Interview of Lucas, an Italian student

Hi Lucas ! So you come from Italy, can you tell us from where exactly ?

Hi ! Yes, of course ! My hometown is called Case Rosse, it’s situated just next to Rome.

For how long have you been in France ?

I’m in France since September, so it’s been 4 months if we take out December considering I took a one-month break at Christmas.
I’m here in order to pursue my studies abroad. I’m a PhD student in philosophy and I can get (at most) half of my lessons outside of Italy. So I can take this full year to travel in France and I will see for the first semester of next year.

Why France among all ?

I came in France 2 years ago for a week on my holydays, and I noticed that being in a French country suited me much more than an English one. English is for me a very useful language even here in France, but I am much more motivated to learn French.

However French doesn’t seem as easy as English to me.

You’re right, French isn’t that simple but as an Italian I still manage to understand quiet well and to express myself more or less properly, simply because Italian is very close to French and in addition, since I’m studying Latin, it’s even easier. But of course, it doesn’t work everytime, for example, to stop is “fermarsi” while it is “arrêter” and not “fermer” in French. Still, French is far from being a barrier to me.

How do you feel in France now that you live here ?

I must admit that life seems more comfortable from my point of view in France rather than in Italy. For example, just take the transport system. Either you take your car or public transports, it’s a mess in Rome. You have access to only 2 underground lines in a city bigger than Paris. Also, weather is more pleasant here.
But more importantly, current Italian political life and job market aren’t at their best. So, for the moment, I feel better in France.

Olivier Troussard, a League of Legends captain

Today we meet Olivier Troussard, a student in TIS5 at Polytech Grenoble. He is the captain of the two school’s League of Legends (LoL) first team (out of two).

Who are you?

My first year at Polytech was at Lille in PeiP C after one year of PACES. I participated in a tournament between a couple Polytech schools but I was playing just for fun at the time, so we lost quickly. Then I arrived at Grenoble the next year, in TIS, and I continued playing without taking part in any tournament. It’s only since last year that we put together the first LoL team and participated to our first tournament together. That year I played to Counter Strike, and a member of the team played to LoL (and ranked second!) at a LAN with the INP and the Imag. This year, we continued playing with other Polytech students and participated to a some tournaments. As I am currently following a sandwich course, I travel very often between Paris, where I have my desktop computer, and Grenoble, where I go to the Meltdown bar to play and train. It is not easy but it is worth it, I enjoy playing a lot, even if I do not plan to make it a professional career.

How did the LoL team start?

Last year, a student tournament already took place, to which we participated with the majority of the members of our current team. For this year’s edition, the organisers (the Student Gaming Network association, based in Lyon) improved the overall organisation and offered more interesting prizes (unlike last year, they are supported by Riot France, the makers of the game). So I asked if they wanted to do it again, and they were ok: we have 11 players, enough to create 2 teams of 5 players with 1 substitute player in the first team. We play LoL because we like it (of course), we have enough players with a high enough level and it is the videogame with the biggest tournaments in France.

Is there a difference of level between the teams? Do they practice the same way?

Yes, they are pretty different one from another. The first team is rather high level, the second one is more for fun, they don’t seek to be the absolute best. I am the captain of the first one. Our team do practice a lot at home, even more when a competition is coming soon: 2 to 3 practices a week, during which we do 3 games of approximately 1 hour each, so 6 to 9 hours a week.

What level are your players and do you help each other? (see Figure 1)

In the first team, we have one Master, one Diamond 3-4 (me), two Diamond 5 and two Platinum 2-5. In the second team they are Gold and Silver. Our Master and I play since 2012, our Diamonds since 2013-2014 and the others started later, hence their lower level. Last year, since we only had one team, Guillaume, Théo and I (Diamond players) gave some advice to two other Silver players so that the level would be sort of uniform. This year we don’t have many interactions between the two teams, even though the second one watches most of our games.

Icons for League of Legends' 6 tiers

« Leagues are groups of players of similar skill level, and there are many leagues in each tier. [Players have to] win ranked games to be promoted to a league of the next tiers. All leagues (except those in the Master or Challenger tier) are broken down into five divisions: 1 is the highest and 5 the lowest. [It] shows the progress toward a league in the next tier. »

Source: Riot Games

How do you prepare for a tournament and do you have predefined roles?

We watch our opponents games, as a team but also each player individually in games where they don’t play with their team: every champion they usually play, their stats… All of the information is summarized in a big Excel sheet. We also think of which champions we will choose in consequence. There is a lot of upsteam work. We change our substitute player regularly so that everyone can play and not only the ones with the highest level. When a player is the substitute, he has an analist or coach role.

Do you have any sponsors and what can you win?

No, and this is not something we are looking for, we are not a pro or semi-pro team where results are expected. There are approximately 600 french teams and even if we are theorically the 12th team on a national level (based on our players individual levels) sponsors are only interested in the teams in the top 3 I would say. We can win for example Riot points (the game’s currency to buy champions, skins, etc.), a book with some artworks of the game or even a Monster fridge, filled with the brand’s cans.

How was your past tournaments and do you have any others planned?

At the beginning of the year we lost in quarter-final. We have played our second tournament with 128 teams so 8 games for each team: we have won against, INP, Phelma and University Paris Créteil amongst others. We ranked 24th in France! It will probably be our last tournament this year, since most of our players are in fourth year and that many of them will go abroad for their internship, which will make the organisation way more complicated, but we’ll see. We are informed of the upcoming events through the official Student Gaming Network Discord server (https://discordapp.com/invite/sgnw). Next time we will have a tournament or a game streamed live it will be shared on the BDJ’s Facebook page and on the school’s Discord.

Marcelo, a Brazilian student at Polytech Grenoble – Interview

Marcelo is from Brazil. He arrived in France on August 25th, all the way from Sao Luis, a town located in Maranhao. Current student in the IESE department, he explains how he managed to be a student of Polytech Grenoble for a whole year, and how he lives it.

Fond of learning, and passionate about electronics, his teacher in Brazil happens to be the coordinator of the “Bravitech” agreement, which facilitates student exchange between Brazil and France. He thus told Marcelo about it, and this is how a long fight started, to get chosen as an exchange student. One of his struggles was to learn how to speak French. He explains that « It was difficult because [he] had to do a French level test, but did not know anything about French! So [he] started studying in February” for these tests which were in March. That is a month and a half to study. And in only a month, Marcelo managed to master this language and to pass his French exam hands down. Then there was a rather tough selection: three available positions, for only five students. “It was hard,” Marcelo explains, “as the selection is done mainly on the language and our specific fields (electronics, controls etc)”.

Today, Marcelo speaks French as if it were his mother tongue, thanks to his friends from Grenoble, and all the activities he has so far done in this amazing town. For Marcelo, « the experience of talking with people and the French is better than studying alone.”

You might wonder, why France of all countries if he did not speak a word of French before his first French exam? Well, in Brazil, not everyone has the opportunity to travel, let alone travel abroad. For Marcelo, this was an opportunity to learn a new language, to discover a new culture, as well as a chance to improve his resume. Nowadays, not all students are lucky enough to travel and study abroad. So when the opportunity arose, he took it with no hesitation.

However, Marcelo had never been to France. Everything was new, as it was an experience that was extremely different from what he had already experienced. He had never left his country, never been abroad. So to prepare his trip, he sought a lot of information, asked friends who already were in France how it was. He said « I asked my friends from Brazil (amongst which three were from the same city as me) who have already returned to Brazil, and also the other Brazilians who were already in France. They all helped me a lot ». As he was always looking for what he needed to improve his stay in France, he met a lot of Brazilians through Facebook, Whatsapp, and made a lot of new friends.

Out of all his Friends, he knows a lot of Brazilians, but many foreign students too! He is integrated thanks to the “TDs” and “TPs”. Indeed, one can exchange with the pupils and ask for help, or help them etc. This helps to get to know everyone a little more, and considering “the students are very nice here”, it is therefore easy to feel integrated and to make a lot of new friends.

The reason he chose electronics is because since his childhood, he enjoyed everything related to this subject. « I think it’s a question of vocation” he explains. There are a lot of things to do, such as the production of systems, embedded systems, production of a prototype, and projects for companies, on any topics related to energy, electricity. As for Marcelo, he works mostly with embedded systems and the wireless network. What he enjoys the most in it is « how electronic devices, in the development of new systems, can solve everyday problems.” He studied this field in Brazil, and he here « saw the opportunity to develop [his] knowledge and skills on the subject”. Indeed, he explained how « and some subjects are different, some subjects are similar”. Compared to Brazil, the teachers’ teaching is almost the same. But the teaching system is completely different. Indeed, in France there are “TD” and “TP”. In Brazil, they also have “TPs”, but differently. Here at Polytech Grenoble in the IESE depatment, for example, we have a theoretical week on one topic, then a week of practice on the same topic. In Brazil, they study a particular subject in a whole for an entire semester, and the following semester they practice on the same subject in said “TPs”.

Marcelo has so far spent three months in Grenoble and thinks it’s a wonderful town, which is well developed and organized. But even though he fell in love with Grenoble, he wants to work in Brazil, and export to his country the experience he gained in France. He actually plans on finishing is Master’s degree to then work in his hometown. When asked why he did not want to work in France, he answered “the most important thing, is family”. To him, it’s not healthy to be away from his family for too long. Moreover, he is the first member of his family to ever leave the country. It was thus a difficult change for his family, especially since his parents are old, but they are still very proud of him and believe their son to be very lucky to have this opportunity. « I miss them”, is what Marcelo said as he was talking about his family.

He misses his town too, mostly because of the cold here in Grenoble. Indeed, temperaturs never go below 22.2°C in his hometown! The food is also very different: he misses Brazilian food, which is very spicy, and very typical. A funny fact: in France, Couscous is served for lunch. In Brazil? They eat Couscous for breakfast! As he was born near beaches, he has never seen snow, so he enrolled in a Ski course, in order to enjoy snow during his stay in France. Today, Marcelo plans on visiting Paris, Bordeaux, Orléans, Nice and Marseille with his Brazilians friends during Christmas holiday, and keeps enjoying the wonders of Grenoble every day.

Élisa Beaugrand, manager of the Polytech Grenoble Pompoms – Interview

Meet Élisa, a manager of Polytech Grenoble’s Pompoms ! They take part in Polytech events to perform and show off their exceptional choreographies to students, teachers, parents, and others.

Louis D.G.: Hello Élisa.

Élisa B.: Hello !

L: You are one of the managers of the Polytech Grenoble Pompoms. The Ol’INPiades 2018 have just ended and your team took part in the event. How did your performance go ?

É: Our performance went very well. We are very proud of what we have accomplished. Unfortunately we did not have the ranking we were hoping for and we finished second to last. We think that the judges (who are INP students) have been particularly hard with the Polytech pompoms because in my opinion our performance was much better than those of some other INP schools. I look forward to videos of all the performances to prove that this is not only bad faith.

L: What are the next big plans for the Pompoms ?

É: The biggest event of the year is the Ol’INPiades so the biggest event to come is the Ol’INPiades 2019. It is a pompom contest between Polytech and the different INP schools. This requires a lot of preparation, we train at least three times a week for 2 months to be ready on D-Day. As I am a member of the « pompoms team leaders » I also have to prepare the choreographies, this work starts as soon as possible, usually about 7 months before the performance.

For this school year, there will of course be other events to which we will take part. The next one is the TIF (Tournoi interfilières on November 24th). We will also make representations on other occasions such as BDE campaigns or the Polytech open day (to be confirmed).

Each year, the pompoms also do a choreography during the graduation.

L: Can we still join the team ?

É: Of course it is possible to join the team! There is room for everyone, even those who have never attended a dance class! And boys, please don’t be shy, we need you to achieve figures worthy of the best cheerleading teams in the United States.

If you are interested in pompoms, why not come for a trial class? They are every Tuesday evening after classes from 17h45 to 19h. And if you want more information you can contact me (Élisa BEAUGRAND RICM3) or contact the other team leaders (Myriam RABAHI MAT4 – Anne-Laure TAFFIN TIS5 – Maeva BOURDINAUD MAT4 – Clément BOUTEAUD IESE4).

PS: Your regular presence is rewarded in polypoints.

L: Thanks a lot for all this information Élisa. We look forward to seeing your next performance !