french fail

There’s a reason this blog is called “Amost Bilingue”. I mean, I am bilingual. I can get by in any situation in French. I successfully completed a Masters in French. But as most bilingual folks will attest, there are some moments where you just don’t have the vocabulary, or you completely misunderstand something. I definitely had one of those moments recently.

I received a phone call from the secretary of the Masters from hell. To be fair, it was the morning, so I was not really at full speed anyway. You see, I skipped the graduation ceremony, because it just wasn’t worth the effort or the cost. (Case in point, they tried imitating an American ceremony but missed the mark by a long shot.) That is why the secretary was calling me.

She stated “Vous êtes major de promo MCI” and that she needed my address. I had never heard the phrase “major de promo”, so like any foreign language speaker, I made an educated guess from the context. I figured that as it was in relation to the ceremony, “major de promo” must simply mean that I had successfully finished the program. So I just said “Okay…” and gave her my address. And that was that.

Needless to say, I was wrong. Continue reading


m2 en poche!

We are officially moved into our new place! We were very efficient and did a lot of work in advance so the actual move went quite quickly. We still have some minor things to do like hanging up decorations and the like, but as soon as that’s done, I’ll share some pictures.

In all the excitement last week between moving and adventures with the CPAM, I completely forgot to announce the news, I officially have my M2 (Masters Degree)!

The secretary emailed us last week saying the results were posted in the hallway (helpful, I know), but I took a chance to see if they were in our online account. They were, which I then shared with others in my class who were wondering who could go to the school.  I have successfully completed the Masters from Hell, and will never have to step foot in that school again.

It is over. It won’t all be in vain though. The fact that I have an M2 from France should help in the job search. And when I apply for nationality in a few years, I am exempt from paying for and taking a language exam.

I don’t know when I’ll get the actual diploma. There’s a ceremony at the end of the month, but I’m not going because 1) you don’t get your actual diploma, 2) it takes place in a classroom, 3) it’s not worth paying for the train to go, and 4) I just don’t care enough.


almost bilingue - fin

Celebrating handing in my paper

C’est la fin!

Don’t worry, not for this blog, but for the longest two years of my life aka the Masters from Hell.

A little over two weeks ago, I handed in my “mémoire de stage” (a research paper dealing with my internship), and then yesterday, I had my “soutenance de stage” (the defense of the paper). I am now FINISHED! Continue reading

the masters program not to do in france continued

I’m sure you all remember my (slightly whiny) post about my Masters program and how much I hate it.

It never got any better. If anything, it got worse. At the end, we had classes six days a week (yep, even Saturday mornings) and several group projects all due at the same time.

Exam MCI

We also got dropped a massive project that they were supposed to tell us about in October at our meeting before classes started but somehow forgot to. It wasn’t until we asked about it near the end of December after getting a strange email that they were like “Oh, yeah…”. The project involved finding something to do for a company, doing said project, and then handing in a lovely paper on it. Lucky, an entrepreneur acquaintance saved the day! The project is now over and done with and officially handed in as of last week! Continue reading

the masters program not to do in france

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. Continue reading

la rentrée et puis… vacation?

Last Friday, we had our pré-rentrée meeting where we learned about what would be happening this year, signed up for classes, etc. The meeting was pretty boring in general and possibly more informative for the newbies. Yes, there were quite a few new faces. Of course, I can’t help but wonder “What were they thinking?!”.

We learned about the schedule for the entire year… 16 weeks of classes total, lots of vacations, no set exam period, 4 to 6 month internship (which we may or may not be able to start April 1st), “soutenance” in November, etc.

We got part of schedule which is pretty incomplete (but still, better than I expected). Many of our classes didn’t start the first week and some don’t even start until January! Unfortunately, there are some 8am classes (hello, 6:30am train), days with like only one hour of class (for now), and even some Saturday classes (one in November, another starts in January). This is not going to be pleasant. At all. Continue reading

oh, the joys of l’administration française

It’s finally that time of year (for me, at least) where it’s time to go back to school. Even though I’m doing the second year of the same Masters as last year, in France, you have to apply for the second year, and then sign up all over again. You also need to hand in all of your grades from the previous year even though you’re staying at the same university. Somehow, the departments just cannot work together on this one.

To make everything more complicated, I only got my grades for the latest semester yesterday. Yes, yesterday. I may have finished classes in April, but we didn’t have the defense for our “mémoire de stage” until a week ago. Thus, I couldn’t start the enrollment process until yesterday. Because of this, all the other admin type things got put on the back burner (hello, expired visa!) since I need the magical piece of paper that comes from being officially enrolled (will still have to wait on that).

It gets even better. I’m too old for the student health insurance, so I have to provide proof of health insurance for my enrollment. For health insurance, I need to provide a copy of my “titre de séjour” (residency card). To renew my visa for said card, I need to be officially enrolled in school. Yep, that’s pretty much French administration in a nut shell.  Continue reading