France

Group of engineering students on tour in France

The course provides content and teaching in topics such as communication, teamwork and cultural competence. Travelling provides students an opportunity to apply the content in an international setting. Students who choose to go to France will visit French industry, partner universities, and cultural sites that are famous around the world.

Industry Visits

Visiting industry allows students to hear from technical and organizational leaders regarding international business. Students learn from experts the challenges companies face and how they meet those challenges with a workforce able to contribute to the complex, global environment. Each link provides a description from a UC student describing what was learned on the industry visit.

Partner Universities

UC and the College of Engineering & Applied Science have partnerships with several universities in France, including the ones described in the following links. Our partner universities provide opportunities for student exchange, collaborative degree programs, and collaborative research. Qualified students have the opportunity to spend an academic semester or two and perhaps a co-op semester at one of our partners. Check with your academic advisor or Prof Rutz if you are interested.

Cultural Visits and Experiences

France is filled with history, culture, good food, and interesting people. Did you know that when it was first built, Parisians thought the Eiffel Tower was ugly? Now it is perhaps the most recognizable structure in the world and a point of French pride. Students who have visited France have described their experiences in the following links

Lectra Systems

lectra systems machine

Lectra Systems develops software and hardware for organizations that use soft materials in industries including fashion and apparel, automotive, and furniture.

Lectra Systems manufactures cutting tables that either use a blade or a laser.

Lectra Systems has over 23,000 clients in over 100 countries. At Lectra Systems I was able to understand the meaning of being a global citizen because they communicate with people from all over the world. This means they are able to work in teams of very diverse cultures, opinions, and experiences.

I encourage every student to take advantage of an opportunity like this if they ever come across one. On this tour we networked with employees, experienced a global team in action, and visited the manufacturing facility to see first-hand where the product was made…If that’s not cool enough, we even got to see a demo of how the software they develop and the hardware they create work together to produce their clients’ needs.

By Maddie Ball

Smurfit Kappa

Smurfit Kappa is a world leading producer of paper-based packaging

Smurfit Kappa is a world leading producer of paper-based packaging. They have facilities in 32 countries, including one production facility in Biganos, France, which manufactures kraft paper used with corrugated cardboard packaging.

The Visit

Our visit began with the most important thing first: PPE. After donning a hard hat, hair net, safety glasses, and a florescent vest, we headed out in to the plant. We walked through each stage of the paper making process, from the rinsing of the logs, to the “digester’ column, to the final giant rolls of paper at the very end. The facility makes 1365 tons per day of 100% recyclable paper per day, which are used for packaging industrial and food products.

Why go?

Visiting a major manufacturing plant is always intriguing. It’s the in-person version of “How It’s Made” and a behind the scenes look at a major indus-try in the world. The visit to Smurfit Kappa was not only interesting from an engineering perspective, it was also enlightening to learn about a global company and how it does its part to be a global citizen in an evolving manufacturing community. Smurfit Kappa’s actions support and contribute to an emerging world community that is more environmentally conscious and focused on energy use and consumption. For every tree that is cut down for production, Smurfit Kappa plants one in its place. Additionally, the company is very adamant about recycling process chemicals in pro-duction– 97% are currently recycled.

By Taylor Hembree

Bordeaux

Bordeaux, France Scavenger hunt

Scavenger Hunt

2 hours | 9 clues

The students at the University of Bordeaux, MATMECA college lead us American students on a scavenger hunt within the city of Bordeaux. They gave us clues about certain monuments and we had to figure out what the tourist attraction or monument was, then take them there. Our resources were limited to a paper map and Bordeaux citizens.

This activity was a really good “starter session” for living and/or working in a foreign country. In reality you may not always have access to internet, or a native who speaks English. If you don’t know whether or not you will be able to adapt and thrive in these circumstances, then this scavenger hunt is for you. You also have the chance to get more familiar with the public transportation system, which is essential in a city like Bordeaux.

By Nicole Criner

Dining

French dining

Wake up and grab breakfast at a local bakery. The pastry’s and baguettes are made fresh everyday. In France it’s acceptable to eat dessert for breakfast and carry around a pocket baguette for whenever you need a quick snack.

Sit down outside and enjoy dinner at one of many French restaurants. Try new things like duck and salmon. These entrees will surely impress any pallet! French dining is something that everyone should experience. Sitting down and enjoying a meal is a huge part of the culture. Meals typically last for over an hour and the food is to die for. At the end of the day, unwind and grab some friends and have some fun at a local pub.

French bars and pubs have many drinks and foods to choose from. Similarly to America, there are activities such as singing, dancing, billiards, darts, and more. Prepare yourself to stay out late. The French like to party all night long.

By Brennan Schilling

IMA Academy

IMA is a part of the University of Bordeaux in France that specializes in educating students about maintaining and repairing aircraft.

IMA is a part of the University of Bordeaux in France that specializes in educating students about maintaining and repairing aircraft. The academy owns several retired aircraft (pictured below) that are available for students to study and reverse engineer specific parts, especially jet engines.

While IMA Academy especially appeals to Aerospace and Mechanical Engineers, all students should visit IMA because of the innovative technology that the academy possesses. The academy has also recently launched a dual-master’s degree program with the University of Cincinnati. The program consists of studying the first year at UC where most of the conventional teaching and classes are completed. Then the second year is at IMA Academy where the student puts the content learned at UC into practical experience with the technology at IMA, including flying simulators and hands-on aircraft maintenance. This program not only results in earning a master’s program, but also adds a global citizen to one’s resume. While at IMA, the student will be immersed in the French culture and will learn to communicate and work in a multi-cultural team, as students come from all over the world to study at IMA. An example of global teamwork that I witnessed at IMA was the human-powered glider (pictured at right) that was being constructed for a competition by two students of differing nationalities, one French and the other Moroccan.

If you are considering earning your master’s degree, why not study internationally for one year and gain a new perspective on engineering in a different culture and learn how to work in a global team?

By Adam Neltner

Hostel Experience

picture of a hostel in France

St. Christopher’s Inn is a youth hostel chain with locations all across Europe, in thirteen different countries with reliable security and countless amenities. The Paris Gare Du Nord branch is located between two of Europe’s most popular train stations, Gare du Nord and Gare de l’Est. There are large gender specific rooms with POD beds that have curtains to provide extra privacy, a space to lock up luggage, electronic key cards, community wash rooms, and a laundry room. There is a restaurant bar on the main floor that provides entertainment and food and drink discounts to the guests.

Our Visit

The nineteen of us who attended the study abroad and stayed in the hostel had a wonderful time. We were comfortable in our rooms, they were full but spacious enough, and very clean. It was fun to have everyone together in a room for our last couple of days after having gotten to know each other throughout the trip. It was very helpful that the hostel was located so close to public transportation services, and the free breakfast that was offered to our group was simple but tasty and much appreciated.

Based on the decorations, and language used on the signs, the hostel was clearly catered towards young adults. Many of us enjoyed being in the hostel’s restaurant, especially on Cinco de Mayo because there were games, food and drink specials, live mariachi bands, and dancers. The hostel houses young adults from all around the world, so it was very exciting to meet and get to know people from all over Europe and the U.S. It was a great first hostel experience for all of us. For those of the students who have plans to travel Europe again, this hostel will be a great international resource.

By Leah Rutz

Nancy

Nancy, France- The center of town is a beautiful square called Place Stanislas

Our first stop in France was the lovely and welcoming city of Nancy, located West of Paris, about two hours from the German border. We were welcomed into the University of Lorraine with a small party of French appetizers and a chance to mingle with French engineering students currently attending the university. The students and faculty of U. Lorraine welcomed us with open arms and made our very first experiences in France extremely positive, and all of Nancy was the same way!

The center of town is a beautiful square called Place Stanislas, which includes a collection of ornate and historic buildings. In the center of the square is a statue of a Polish man, Stanislas, who commissioned the building of the square to honor Louis XV. Surrounding this statue are the buildings mentioned above, which include the Hotel de Ville (City Hall) as well as cafés, restaurants and small shops. On any given day, the square was crowded with locals and tourists alike, admiring the architecture, soaking up the sun, or enjoying a bite to eat.

Just outside the square, is the stunning Basilica of St. Epvre, and beyond this is the Parc de la Pépinière, a large park full of vibrantly colored flowers, benches perfect for a short rest among the gardens, and people walking, jogging, and playing. Within the park is also a free zoo! That was a strange concept for us, but we had fun wandering around the exhibits to see the donkeys, peacocks, birds, ducks, and monkeys.

Other experiences in Nancy included a guided tour of the city led by students from the University of Lorraine and a meet and greet with the Mayor of Nancy! Cincinnati and Nancy are sister cities, so the Mayor was excited to have us visiting and a gracious host.

Time spent with the French engineering students gave us UC students an opportunity to learn about the education system of France, which was somewhat different from our own. We learned that the students in France graduate from high school then enter into two years of preparatory education to prepare them to be engineers. This is two years of math and physics, and all the students said these two years were extremely difficult and nothing but work. After this, the students go into an engineering specialization and complete three more years of schooling. At the end, they will have the equivalent of a bachelors and masters degree in their engineering specialty. Further, meeting the French students gave us a unique opportunity to speak openly with them about cultural similarities and differences as well as to just connect as humans and students and realize how much we all had in common.

Truly, Nancy was not only a gorgeous city, but also the people were all welcoming and generous, and these experiences started our entire trip off on a high note! Experiencing the city on foot and learning some of its history from the locals gave us an appreciation for the culture and a love of the people.

By Kristina Ulm

Eiffel Tower

Picture of people walking around the bottom of the eiffel tower

Built in 1889, it is still the tallest building in Paris and the most visited paid for monument in history, seeing nearly 7 million people per year. The Eiffel Tour is one of the most recognizable landmarks in the world.

The Exposition Universelle of 1889 marked the 100th anniversary of the French Revolution. This exposition is intended to showcase nation’s achievements. A monument was to be built serving as the exposition’s entrance in Paris. More than 100 plans were submitted to win this great honor, but the firm of Alexandre-Gustave Eiffel was chosen.

Gustave Eiffel was a renowned engineer and architect known for his metal structural work, including the internal frame of the Statue of Liberty. Although he did not himself create the designs for the Eiffel Tower, his name gave the city the confidence that this tower would be a successful masterpiece.

There were many Parisians unhappy with the idea to erect such an eye sore in the center of the city. A petition was signed against the tower from 300 artists, sculptors, and architects, representing the 300 meters height of the tower. Alas, construction continued, and the tower was completed within 2 years 2 months and 5 days.

The Eiffel Tower was not meant to be a permanent structure; after 20 years it was to be dismantled. The tower was saved by using it for scientific purposes. Eiffel installed a meteorology lab at the top of the tower and invited scientists to conduct their research on fields from gravity to electricity. Due to its height, the tower was ideal for wireless telegraph transmissions, which aided the French in World Wars I and II. The Eiffel Tower was the tallest building in the world until the construction of the Chrysler Building in 1930. Gustave Eiffel had also included a small apartment at the top of the tower in which he welcomed colleagues and his doctor brother saw patients with respiratory ailments.

The Eiffel Tower was built in order to welcome other nations to a universal exposition. The spirit of demonstrating our great pieces of work across the globe still exists today. It is important to recognize that people in all industries, including engineering, have worked globally since travel was possible. As globalization ever more increases, so will the drive to work with other creative minds in all corners of the world.

By Bethany Caspersz

Saint Émilion Monolithic Church

Saint Émilion Monolithic Church

Saint Émilion is a small, breathtaking town in southern France, just outside of Bordeaux. Although Saint Émilion and the surrounding country side is primarily known for the miles of vineyards and numerous chateaus, the town first came to prominence with the construction of the Monolithic Church that was carved into the heart of the town. On top of the Church stands a 53-meter-high bell-tower that offers gorgeous views of the surrounding countryside.

Saint Émilion first began in the eighth century when Monk Émilion took up residence in the area. He made his home in a small cave, performed miracles, and acquired a following of monks. When he died, a larger chapel was built on top of his home to hold the growing number of residents. Around the 12th century, the Monolithic Church was carved into the nearby hillside to attract individuals on pilgrimages and to benefit from the export of limestone. Unfortunately, most of the decorations on the inside of the church were destroyed during the French Revolution.


Saint Émilion and its Monolithic Church were by far my favorite experience while in France. During a tour of the Church, our group was told that only a small percentage of tourists come to Saint Émilion to see the Church—most come for the wine. It was wonderful to learn more about such an important element of the town, especially because it is something the locals take great pride in. It should me that being a global citizen isn’t just about doing the “tourist attractions,” but about learning about what makes up the city and what made it important in the first place. I feel this is especially important in countries like France that have such rich histories.

By Samantha Bauman

Palace of Versailles

Palace of Versailles

The Palace of Versailles is open every day of the week except Monday, and at an affordable price. More than 3 million people visit the chateau each year, and you should be one of them. Get to the castle early, and plan to spend as much time as possible. Stay there the whole day and you still won’t see the entire place. Not only is the castle beautiful, but it is also rich in history. The staff at the palace is embracing, and excited to share their information and get to know you.

Next time you are in France make sure to visit one of the most famous palaces in the world. Go with some friends, prepare to walk a lot, and go get lost in the history and gardens!

By Ben Harnen

Public Transportation  

A group of engineering students pose in France

Traveling Through France

Getting around through France, as well as the rest of Europe, is both easy and cost effective. You will find a travel station in nearly every city, and travel maps are always easily accessible. Just choose a method (i.e. Eurail, metro/RER, bus, tram) and off you go to see all the wonderful sights!

Why You Should Have This Experience

Navigating through a foreign city is a huge step in becoming a global citizen, especially in Europe. In the U.S., we are so used to having cars to take us everywhere. Most of Europe uses public transportation, so becoming familiar with the system is important if you plan on traveling around the world. There are also various benefits to the European public transportation system for a college student who wants to live abroad, such as not needing a car, being able to travel far distances for cheap, contributing to less pollution into the environment, and sitting in less traffic.

My Rewarding Experience

A few friends and I decided to travel to Versailles during one of our free days, which is about an hour outside of Paris. This was the first time we followed the metro lines without guidance from our faculty leader. Once we got to Versailles, the best feeling was knowing that we could navigate through France ourselves. I felt more independent and global, and I think everyone should experience this, especially for those who are planning to live abroad.

Typical Methods of Transportation & Cost Per Voyage

  • Eurail (train): ~6€
  • Metro/RER: ~2€
  • Bus: ~2€
  • Tram: ~2€

Benefits

  • No need for a car
  • Affordable for a college student
  • Better for the environment
  • Less traffic

By Cayley Severino

The Louvre

A group of engineering students pose for a picture in front of The Louvre

The Louvre, located in the center of Paris, is one of the most impressive and extensive collections of art in the world. It houses over 70,000 pieces of art spread out over more than 650,000 square feet. This enormous building houses paintings, drawings, sculptures, and many other relics from years long gone. To make their vast collection more manageable, the Louvre is divided into 8 departments:

  1. Near Eastern Antiquities
  2. Egyptian Antiquities
  3. Greek, Etruscan, and Roman Antiquities
  4. Islamic Art
  5. Sculptures
  6. Decorative Arts
  7. Paintings
  8. Prints and Drawings


Among the vast collection on display at the Louvre, you will find a few that stand out from the crowd. These ultra-famous pieces of art include the Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo, Winged Victory of Samothrace, and the Great Sphinx of Tanis.

In addition to all the impressive art the Louvre holds, the building itself is not to be ignored. Originally constructed as a fortress in the 12th century, its grand rooms and vast hallways will inspire awe in anyone.

Visiting the Louvre was a humbling experience for me. I gained a much better appreciation and understanding of nations around the world and of thousands of years of history. I was in awe at the talent of so many people and cultures that came before me. Visiting the Louvre is a great way to better understand your place in the world and appreciate the people and cultures of history.

If you are studying abroad anywhere in Europe, a day at the Louvre is a must do. Paris is easily reached by the train from all parts of Europe due to its central location. Admission is 15€, but all European students get in free. So be sure to bring your visa or a European student ID to get into the Louvre completely free! (A Bearcat ID or other American student ID will not work) The Louvre is also free on the first Sunday of each month, if you’re not afraid to battle large crowds.

This glorious museum is well worth your time, so plan your trip now to see the largest collection of art in the world!

à bientôt!

By Emma Mullins

Jazz Clubs

Faculty and students enjoy one of the jazz clubs in France

Jazzers

Nancy’s only jazz piano bar Jazzers is a piano bar that is right off the square in Nancy. On the 1st floor guest can enjoy a beverage. There is also a piano available for guest to play when there is not band playing in the basement. Jazzers is cozy with a staff who enjoys every moment.

La Mère Catherine

La Mère Catherine was founded in Paris in 1793. Not only is this restaurant one of the oldest in Paris it is also where we had our last dinner as a group together in Paris. The food was delicious and the server even took a selfie with us. La Mère Catherine has outside seating across from the restaurant itself. Inside the restaurant they also have live music. On this night they had a wonderful individual singing La Vie En Rose. The atmosphere was cozy and welcoming and part of me did not want to leave. The area that houses La Mère Catherine has many shops, restaurants, and bars most of which have live music. If you are a lover of music France is the place to be.

Chez le Pépère

Chez le Pépère is a small yet lively establishment that is located across from the Adigao Hotel in Bordeaux. If you have your windows open in the Adigao you can hear the band playing faintly which is how I found this wonderful place. They have a bar with a few tables when you walk in from the street. When you go down the spiral staircase you will find an intimate space where the band plays. I happened to be there in a Tuesday which is there Jazz night. The area was packed and people kept coming. Despite the small space a couple started to dance in the style known as Lindy Hop. The Band was fantastic and the atmosphere was even better. The staff was happy to be there and if you let him the owner would talk with you all night. If you do one thing in Bordeaux you should visit Chez le Pépère.

By Roxana Richter

University of Lorraine

Engineering students pose for a picture in front of University of Lorraine
  • The part of the university we got to tour was the engineering college
  • We got to hangout and make friends with many of the students at the university
  • It helped me realize the differences between our education system and student lifestyles.


Other students should experience this because it gives a better understanding of the French culture of students our age. Seeing how intensive their engineering programs are was interesting because they can work on a lot of hands on projects. Also, getting to meet and become friends with many of the students at the University of Lorraine was something that I will never forget. The international affairs director at their university was wonderful, and put on so many evets for us, and even got us a meeting with the mayor of the town of Nancy. I would recommend that everyone come on this trip because it’s a way to experience a different culture, and make new friends who you never knew existed.

By Ray Recchia

St. Emilion

St. Emilion (the city)

The region is primarily known for its red wine and is home to dozens of chateaus that produce some of the most expensive wine in the world. Students took a train from nearby Bordeaux to St. Emilion and were allowed to explore the countryside and town before meeting for a tour of the city.

The countryside is gorgeous and boasts vineyards as far as the eye can see. The vineyards, which were first planted in the 2nd century by the Romans, remain the main tourist attraction at St. Emilion.

The city of St. Emilion, however, is perhaps more gorgeous than the vineyards themselves. Built with limestone found in the region, St. Emilion has touches of Roman influence and is a very historic city, having been shaped from the 2nd century through the Middle Ages to the present day. The city was a very important city throughout history because of the limestone, the wine, and its location on the pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela. It got its name from a monk named Emilion, who, in the 8th century, was said to perform miracles. In order to escape persecution, Emilion fled to a cave in the present day city, and the town became to be known as St. Emilion.

The largest attraction in the town of St. Emilion is the monolithic church, which is carved into the limestone beneath the giant bell tower shown in the picture on the right. The church was constructed in the 12th century and also contains ancient catacombs and medieval drawings inside.

The guided tour of St. Emilion was fascinating, as students learned about the historical significance of St. Emilion, as well as the region’s history of wine production.

Around one million people visit St. Emilion each year to experience the history, culture, and wine the region has to offer. Few cities in the world are able to combine gorgeous countryside with breathtaking architecture like St. Emilion. In addition, the history of St. Emilion makes it one of the most unique places in France.

The combination of the history and views that St. Emilion has to offer make it a place everyone should try to visit.

By Adam August