Review: Derry Girls

Derry Girls is a miniseries directed by Lisa McGee that is constituted of six 25-minute long episodes.
It deals with the lives of a group of teenagers in a 1990s conflicted Northern Ireland.

The show is not only brilliant and entertaining, it also reminds you of Northern Ireland’s history. Having the ripples of the Troubles impact on the lives of European teenagers and seeing the adjustments needed to handle the tension is quite striking, especially if one forgot that it happened not so long ago.

Apart from that, the show casts real Irish actors and you get to appreciate proper Irish accents. You may learn new idioms as well, some you would never hear in a Hollywood movie, such as the renowned « Catch yerself one! » and the overused adjective « wee ».

It may be a short series but don’t hesitate to check it out, it is really worth it and currently available on Netflix France!

By Fabiola Boko

Tip: How to land an internship

An internship is a valued feature in one’s resume that one can readily use to prove they have a keen familiarity with the workplace environment. In consequence, it is essential for every student to find one, and, unless you tend to be a very obnoxious person like those people who eat tangerines in public places, there should be no reason for you to get none.

Following here are the steps to get an internship:

1. Rely on your wondrous assets and mesmerizing skills to charm your potential employers – in other words: Piston, piston, piston!

2. Master some foreign languages for any internship that will take place abroad and learn to translate:
« J’aimerais être pistonné, s’il vous plaît. » : « I would appreciate it if you would pull a few strings for me, please. »

3. Target the companies which solutions and outlook on the world motivate you – aka the behemoths that pay well. (Don’t forget about the  overlooked ones like Orange or the SNCF!)

4. Finally, polish your resume and cover letter (but you won’t need it if the strings were properly pulled).

You now have all the requisites necessary to get that internship you desire so much. You may relax and wait for the HR departments of all the companies you’ve reached out to to call you back!
And don’t forget how to say « piston »!

Faiz, Fatin and Sabrina: The Malaysian students of Polytech Grenoble – Interview

The moment I learned there were Malaysians students in Polytech Grenoble I was immediately intrigued. I had always been aware of France’s assets in terms of education and how attractive it is to foreign students. The diversity of the students that populate Grenoble is undeniably significant, although the foreign students you usually encounter tend to come from East Asia, Northern America or simply from Europe.

I met Fatin and Sabrina on the first day of the intensive English course where their story was brought to my attention during a dedicated “Mingle time”. After they quickly explained their background and where they came from, I remained curious about certain details. For instance, the reason they had chosen France as their country of studies and their incredible proficiency in French (that made me wonder if French was taught in Malaysia???) still eluded me.

For this reason, I am pleased to get to know more about their story and to share it with you. I thus bring to you Fatin, Sabrina, and their friend Faiz as well –who kindly answered my questions!

Did you know? Malaysia is a country located in South East Asia. Its capital is Kuala Lumpur and its official language is Malay and English is a recognized language, which is why some schools teach their students in English.

To begin with, please take note that France’s and Malaysia’s educational systems are very different. As Fatin explained during our first English class when asked by our teacher, students in Malaysia are offered the opportunity to study abroad by the government. Their choosing France can seem a bit off in a world where English-speaking countries are besieged with an ever growing number of foreign students and that is what is what my first question dealt with.

Me: Why did you decide to study in France and not in another country?

Sabrina: The main reason we chose to study in France is the standard of education which is generally high and the reputation of the academic institutions. France offers a wide range of interesting courses, some of which are not available elsewhere.

Sabrina went on to praise France’s gastronomy and its landscapes, adding that “for passionate foodies, France is the place where you discover great taste and great execution. Not to forget that France is the perfect place for a vacation. It is a very beautiful country; every part of it is breathtaking and unique”.

I then turned to Faiz who shared his own experience of having the opportunity to study abroad right after high school.

Faiz: After getting my SPM results, I got a scholarship offered by the Malaysian government to pursue my studies overseas. Honestly, I randomly chose France as it was the first European country that came to my mind at the time. France’s educational standards are somewhat better than in my home country, especially in engineering. I also wanted to learn a new language, which is why I chose France rather than an Anglo-Saxon country.

Me: By the way, when did you arrive in France?

Fatin: We arrived in 2015, around three years ago. Roughly forty Malaysian students came to France under the program.

Fatin got closer from her friends during the one-year course that took place in Tours. She added that there is a Malaysian students’ association in France that organizes various events for Malaysians to meet and get to know each other. The association, called MASAF, gives tips about the life in France and acts as an intermediate platform for the cohesion of Malaysian students.

Me: Would you say that many Malaysians have the opportunity to study abroad?

Sabrina: To come and study here in France, we had to compete with everyone else to get the national scholarship. It was a challenging process: the outcome greatly depends on your interview performance and your exam results.

Sabrina then explained that it is still possible to study abroad without financial aid from the government, but not everyone can afford to pay the tuition fees since the European currency is higher than the Malaysian ringgit.

You may have picked up that the Malaysian system does not quite work the French one. Faiz mentioned something about the SPM (the Malaysian Certificate of Education) that Fatin then explained more thoroughly.

Me: What are the main differences between France’s and Malaysia’s educational systems?

Fatin: The main difference between the two is that we graduate high school with the SPM which is an equivalent of O-levels (Editor’s note: O-levels are now UK’s GCE and are of a slightly higher level than the French brevet). This explains why we had to do a one-year course when we came to France: to make sure we had the level required by French baccalauréat.

She went on to explain how the Malaysian system works:

Fatin: In Malaysia, after graduating from high school, students can choose to pursue their studies by doing a one-year foundation course or a two-year diploma before continuing with a bachelor’s degree. Other than that, the difference between Malaysia and France is that most of the syllabus in Malaysia is taught in English, which is our second official language, while not a great deal of subjects are taught in Malay, our official language.

If you have ever conversed Faiz, Sabrina or Fatin, it must have come to your mind that they master the French language perfectly. To study in a foreign country is difficult enough with all the cultural differences and the adaptation to a new lifestyle; hence I came to wonder how they came to learn French. Did they have to hit the ground running and learn it on the spot or was French taught in their schools?

Me: How did you learn French exactly? Did you learn it in Malaysia or right here in France?

Sabrina: French isn’t a language widely spoken in Malaysia. Actually, we did not speak French at all before coming to France. Thankfully, we had a year of intensive French classes in Blois or in Tours before entering tertiary education. We keep practicing French in school with friends and teachers and in public. After all, the best way to learn a language is in a country where it’s spoken.

After the one-year course, many Malaysians elected to pursue with a technical degree in an IUT. Sabrina herself chose this path before applying to enter in PRI in Polytech Grenoble, along with Faiz. As for Fatin, she studies in IESE. They are all first year students.

After learning about their background I asked Faiz about his plans for the future. As it turns out, they are all required to serve a 6-year bond in Malaysia, as agreed in the scholarship contract. Apart from that, Faiz does not know in which country he would like to work in the future, but considering his impressive path, there is no doubt that he will find it soon enough.

Polytech’s Drama Club: Christmas Edition

In this month’s issue, many special events are being brought to you by the newsletter team. However the most dazzling of all is the show prepared by the Polytech’s drama club.

We’ve already interviewed Drama club coordinator Matthieu, GGC4,  for this month’s issue, but we can’t seem to let it go!

The big news is that during the Christmas party (of which the date will be announced soon), the drama club will bring fun to the event with one of their well-executed theatrical performance. Their show is about Christmas and, as always, it promises to be cheerful and entertaining with a well-versed humor that will get a chuckle out of even the most somber ones.

The Drama club put consistent work into each every one of their performances: they usually rehearse the scenes of a show on a weekly basis within a two-month span before it is brought to the public.

Many students, from all branches, are part of the Drama club, including some GGC, RICM, IESE and TIS students.

Polytech’s Drama Club members

Corentin from GGC4 commented that he “wanted to join a drama club right after entering Polytech”. He didn’t join in right away but waited “until the second semester when [he] saw some of [his] friends were part of the club”.

Mathis from RICM3 added that he wanted to be “part of a drama club ever since [he] was in junior high” and decided he’d join in on the fun when Robin from the Bureau des Jeux told him about it during one of their parties.

The students involved in the club are all hard-working and attentive to bring to their public a show of fine quality. At any rate, if you are planning to come to the Christmas party, don’t miss out on the fun and go see them perform!