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A glance of studying and living in Toulouse
It has been three months since I came to study as an exchange student in Ecole Nationale de l’Aviation Civile(ENAC).And I’m glad to share my personal experience with you.
Brief introduction to Toulouse and ENAC
Located in the southwest of France, Toulouse is the fourth largest city in the country. It is important to realize that Toulouse is the center of the European aerospace industry, with the headquarters of Airbus (formerly EADS), the Galileo positioning system, the SPOT satellite system, ATR and the Aerospace Valley. That is to say, aviation and aerospace are strong characteristics of this lovely city.
The unique geographical environment of Toulouse is that it lies roughly in the middle of the Atlantic and the Mediterranean contributes to its mutable weather. Actually it is easy for me to adapt the humid subtropical climate considering that I grew up in the northern part of homeland. In autumn, it rains a lot but not heavily. It is common to see rain clouds scud past like big ships sailing out of harbor.
ENAC was founded on August 28, 1949 to provide initial and continuing education in the field of civil aviation. There are several programs for exchange students. For instance, I major in Air operations and Safety which is taught in English.
Landmark building of ENAC
Studying in ENAC
To be honest, I was astonished by the French accent at the very beginning. While it’s a little hard to fully understand what the teacher said in class, these difficulties can be gotten over with through enough patience and concentration. By the way, the teachers and students are quite enthusiastic. For example, sometimes the teachers speak French subconsciously and native students often explain to me what the teacher said in English.
More specifically, the teacher from optimization course knew some Chinese and he often talked with me in Chinese. One thing I learned from that course is how to solve an optimization problem which consists of more than two variables. I was surprised that I didn’t know the algorithm at all. The problem was quite laconic and it seemed to related to high school math. However, it’s not and the algorithm is called Simplex Method which is quite interesting and useful.
Goldener Saal in Vienna
I also took English class. The teacher named Michael was from America and it was the first time I could fully understand what was taught in class. English course was very formal and everyone was supposed to give a presentation of what he or she read last week at the beginning of every class. Moreover, after the final presentation and exam Michael called everyone to give an individual meeting for feedback.
We had holidays at the end of October. So it’s really a good time to relax and visit places of interest in middle Europe.
In Vienna, fortunately we got tickets to a concert at the Golden Hall. The room's rectangular shape and proportions, its boxes and sculptures allow early and numerous sound reflections. Also we visited Vienna Central Cemetery where many outstanding musicians were buried. The most famous are Beethoven and Mozart. Then we went to Schonbrunn Palace which is one of the most important architectural, cultural, and historical monuments in the country. In Prague, we visited the Old Town Square. The square's center is home to a statue of religious reformer Jan Hus, who for his beliefs was burned at the stake in Constance.
Schonbrunn Palace in Vienna
China has been changing with remarkable speed in the past more than 30 years. Adam Smith already wrote in the late 18th century, “The Chinese market is larger and more developed and more sophisticated than anything in Europe.’’ Recent Goldman Sachs projections indicate that the Chinese economy will be almost the same size as the American economy in 2025. Over the past five years, China's GDP rose from 54 trillion yuan to 80 trillion yuan, contributing more than 30 percent of global economic growth.
So it is our responsibility to try to let the civilizations and cultures which had been ignored, which were not listened to, which were not known about have a different sort of representation in the world.
Although there are 6 hours(7 hours for standard time) time differences between China and France, I always pay close attention to news in homeland especially 19th National congress held in October.
In a word, living and studying in Toulouse is really marvelous and inspiring.