Tag: Universite de Lorraine

A Semester in Nancy: ‘I’m looking forward to spending a few more months here!’

As Stirling enjoys a day of mist and snow, it seems a good moment to post another little article from one of this semester’s Study Abroad students, Margareta, who is at the beginning of her time in Nancy, in the East of France:

‘Salut à toutes et à tous!

Unfortunately, I don’t feel confident enough to write this post in French (yet). Recently, despite not having a singing voice, I accidentally joined the choir here (I zoned out in the middle of a meeting and said ‘oui’)…  However, I can tell you a bit about my Erasmus experience so far and maybe give some advice!

I’m currently doing my semester abroad in Nancy at the Université de Lorraine. I would describe Nancy as a smaller version of Paris with a lot of picturesque hilly streets and pâtisseries, only a bit cleaner. The location of the town itself is pretty great since you are about a 2-hour train ride away from Paris, Strasbourg, Luxembourg and many other places worth visiting.


The biggest problem I encountered before coming here was finding the accommodation as I tried to apply through CROUS, an organisation that operates uni accommodation on a national level in France. I found them to be quite ineffective and unresponsive. After a month and a half of trying to apply for the accommodation and them not giving me any feedback on my application, I decided just to look for a private room. [Side note: our Erasmus coordinator in France told me that CROUS called her sometime in mid-January and they were confused by me not coming. They didn’t e-mail me or communicate in any other way that they had received my application or anything else.]

2019roncevicnancypicivjan19This turned out to be great because I found a brilliant room in a house with garden and next to the river canal. There’s also a wee cat. Another advantage is that all 3 of my flatmates are French and refuse to speak English with me. They have also invited me to make salted crêpes and cheese fondue. The point is, find French flatmates if you can! They are great, friendly and it’s an amazing opportunity to immerse yourself in the culture and make new friends!

For example, I knew French had great wine, but beer? Turns out the house that I live in, in Maxeville, was a part of a brewery. Lorraine has a brilliant tradition of beers and pretty much wherever you go, you’ll find mini-breweries. Local beer or wine, cheese from farmers’ markets and some fresh bread – delicious!

2019roncevicnancypiciiijan19So far, this is my 5th year living away from home, so I’m not feeling extremely homesick or anything like that. It is very nice to have Jennifer here with me, especially when going to classes for the first time and trying to figure out our schedules. Lectures and seminars are very similar, almost identical to Stirling and there’s a big list of modules to choose from. We’re also taking an intensive French course with other Erasmus students and I’m very happy with it so far. It’s much easier to enjoy French when your professor laughs at his own jokes and explains everything 3 times – until we definitely understand it.

All in all, Nancy has been welcoming and a pleasant surprise. I would recommend everyone to consider it for their semester abroad. All the bureaucracy in the first semester was well worth it and I’m looking forward to spending a few more months in this place!’

Many thanks to Margareta for taking the time to send us this post and we hope you continue to enjoy your time in Nancy!


Language Assistantships and Semesters Abroad

At the moment, we have 8 French at Stirling students off on British Council English Language Assistantships, mainly dotted across metropolitan France but with one student in Quebec for the year and another in Belgium. Paige is one of those in France for the year and she is also participating in the ‘Language Linking Global Thinking’ programme, organised through SCILT, so we’re very happy to be able to post a link here to her latest blog post for LLGT all about festive traditions in France. Quite literally ‘food for thought’ for our Year 2 and final year students currently applying for ELAs for next year…

And while we’re on the topic of time abroad, best wishes to the 18 students embarking on their Semester Abroad at the moment at our partner institutions at the UCO in Angers, at the EGE in Rabat, at Aix-Marseille, at the Université de Lorraine in Nancy, and at the Universities of Tours, Limoges, Geneva and Clermont. We’re looking forward to being able to post some articles and pictures from them as they settle into their new Universities and towns for the semester… and hopefully some articles by students from our partner institutions spending their semester with us in Stirling, too.

Welcome to our Erasmus Students!

Not all the French and Francophone exchange students who come to Stirling from our network of partners take modules run by the French at Stirling team but we’re always really pleased to welcome them to Stirling and will be inviting them along to a range of events over the course of the semester.

This year, at last count, we have 24 exchange students coming from 11 different French Universities, business schools and grandes écoles with whom we have long-standing partnerships: the Universités de Limoges, Aix-Marseille, Clermont Auvergne, Lorraine and Perpignan, the IUT de Sceaux (Paris Sud), Sciences Po, the Ecoles de Management of Strasbourg and Normandie, ESSEC in the outskirts of Paris and the Université Catholique de l’Ouest. We’re looking forward to getting to know these students over the course of their time at Stirling and, this year, we’re particularly pleased to be giving some of them a chance to led informal conversation sessions with our Stirling-based students.

Who knows? We may even be able to convince a few of them to write blog posts about their time in Scotland…

Gothic Translations

Among our Erasmus partner institutions is the Université de Lorraine and, as well as undergraduate student exchanges, we also happen to currently have a jointly supervised PhD student, working with supervisors at Stirling and at the Université de Lorraine, Fanny Lacôte. Fanny’s research focuses on the reception of English Gothic novels at the end of the 18th and early 19th centuries France (1789-1821), that is, roughly, the revolutionary and post-revolutionary periods. We thought it would be good to get an insight into her research and how she ended up working across these two partner institutions:

“The first part of my thesis focuses on the publishers who specialised in the production of French translations of English Gothic novels, their criteria of editorial choices, and their commercial strategies concerning the production of these Gothic translations. Then, by focusing on contemporary reviews, sales-catalogues of private libraries, memoirs and correspondences, I seek to demonstrate the diversity in the readings of the genre and its readership.

The second part deals with the process of translation: I investigate the translators’ identities, and seek to uncover their strategies for adapting these English novels to the tastes of the French readership. It is completed by a case study of a specific translator and its translation and by a thematic study of the cultural transposition of the theme of Gothic architecture in a post-revolutionary French context. In a nutshell, I analyse the way this theme was appropriated by French writers, and both aesthetically and politically adapted to the readership.

2016 Lacote Radcliffe and de Chastenay
Ann Radcliffe and one of her French translators, Victorine de Chastenay

The third and last part consists in demonstrating the influence of English Gothic on French literature: I briefly look at theatre adaptations and melodramas, to focus mainly on imitations, spurious attributions, literary forgeries and parodies.

As for my academic background, I come from Nancy, where I studied librarianship for two years. Then I did my BA and my MA in French Language and Literature at the Université de Lorraine in Nancy. I worked on Gothic literature for my master’s dissertation and loving the research, I knew long before I graduated, that, instead of preparing the competitive exam that would allow me to officially become a librarian, I would start a PhD.

2016 Lacote Université de Lorraine
Humanities campus of the University of Lorraine, Nancy

In 2012, I applied for a PhD in French and English literature under the supervision of Prof. Catriona Seth, a specialist of 18th century literature and history of ideas, and I started working part time at the university library. I felt perfectly at home continuing my research on 18th century French Gothic in Nancy, the city whose architecture is a witness of this time, especially given the fact that the Bibliothèque nationale de France, with its vast storehouses full of 18th century resources was just one hour and a half away by TGV!

2016 Lacote Place Stanislas
Place Stanislas, Nancy

However, given my academic background – French literature and languages – and my PhD topic – French and English literature –, I sorely missed an English-speaking experience to make the most of it. I had heard of the University of Stirling in 2010 when I was working on my Master’s dissertation, via the website The Gothic Imagination and its curator at the time, Dr Dale Townshend. Therefore, it seemed somewhat vital, for my research, that I spend some time at the University of Stirling. My supervisor introduced me to the idea of a joint‑supervision, and we formed the project of a PhD supervised both by Catriona Seth at the Université de Lorraine and by Dale Townshend at the University of Stirling. Two complementary supervisors – Catriona for French side of my research and Dale for the British counterpart – and two complementary universities, two languages, two literatures, what could be more ideal given my research topic?

The agreement between the two universities regarding my doctorate took quite a long time to be completed, but, thanks to the efforts of everyone involved, it was successfully concluded. It stipulated that I would write my PhD thesis in French and that I would defend it in both French in English, at the Université de Lorraine. After two years of researching at the Université de Lorraine, I was a full time ‘international’ PhD student ready to spend a year at the University of Stirling as a visiting researcher. Today, a year and a half later, I am still here, and I still love it. The first months were a bit challenging regarding the language: I had never lived in an English-speaking country before and struggled quite a bit with the Scottish accent – to be honest I still do sometimes! –, but I have always felt welcome and well integrated, and this is something that I am very grateful for. In a few months I had become used to the language, to the way the university functioned and had made some good friends.

So many opportunities were offered to me during my time at Stirling it made the months I have spent here memorable. Just to give you a few examples, I had the opportunity of presenting my research at the International Gothic Association in Vancouver last July, and was a lucky member of the inventory team for the newly acquired Patrick McGrath archive at the university’s library. I have also run a few informal sessions of French conversation for the undergraduate students of the university’s French department, and since 2016 I have given a shot at teaching as a Teaching Assistant in English literature. I am hoping to finish my research soon and I am planning to stay here at Stirling until I finish it, maybe longer, who knows?”

Thanks to Fanny for this blog piece and we look forward to hearing more about this project over the months ahead.

Erasmus Impressions of Stirling

As well as an international group of Stirling-based students, we also have a wide range of Study Abroad partnerships which mean, firstly, that the vast majority of our students spend their Semester 6 on Study Abroad and, secondly, that we also welcome students from many of our partner institutions to Stirling, either for a semester or, in many cases, for a full academic year. These partnerships are with a wide range of institutions across France (from Aix-Marseille to Tours via Sciences-Po, Perpignan, EMS in Strasbourg, ESSEC in Cergy, Nancy, Limoges, Clermont-Ferrand and Caen), Switzerland (Geneva), Quebec (Laval) and Morocco (Rabat) and we add new partnerships to our network as often as possible.

Not all students visiting from our partner institutions necessarily end up taking classes within French at Stirling – they often take advantage of modules in areas specifically related to aspects of Scottish life, culture and history – but this semester, we happen to have a relatively large group of Erasmus students taking our final semester core language module. We thought it’d be good to get their perspective on life at Stirling so thanks to Audrey Aliphat for the following:

“My name is Audrey, I’m French and come from Limoges. I study English back home at the Université de Limoges and, thanks to my university, I’ve been able to take part in the Erasmus programme. A year ago, I chose to study abroad for a semester so I looked at all the destinations on offer. I wanted to discover a new country in the UK so I chose to go to Scotland. I went to Stirling’s website to learn more about it and I was fascinated by the environment around the university and all the courses that were available. My choice was approved and I started to plan my travel to Stirling.

2016 Aliphat campus loch Mar

When I left France it was hard because it was the first time that I was leaving for so long and so far away from home. But when I arrived in Scotland I had a (pleasant) surprise: the people were smiling, kind and welcoming. The landscape around is magnificent with those mountains around. When I arrived in Stirling it was snowing and it was really beautiful.

2016 Aliphat snowy Scotland Mar

Classes in this big university started in January and I discovered a brand new way to study. Fewer hours than back home but many resources to work with, a library and tutors and even online resources via the University website. There is a lot of work to do but teachers and tutors are always here to help, and especially for international students which is really comforting. In the university itself, we can also find everything we need, from groceries to books. A lot of associations and a big sports complex are available on campus too.

I’m staying off campus in the Union Street residence and at first I thought it could be annoying to not be on campus. But ultimately I’m five minutes from the city centre and close to shops and the train station. In my flat we are all international students and I’m lucky to have them because I learn about their countries but also as a non-native English speaker I learn new things like vocabulary or traditions.

I’ve been here since January and I haven’t done half of what the university offers. But I really think that this is a perfect place to study abroad for foreign students.”

We hope Audrey continues to enjoy her semester with us and we look forward to welcoming more students from our partner institutions over the years ahead.

French at Stirling goes Gothic…

There will be a good Stirling presence at the 2015 conference of the International Gothic Studies Association, taking place in Vancouver this week. French at Stirling’s Bill Marshall will be participating in a roundtable on ‘Southern Gothics, Gothic South’, while our Literature and Languages colleague, Dale Townshend, is giving a plenary lecture entitled ‘16 October 1834: Architecture, Romance and the Migration of the Gothic Imagination.’ Dale’s PhD supervisee, Fanny Lacôte (jointly supervised between Stirling and the Université de Lorraine and working on relations between French and British Gothics) will be giving a paper on ‘English Gothic served “à la française”: French forgeries of Ann Radcliffe’. Other Stirling presenters include: Stuart Lindsay on David Thorpe’s illustrated novella Doc Chaos: The Chernobyl Effect, Kelly Gardner on ‘Survival Space in the Contemporary Zombie Apocalypse’, Benjamin E. Noad who’ll be talking about ‘Migrations of Madness: A Genealogy of Mental Health in Modern and Contemporary Gothic Fictions Since 1960’ and Janet Chu whose paper is entitled ‘“‘Neither in nor out of ‘Blackwood”’: From Blackwood’s Magazine’s Gothic Sensationalism to Poe’s Sensational Gothicism.’ A healthy Stirling presence, with some interesting French-related Gothic-ness along the way!