Awareness of other cultures and views
- Awareness of the richness of linguistic diversity:
Learning two foreign languages is compulsory at the Engineer level (English + another modern language for French students, English + French for international students). French students are invited as soon as they enter ESA (and regularly during the course of the curriculum) to reflect on language choices that may differ from the classical choices. Linguistic diversity is encouraged, thereby enabling the opening up of new horizons and the possibility of new and original personal projects. Brazilian Portuguese, Spanish, German, Italian, Chinese, Japanese, Russian, Dutch and more are offered internally or in partnership with Angevin language organisations.
- Support in learning French
Foreign students are required to master the French language. To do this, before their arrival, a French online method – designed by ESA’s FLE (French as a foreign language) team – is offered to them to help them prepare for departure and facilitate their adjustment in France. Once at ESA, weekly FLE classes and writing workshops are organised to support their progress in French and facilitate communication within and outside the classroom.
- Valorisation of language skills
Students have the opportunity to prepare and sit various international language exams (TOEIC, TOEFL, TFI, DELE, Goethe, etc.) and to have their language skills endorsed in an academic and/or professional context.
Integrating the intercultural dimension
- Internships abroad and study trips are carefully prepared. This preparatory work combines country presentations, advice, awareness of codes of behaviour and more, and insists on the need to adopt an open and positive attitude as part of a reflective process.
- Integration sessions are organised at the beginning of the semester to help international students settle into the school, the town and French society.
These special sessions include language and methodological training courses, courses on life in France, French culture and cultural visits (museums, sites of interest, etc.), and technical visits (food groups, wine cellars, botanical gardens, etc.). They form a springboard that allows international students to gain confidence and be ready to face the rest of their courses at the ESA, having mastered some of the key elements.
- International students who wish to do so can also undertake an introductory work placement of one or two months on a farm before the start of their study programme. This experience, preceded by a day of preparation on “integration into a French family”, allows them to discover the French agricultural sector, to familiarise themselves with the language and to understand the specificities of a new culture.
- Some parts of some of the 3rd and 4th year courses, attended by international students, have activities that require several nationalities to work together on projects. Such group work can reveal differences in approach, interpretation and even conflicting opinions. The purpose of such exercises is to help students to modify their perspectives, accept that their culture is only one among many, seek common ground and be enriched by differences.
Each year, ESA staff are offered training in how to understand and manage intercultural relations better. Organised in four modules (time management, communication, reasoning and conflict management), this training aims to assist in arriving at a better understanding of the attitudes and reactions of an international public and learning communication techniques that may facilitate better contact.
ESA welcomes international researchers and professors for short periods of time (1 – 3 months), mainly in the framework of the masters’ programmes. About twenty international teachers come to ESA each year. Equally, ESA’s research-lecturers are obliged to carry out short missions (1 – 2 weeks) to establish or consolidate scientific cooperation. Our research units participate in European projects.
Profit from the venues for meeting and discussion
In September 2018, a new spacious and friendly venue will be inaugurated for students. Equipped with multi-use cultural rooms, a music recording room, games room, TV room, sandwich bar, terrace, etc., this new space is going to enliven student life, offer opportunities for French and international students to meet and allow the organisation of cultural events for mixed audiences. The new ESA Language Centre, a new generation learning space, will also be inaugurated on the same day. This will be a place where French and international students will be able to work on their languages in a modern and functional environment, designed for fruitful exchanges and collaborative work.