Today, we went to a French nursing school to meet students and explore the ways that nursing education is done here in France.
In general, the students looked and acted much like out students. The educational program is very different, though. English is required by the Ministry of Educations, but there are no exams or ways of evaluating-the edict is “English should not be a problem to these students.” As a result, the English ability varies widely. There is also a more formal environment: lectures, and a very strict separation of student and faculty-not the more informal and friendly exchanges that we have at Queens. It will be interesting to see whether this is the case when we get to the medical school.
The students discussed healthcare a bit, but spent a lot of time talking to the students about life in France, which both American and French students seemed to enjoy. Afterward, we went to the hotel before setting off on our next rainy adventure.
It has rained for short periods almost daily, so we are getting used to it. Today was no exception. Undeterred, we grabbed our umbrellas and headed out to the Arc du Triomphe. The Arc was built by Napoleon to honor the fallen French soldiers. According to legend, the buiding of the Arc was a last minute change. The original design was to be a massive elephant, shooting water out of its trunk.
As you walk under the street to get to the Arc, there is a photo of Hitler walking under the Arc in triumph. I wonder if that piece of propaganda intended to humiliate the French might have been the very thing to make the French citizens determined to throw off the occupation and reclaim their freedom.
The reason you have to walk under the street to get to the Arc is because the cars traveling around the Arc in a circle have no lights to stop at, and lanes are merely a suggestion. If there is an accident, the drivers are not to stop their vehicle but to pull off to the side and then call the police. Chaos reigns, but no one was in an accident while we were watching. Thank goodness.
Views from the Arc were beautiful, if a bit wet. The students walked up all the stairs, and I took the elevator. We all went back down via the stairs, and the new joke is that we all have Quads of Steel. I certainly can “feel the burn” from all the walking and stairs. Afterward, we walked down the Champs-Elysses. The gorgeous wide boulevards and wrought iron streetlights are magical; if a bit crowded. Shoppers are undeterred by rain.
Our students have several different culinary delights like duck and crepes. French omelettes are a favorite too. Tonight, however, they were determined to conquer the slimiest of all French cuisine…the snail.
After a lot of photo taking and a joke about the scene from Pretty Woman, the students each bravely took the snail holder (not sure what the name of the device is, but it has been described as looking like a medieval eyelash curler by the students), pried out the dark colored morsel that had been bathed in butter, wine garlic and spices…and swallowed.
The group opinion? Escargot tastes like calamari. One hated it, and the others have decided that they would eat it if offered, but not order it if there were other options.
The new food to try for tomorrow? Macarons. Somehow, I think this will be a bigger hit.