up on their French, or even learn a little for some. We still had conversations and laughs with the others, despite the language barriers.

While some cut back bushes and undergrowth, we were assigned to work with a few people on the refurbishment of the entry gate. For my group, the morning crew, we brushed off the moss and rust with metal brushes and painted on a first coat of protective glaze, after which the afternoon group painted on several more.

With the weather as perfect as it was, and the people so nice, I don’t think I have enjoyed a BDE event more. Of course, there are several lined up soon – so that title may be tested!

My favorite part? As I was walking out of the park area in which Fort Queuleu is situated, another French woman was leaving as well. She started up a conversation, and I explained why our students were there. She was very happy and impressed that we wanted to help the community as much as we did. I found that this was also her first time volunteering, as she had recently found out that her mother was a part of the underground movement to overthrow Nazi rule during occupation during World War II – which is when Fort Queuleu was used as an internment camp for French resistance.

It was so nice to be a part of something bigger than me; something that has such a personal connection to the people that live here. It’s nice to say that I didn’t just visit Metz, but I lived in and contributed to the community.

 

Grad Student Profile: Meet Emanuele Testa!

Name: Emanuele Testa

Major/Field of Study: MS ECE

Year in grad school: 1st semester

Partner Institution: University of Brescia

Home Country: Italy

Favorite quote: “(He) who does not risk certainty for uncertainty,
to thus follow a dream,
those who do not forego sound advice at least once in their lives,
die slowly. …”  
from, “Die Slowly” – Martha Medeiros

Favorite Song: “Wish You Were Here” – Pink Floyd

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If you don’t know Emanuele, you’re missing out. And I’m not just saying that because he’s in my group for the CS 4261 app.

Emanuele, unlike many graduate students, hails from Italy, and surprisingly, that comes up more often than you’d think. People tend to think that here at Georgia Tech-Lorraine there are two types of students: French and American – and no deviation. Even I started with this frame of mind, as I introduced myself to him, asking where he was from, and it wasn’t Paris, Lyon, or another French city. We had a presentation in class that narrowed the entire scope of logging into the app based on whether the student was American or French – and I couldn’t help but see if he responded to the exclusion. He’s very gracious about it; it’s not mean spirited – people just don’t know!

At the beginning of our shared computer science class, we had to share our interests to the class to be more comfortable with each other’s interests and skill sets, and I remember even then Emanuele describing his interest in robotics. So then, it’s no surprise that his dream job lies in designing robotic medical machines for tasks like surgery or rehabilitation. It’s also not a surprise that his favorite class is ME 6407 (a.k.a. robotics).

Like I’ve often seen in Europe, a Master’s degree is not seen as optional in some fields – and Emanuele agrees, citing the need to specialize in something. He chose Georgia Tech-Lorraine specifically, though, because we have a dual-degree program with his home university, the University of Brescia. He seems to like his decision, though; when asked for his best recommendation for other graduate students, he recommended attending, describing Georgia Tech-Lorraine as “an amazing opportunity.” As he says, “An American degree definitely makes a difference in your future employment opportunities, [whether] you want to work in Europe or in any other part of the world. It’s a multicultural and creative environment and a great opportunity to improve your English!” His favorite part of Georgia Tech-Lorraine, though? The people, as the “students are very friendly and the staff here is very helpful.”

When he’s not studying or hanging with friends, Emanuele is probably playing the piano, watching the latest awesome movie, or traveling (not such a surprise hobby at Georgia Tech-Lorraine.) His dream destination? Bali, Indonesia.

The Belgian Waffle

Note: Blogger, Ije, visited Brussels the weekend before the Brussels attacks. Students have been advised to avoid traveling to Belgium at this time.

I traveled to Brussels, Belgium several weekends ago and tried none other than their famous Belgian Waffles…and boy were they delicious.

Liege_waffle

If you crave a crispy, sweet, and sugary treat that’ll melt your taste buds, then the Belgian Waffle is for you. Belgian waffles are made in a hot cast iron machine and leavened with yeast or baking powder. In Belgium, this waffle is often bought on the street and eaten with your hands, but it can also be served in more formal settings. Contrary to American waffle-eating custom, the Belgian Waffle is never served with maple syrup. Yes, it tastes just that good on its own.

So what is the history behind the Belgian waffle?

Belgian waffles were originally showcased in 1958 at the Brussel’s World Fair, and later introduced to the United States by a man named Walter Cleyman. They were further popularized in 1964, when Maurice Vermersh introduced his recipe at the 1964 New York World’s Fair. (Fun fact: Belgian waffles were originally called Brussels waffles. However, many Americans did not know Brussels was the capital of Belgium, and Vermersch changed the name for this very reason).

Topping choices for the Belgian Waffle are endless, varying from powdered sugar and strawberries to vanilla ice cream and warm chocolate syrup (Yummm!). And even better than the endless topping choices are the prices. Belgian waffles are sold as cheap as 1 euro, and they are worth every cent.

So, if you ever find yourself in Brussels, and want a taste of pure happiness, make sure to bless your taste buds with a waffle!…or two…or three…

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My first of many Belgian waffles!

 

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