Art History at Sorbonne-Paris IV

Last week I finally started classes at Paris IV. I’ve been trying to think of clever and fun things to say about them, but I’m drawing a blank. Perhaps it is because I have had to use my brain a lot more this week than normal? Anyway, here’s the basic gist:

1) These classes are very challenging. I don’t feel overly qualified, nor do I know where how my art history knowledge matches up to the other students. Also the language barrier can be a problem. Most of the time I know what the professor is saying, but my hand is like a motor running across the page and trying to note everything. A lot slips through the cracks.

2) Because these classes are structured a lot more like grad school classes in the states, it’s tricky to know how much work to do. The profs give you a bibliography and let you sort through it – though I think they expect you to read it all. I remember turning to someone and asking if we’d been given any obligatory reading and he looked at me like I was crazy. “We never have any obligatory reading.” he said. Thank goodness Sweet Briar granted me a patient advisor….

3) The scheduling and registration system is the most hellish and confusing thing I have ever encountered. I missed half a class the first week because I didn’t understand how everything worked.

4) I am terrified of my professors. The student who always sits in the front row, has edged toward the back.

I did like both my courses, however. They both seem interesting and the Medieval art course is especially cool. I hope I can stay on top of everything. Also, the building is phenomenal. Some kids were put in the new Sorbonne – supposedly a horridly ugly building that houses history and philosophy classes. Art history, however, is right next to the Jardin de Luxembourg and absolutely stunning. Very appropriate looking too, I might add.

I suppose I should give a heads up that with the start of classes I can’t guarantee as many posts. I’ll still crank out a couple a week, but I don’t think I’ll be able to write something every day. Sorry folks, but I am still young, and studies must take priority!

Also, side note, but I thought I’d mention that I’m going to Nice in 2 weeks! Whoo! I’ll give more details later, but I wanted to put it out there as I am very excited. And, if any of you know of great hotels in Nice, I’d appreciate suggestions!

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