Welcome to a sub-set of my adventures: French Education. I feel like I’ve had enough University here to know a bit about how it works (and doesn’t), SO it’s time to start my new game show!
Okay. Just kidding. But I am going to do my best to educate you all on what this is:
Yeah. I know. Reassuring. HOWEVER, I feel I must start here, at French “Lycée” (high school):
So much difference, right?
Anyway, to start off, French education is at least superficially similar to the US right up until the third year of high school. I say superficially because these are also the people who start teaching english in what would be 4/5th grade.
However, “Junior” year our young French students, full of teen angst and hormones, must decide what area of study they’d like to go into for the next five years.
Yes. That’s right.
You see, the last two years of French high school are basically two years of college prep courses focused on whatever you plan on studying in University (because unlike the US, ALL French students are direct admit into a single major program that they are more-or-less restricted to). This intense studying is all for the purpose of passing the ever-famous “BAC” or Baccalauréat.
The BAC is basically like if you took an AP test and pumped it full of Impossible Steroids. Or so I’m told. You’ll see way in later episodes.
And this is the beginning of French University education. The genesis so to speak.
And also, if you’re wondering if it IS in fact possible to be in two places at once, I recommend this lovely piece by NPR.