Thursday, March 16th 2017
UB Lab Practicals and afternoon crêpes
After walking up a couple flights of stairs to get to the labs we would be observing today, I realized two things to myself. One, the French really don’t use elevators. Two, boy, was I really out of shape.
We would be observing a few different labs today. The lab professors handed us a pair of safety glasses and a lab coat to wear for our visit. Some of the labs I saw was an organic chemistry lab, a lab for aspiring high school science teachers, and some first year general chemistry labs. The students were told that UC students were here to observe and that they should describe what, why, and how they were doing their experiments in English. Depending on the lab, sometimes it was difficult for them to talk to us because they have never needed to use English outside of learning it or perhaps they felt uncomfortable about our presence.
The other UC students dubbed me as the one to approach the lab students because I knew French. It was odd for me to be the leader of the pack, but I tried to find French students who were more willing to talk to us. One pair of guys I talked to were nice to us as they showed us their protocol and how they set up their apparatus. I began to notice that when you show that you have some understanding and ability to speak French, the French people react very well to it. Wherever I spoke some French, I have usually been given an enthusiastic, positive response like “Ah, bien!” (“Ah, good!”) or “Oh! Vous pouvez parler en français?” (“Oh! You can speak French?”). I am really proud to know French.
For lunch, we went off into small groups (because our group had too many people for one place to accommodate all of us at once). I headed to Le Café Bleue and had some crêpes with my friends.