Nicolo Lovinello - 16:9
  • International Partner

A Day in the Life of a Sorbonne University Exchange Student: Nicolo Lovinello

Nicolo Lovinello, an undergraduate student at one of our partner institutions, Indiana University, shares his experience as an exchange student at Sorbonne University.

What are you studying in Indiana, and what classes are you taking at Sorbonne University? 

I am studying Environmental Science with a minor in French at Indiana University. Sorbonne University does not offer an environmental science program, but they do offer courses in many of the disciplines involved in studying the environment. Being an international student gives me more freedom to choose courses. Here at Sorbonne University, I am taking two courses in geology: Geochemistry and a combined course of Sedimentology and Geodynamics. I also have two biology courses, focusing on ecological studies, which are Plant-Environment Interactions, and The Scientific Method and its Application to Ecology. For French I have a French foreign language course and an extracurricular writing class.

In your experience, what’s the biggest difference between the education style in the US and France?

The biggest difference for me is the lack of quizzes and homework. In France, a lot of the time spent outside of class is devoted to self-led studying. There may only be one or two homework assignments or one test before the final. This can make it a little more challenging to anticipate what will be expected on the exams and where you need to improve your knowledge, but I’ve found that a simple review session at the end of each week can help me stay on top of things.

One major highlight and one major challenge?

For me the biggest challenge was developing new vocabulary in French to describe the concepts I learned in class. A great example is in my geology classes, where describing textures, size, and other qualitative features of rocks are extremely important. Many of these terms are obviously too specific to cover in a French foreign language class, and it can be quite jarring to not be able to express your knowledge in the manner you would under normal circumstances. The biggest highlight has been developing new relationships, and the experiences that come with it. Throughout this program I have begun to realize what a social person I am, and the warmth of my French classmates and the comradery of my international friends is truly delightful.

Take us through a typical day at Sorbonne University. 

During the week I’m up at 7 to make coffee, my lunch for the day, and leave for my 8:30 class. At 12:45 I go to the geological student association room to have lunch and a coffee. After that I either have more classes, or study in the library before going home. Later in the week I may go for an after-class drink with some friends. On the weekends I catch up on the sleep I missed from the week and normally go out with friends later in the evening. When I have free time during the week I love to go for walks around my neighborhood. 

What advice would you give to other students interested in studying abroad at Sorbonne University? 

My biggest piece of advice is don’t be afraid to ask questions. Personally, the idea of being a foreigner can be a little intimidating, especially when it comes to everyday interactions. Something as simple as asking the teacher to repeat themselves can be a big deal when you are the only non-native French speaker in the room. Professors, administration, and other students are always happy to help. 

What was it like to live in Paris?

To put it simply, life in Paris is hard. I have experienced extremes of almost every emotion, whether it be the frustration with bureaucracy, the isolation of the first week, or the joy of spending a day with close friends exploring the city. The positive experiences far outweigh the negative ones, and there are always new adventures to be had. One strange thing is that the novel mystique of the city can wear off as I fall into the normal habits of student life until suddenly, a picnic at the Eiffel tower or a walk along the Seine revitalizes the novelty of the city and my excitement to explore it. 

Pictured: Nicolo Lovinello exploring the Montmartre district of Paris during his exchange program at Sorbonne University.

Nicolo Lovinello

Courses

Discover our courses catalog

Medicine

The Faculty of Medicine teaches the 3 cycles of medical studies: from PASS (integrated into the faculty) to the 3rd cycle including DES, DESC, DU and DIU. The lessons are given mainly on two sites: Pitié-Salpêtrière and Saint-Antoine. The faculty also provides paramedical education: speech therapy, psychomotricity and orthoptics. The Saint-Antoine site includes a midwifery school.

Study
at the faculty of medicine

One of our riches is the diversity of students and their backgrounds. Sorbonne University is committed to the success of each of its students and offers them a wide range of training as well as support adapted to their profile and their project.

Associative life

One of our riches is the diversity of students and their backgrounds. Sorbonne University is committed to the success of each of its students.

21 393

users

17 527

students

715

Doctors in medecine and research

12

Research centers

Chiffres-clés

A unique combination of courses and expertise

Our international study programmes are organised according to the major disciplinary areas of the faculty. They represent the graduate study programmes that are not strictly conducted in French or that could be suitable (in part) for non French-speaking students. They also reflect part of the diversity of the disciplines involved and the bi- and inter-disciplinary aspects of many of the courses we offer.

 

Research & Innovation

We rely on disciplinary skills and on interdisciplinary approaches to renew concepts, methods and research subjects and to focus on some of the crucial issues faced by our societies: transformations affecting the very construction of knowledge (data, AI), the treatment of complex objects (the environment, marine and ocean sciences, cultural heritage) or our contributions to addressing societal challenges (climate change, healthcare).

Study at
The Faculty of Science & Engineering

Our campuses offer different and unique experiences to our students, visitors and staff. Resources and support services are also available to ensure an equal chance at success to all.

Campus Life

In addition to the cultural activities and events organised throughout the year by our clubs and societies, the Parismus society organises numerous events, evenings and cultural visits that will help you discover France and its parisian life.

23

ACADEMIC DEPARTMENTS & INSTITUTE

72

RESEARCH UNITS

22,000

STUDENTS

Sorbonne University's Faculty of Science & Engineering, Oriented towards excellence