Counting down...
July 3, 2000

(Katie McMullen prepares a slice of strawberry birthday pie for Jodi Mckenzie, June 21, 2000)

Today is our next to last day for WVU-V 2000.  Certainly not the least, however.  Our individual culture projects have been a major part of the program, and we have three oral reports days on our findings.

Manieka Green was interested in the fact that France seems to have a very great number of small shops and boutiques in relation to the US, and this in spite of the large number of "grandes surfaces" such as Géant and Intermarché which are roughly equivalent to our Wal-Mart and K-Mart.  To find out more Manieka interviewed the owner of a small "patisserie" (pastry shop) here in Les Sables.  The interview was fascinating in several ways, but especially in the proprietor's contention that the giant superstores were no threat at all.  This shop has been in business since 1994 and has seen absolutely no decline in business as the superstores built up all around the city.  The owners here consider that the the quality of their product services is the secret to their success.  After talking to clients in both small boutiques and in the superstores, Manieka is also convinced that the demand in France for personalized service and products of high quality is the reason for the remarkable number of small private businesses.


Amanda Alderman was interested in the ways of the road in France.  While the French drive on the right side of the road just like Americans, many other aspects of their relation to the car are different.  In France you may get your learners licence at the age of 16, but you must be at least 18 before driving a car alone.  That age is 14 for scooters and 21 for motorcycles.  For the first year, you must attach a large sticker to your car that indicates you are beginner and that you have a special set of speed limits.  Since obligatory lessons and exams are very difficult and very expensive, many young French drivers wait some time before getting their first driver's license.  The testing process costs around 5000 francs and is more expensive the second or third time around.  Automobile insurance is also relatively expensive here, and works with a system of bonus and "malus" points to determine rates and discounts.  A driver's license comes with five points and points are deducted for driving errors such a speeding or running a stop sign.  Driving under the influence of alcohol can result in the loss of 3 points, which can mean a speedy and lengthy loss of the license for repeat offenders.


Ryan Schiffbauer is very interested in psychology.  He was interested in the fact that Freudian psychoanalysis is much more prevalent in France than in the States.  He therefore obtained an interview with Dr. Frank Roy, a psychoanalysts who divides his time between his practice in Les Sables the courses he teaches at the University of Paris.  Dr. Roy is convinced the the American philosophy of pragmatism is and essential reason for the predominance of behaviorism in that country.  He believes that to get to depths of psychic conflicts a complete Freudian analysis is necessary.  Such a process takes at least two years and may last a lifetime, and it may consider the surface problems of the patient as mere symptoms of conflicts that find their origins very early in one's psychic development.  Dr. Roy does not practice behavioral manipulation and he does not use chemicals to alter the patient's symptoms.  Such techniques for a pure psychoanalyst would only mask the inner problems he seeks to bring to the surface.  As for Ryan, he is convinced the cognitive psychology is a holistic approach human psychic conflicts.

Tomorrow is our last day of class, and we look forward to hearing he results of several other interesting culture projects, so be sure to ... 

 Stay tuned to WVU-V!

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