In the midst of a very busy time for many graduate students who are preparing for exams and working on projects, I had the pleasure of meeting Thomas, a French graduate student studying Mechanical Engineering. I met with Thomas in the student lounge, found him working with Sommy, another graduate student I’ve met, and stole him away for a few minutes to hear about his experience at GTL!

Thomas comes from a small city south of Paris, and before GTL he studied Mechanical Engineering at a French engineering school called UT in Troyes. This school partners with GTL so that he can do the dual-degree program similar to many other grad students I have met. Thomas explained that while this is his first semester at GTL, he will do an internship in the summer/fall and move to Atlanta in the Spring of 2020, where he plans to graduate.

After college he isn’t quite sure what field he wants to work in, but he did say he has worked in the automotive industry in past internships. This internship was done with French automotive company Renault, and while he said it was very interesting, he said that the field he works in all depends on where he ends up initially after he graduates. Thomas has been to California when he was young, but he said he would be willing to try to find work in the States or another country if it works out. Later on though, he does see himself coming back to France.

Currently he is taking linear elasticity, acoustics, a mathematics class, as well as another mechanical engineering class at GTL. His favorite is linear elasticity, because “it’s used with many things that I’ve worked in at my years at UTT.” The other thing that Thomas mentioned he really likes about being at GTL is that it’s nice to have to be in an environment where everyone speaks English. While I asked him if it’s challenging, he said it’s not too bad – that it’s just the right amount of difficulty. I am honestly always so impressed by the French graduate students because taking a technical class in a completely different language sounds so challenging but they do it without no complaints.

For fun, Thomas likes to spend time with the rest of the graduate friends and tries to organize things to do with them. Last weekend, they went to Strasbourg, which was really nice, and he has gone to Paris with some other friends. He mentioned that “for me, it’s new to have the weekend start on a Thursday, so it’s nice to organize many things to do on the weekends with the other graduate students.” It’s definitely great to see that graduate students are also able to partake in the similar experiences that us undergraduates have, such as travelling and being a part of GTL-sanctioned events.

Meeting Thomas was really nice, and I hope I get to meet a few more graduate students before this semester ends. Their experiences really makes me consider graduate school myself and inspires me a ton!