I’ve been debating about whether or not I wanted to talk about this on my blog, but I think it might do me some good to go out on a long rant about it. I’m not one to really open up and talk about my emotions. Writing this now is me finally sharing what’s going on.
Recently, we heard on the news that 9 out of 10 foreign students are very satisfied with their program in France. I must be that 10th person, because I am utterly miserable. I will name the program and the university in case any foreign student Googles this program, they can find an honest opinion.
I am doing a Master Management et Commerce International at the FLLASH (though it’s supposed to be also tied with the IAE) at the Université de Valenciennes. I was unhappy during the first year, but I figured things would get better in the second year, and it’d go by quickly. Boy, was I ever wrong.
Logically, in France, if you want to change programs for your second year of a Masters (since the programs are divided as an M1 and an M2), you can change for another M2 (as long as you have the qualifications). However, my program blocked us in. I couldn’t change without sitting out a year or starting over in another M1. Why? Because we didn’t validate our first year until mid-October. Most programs start up in September. Most of us are under the impression that they do this because they know we’d leave. I couldn’t fathom starting over yet again, so I stuck with my program.
What started out as dislike has turned to complete hatred for the program. I dread every single class. The classes are all uninteresting, not at all useful, nothing to do with management, and worst of all, many are given by teachers who simply dictate their notes to you. Unfortunately, this isn’t just me as an American being completely dissatisfied with the program. Even my French classmates are criticizing it nonstop.
I feel like I’m not learning anything even remotely interesting. If anything, I feel like I’m getting dumber since I’m just regurgitating exactly what the teacher says instead of thinking on my own. Sometimes, I think we’re in some sort of weird extension of middle school as opposed to a graduate program. Plus, many of the classes just repeat the same damn things we “learned” in another class.
I’m jealous of people talking about how much they love their graduate studies (both in France, the US, or elsewhere). I’d give anything to feel that way about just one single class. I try to stay positive. I really am. But every time I build up something remotely resembling positivity, something happens to knock me back down even further than where I started.
It’s really starting to take its toll on me. I’m reaching a breaking point. I’m grouchy 99% of the time. I fear that I’m starting to take it out on the others around me. I feel like I’m constantly on the brink of tears. I’m unhappy, I can’t remember the last time I had a good night’s sleep, and I constantly feel worn down physically and mentally. It’s come to the point that if I’m honest with myself, if it weren’t for the good things in my personal life (a great boyfriend and a super cute dog), I probably would pack up my bags and go home.
If I stick it through, I’ll have an M2 and that’ll possibly lead to a job here, right? If a miracle happens, yes. Because of my programs stupid ass dates, we don’t validate the M2 until November. At that point, I’ll most likely be sitting on an expired visa (the director of the program even said exactly that) waiting to validate. I’ve asked around a bit, and the Prefecture here normally won’t renew your residency card without a new enrollment. So that’s just great.
Plus, I definitely won’t have the same qualifications as people coming out of even slightly decent programs. So how can a French company prove that they should higher me as opposed to a French person?