Engineers in Paris - Spring Break 2010

thumb_engineersinparisSixteen TTU engineering students are studying the various engineering marvels in France over Spring Break, as mechanical engineering’s Corinne Darvennes and chemical engineering’s Holly Stretz lead a study abroad class for the first time from College of Engineering.

Students who are comparing engineering practices on a global perspective are keeping travel journals and posting photos of their learning adventure.

“For example, who was Eiffel? Madame Curie? Carnot? Pasteur? There are lots of great French heroes out there for our engineers to discover!” said Stretz.

The one-hour credit course allows students to take advantage of study abroad support offered by the university.

Saturday, March 13, 2010 (Post 2)

"Welcome to London Madame," were the first words I heard from a young English gentleman when I stepped onto to platform from my train. Today, I decided to use all of my Saturday, our 'free day,' to sight see London, England. Since London is only two and a half hours away from Paris at a round trip price of only 100 euros, travel to London and many other countries is easy and affordable for international students.

During my 11 hour stay in London, I traveled to see the National Gallery, Trafalgar square, Houses of Parliament, Westminister Abbey, London Eye, St. Paul's Cathedral, Tower of London, Tower Bridge, Buckingham Palace, Harrods, Science and History Museum, Kensington Palace and the Kensington Gardens. My favorite part was randomly having tea at a cafe near the Thames river with British and other international college students whom I met near the London Eye. Though I wish I could have spent more time inside each of these places I was still thrilled to see so much of London on such a beautiful day.

I would write more but the Internet cafe is closing, and I have to leave now get to the station in order to catch my train back to Paris.

Student Azuráe Johnson

Saturday, March 6, 2010

So Friday was our trip to Dijon, which is where Dr. Darvennes is from. After about a 1 and a half hour train ride there, we headed straight for the market. This market was actually designed by Eiffel 20 years before he did the tower. It was quite the market. There were many things to buy: Candy, cheese, fish, even horse meat. Which I did try, tastes like normal sausage. They said we were the first Americans to try it. I wouldn't say it was something special, but when given the opportunity, why not? I bought some true Dijon mustard too, straight from the source. I hope it tastes good. That's one thing I notice over here, the French serve mustard with their meals here, not ketchup. Good mustard too. That afternoon after the market, some of us chose to take the wine tour in Burgandy. What an amazing trip. We got to see all the vineyards and why each one is different and the different classifications and stuff, it was awesome. After the tour we even got to participate in a wine tasting. I bought some 1st Cru wine from 1999, I'm sure it will be fantastic when I open it up after I get home. We then took a train 3 hours back to Paris. This trip was particularly interesting because the group started a conversion with a pair of French twin girls that were students. It was pretty good, we were both laughing at each other because they didn't speak English well, and we didn't speak French well. We took pictures before they had to get off, unfortunately I didn't get a picture with my camera to show to you, sorry. I will get it from someone to add later. After arriving home everyone fell asleep pretty quickly.

Our last day today was our free day in Paris. While some chose to take a train to Versailles, me and a few others started our day at the Louvre. We sped around trying make sure everyone got to see what they wanted, and we did, in about 4 hours time. From there the group split up even further and me and 2 others went to St. Denis, which is where a lot of royalty is buried. I saw crypts for Marie Antionnette, Louis VII, Louis XVI, Louis XVIII, and many more. After that, I took off by myself to the Sacred Heart church, unfortunately no pictures could be taken inside. I made sure to make most of day in Paris. Now it's time to pack and head tomorrow. I absolutely enjoyed this trip and wish I could spend another week. I definitely suggest it for everyone next year. Au revuior!

Student Steven Rosch

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

So today we went today we went to Nevers to visit ISAT and check out the automotive school there. We got on the train at 7:30 and stayed on it for 2 hours. On the way there, traveling south, we saw snow falling down and thought great this is spring break and it is snowing we are not prepared for the snow. When we arrived the town was nice and small medieval town. I enjoyed this city more than Paris the town was cleaner and the people are nicer and the snow made the place look amazing. We toured the labs that ISAT had for there Mechanical Engineering students, the school is entirely automotive engineering and a Formula 1 race track is only a short drive away. I would love to go back to the town of Nevers to see more of what they offer. The food we had was a fish and apple salad, beef cuts, and apple pies from that area. The train rides are always full of enjoyment, we are functioning on little sleep, and card games. We have plans to finally go up the Eiffel tower at 8:30 am too early.

Student Andrew Demko

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

So we woke up on day 3 at 5:30 in the morning to make the train to Quimper.  Not only that, we had to suffer a 4 hour train ride there. It was a pretty rough morning.  We toured the Cummins plant there and learned a little about the plant there.  We spent the rest of the day learning about the assembly line and the different labs used to test the filters.  We then had to ride back after the tour, and we had to switch trains on the way back.  We weren't back to the hotel till about midnight, it had been a long day.  The next day we didn't have to be up till 10.  It wound up being later because our teacher actually slept in.  We went as a group to the Arts and Trades Museum. There were a lot of good exhibits there,  original standard weights and meters.  Also we were able to see old typewriters and steam engines as well.  After the museum we were free to do what we want so me and 5 others decided to venture off to the Eiffel Tower, we got some great photos, and met some interesting people.  It was the second night in a row where we had a French person buy us drinks.  France is turning out to be pretty exciting, I can't wait to see what's coming later in the week.  That's all for now.

Student Steven Rosch

Monday, March 8, 2010

The days are blurring together. I think it is the end of the 3rd day.

From the time it took us to leave Cookeville and place our luggage down in the hotel rooms, approximately 24 hours had passed.  A lot of time was spent waiting… wait for people at the school parking lot, wait in the Chicago airport for five hours eating overpriced airport food, wait for metro (subway) tickets to be printed for over 2 hours in the Charles De Gaulle airport in France. It has been worth the wait.

Jetlag hits hard.  It is about 1:00 am after three very full days of walking and rushing through the city to jump on the metro or to take a four hour train ride to the coast of southern France. Large cities describe the cliché “hurry up and wait”.  Around 11:00 am every day, heads start to nod and eyes start to close.  This could be from the four hours of sleep the night before. This could be because we are seven hours ahead of “Cookeville time”.  Either way, we are fighting the sun.

Including the two faculty advisors, there are 18 people on this trip. Thank goodness for Dr. Darvennes’s patience with us and Dr. Stetz ability to always stay positive. We are very tired twenty-something-year-olds with short attention spans. Today alone, one girl was lost for a few minutes (she hadn’t realized we had moved to the); another girl was almost hit by moped. I know, it’s not quite a motorcycle but it has an engine.

It is now almost 2:00 am.

Good night.

Student Mallory Johnston

Sunday, March 7, 2010

My first day in Paris was a busy one.  As soon as we got in we had to walk around all day to resist falling asleep due to the 7 hour jet lag.  In one day we were able to walk around and see most of the things people are familiar with:  Eiffel Tower, de Louvre, Notre Dame, Pantheon, etc.  Having a meal in a restaurant here was a different experience.  We try our hardest to speak as much French as we know, however, they are nice enough to speak English with us.  When we saw the Eiffel Tower at night, it was actually sparkling.  I made sure to take some video as it was quite the sight to take in.  It's hard to describe the first day because I was tired and I spaced out a few times.  You have to be quick getting on and off the metro here, or else the doors will shut on you.  I almost missed the group getting off because I was tired, I did not need to be lost in Paris my first day there.  The second day the group took a trip to the Air and Space Museum.  There were many model planes to see, as well as a space exhibit, but the most exciting part for me was being able to climb into the Concorde, Boeing, and Dakota aircrafts.  We were there for 4 hours, that was twice as much time I and the group needed to see the entire museum, so we goofed off to waste time.  Then we decided to go eat before walking around again, tonight we made it to the Arc' de Triumph.  It is slow to take in all the fascinating things about being outside the USA.  I really have enjoyed the first 2 days, although I feel that I am just starting to overcome the jet lag.  Tomorrow we will tour the Cummins Plant in Quimper, but our train leaves at 7am, so we need to be up early tomorrow.  Just more time to see everything else!

Student Steven Rosch