On travelling and what it brings you

Today more people than ever are travelling around the world. Some people believe that such travelling helps to broaden people’s minds, while others think it just confirms their prejudices. Discuss both these views and give your own opinion. Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience. Write at least 250 words.

As modern technology evolves, we are more than ever able to travel the world and discover new countries. While some people believe that such travelling helps us become more open-minded, others might think it reinforces our misconceptions. I personally believe that travelling is the best way to broaden our horizons, but I understand why some might think the opposite.

Firstly, travelling means discovering new countries and new cultures. It means forgetting about your day-to-day life and considering new ways of living that you didn’t know existed. It means speaking to locals and discovering how they live. This allows you to learn about people’s habits and customs, and thus learn more about life in general. For example, travelling in Asia is an excellent way to discover religions like Buddhism and Hinduism, which hold different beliefs from Catholicism.

Moreover, travelling confronts the idea that you might have in your mind of a country with its reality. By doing so, we are able to change our opinion on prejudices we might previously have had, and this is what makes us grow as individuals. For instance, I went to Bulgaria this summer and discovered that it has a rich history and wonderful beaches. I discovered that it is a much more interesting country than I thought it was.

On the other hand, I understand that travelling can sometimes confirm our misconceptions, simply because oftentimes, they are based on truth rather than built up from scratch. For example, I traveled to Ho Chi Minh this spring, and had the confirmation that it is a very dirty and noisy city, where it is dangerous to cross the roads. However, I tend to think that this scenario is false in most cases. Furthermore, I find that if people think this way, it could be because they willingly refuse to open up to new cultures and to interact with the locals, thereby staying where they stand.

To sum up, it seems to me that travelling is one of the most efficient ways to broaden your mind, discover new cultures and erase prejudices. Nevertheless,  I have to admit that sometimes, those ideas can be true, and travelling justifies them.

On the benefits of social media

[Roughly, I think the subject was to discuss the influence that social media have both on individuals and on society. Note to self: write down the guideline from now on.]

It appears that social media are thought by some people to have had a negative influence on individuals as well as on society. However, I tend to think that this is only partially true.

Firstly, I believe that the rise of the popularity of social networking sites promoted narcissism among users. If used without reserve or awareness, selfies and pictures made people become self-centered. Nowadays, social media are commonly used to showcase entire parts of people’s lives for the whole world to see. This over-sharing phenomenon lead to a serious lack of privacy, and thus to important issues such as cyber-bullying, web addictions or the rise of extremism.

And yet, sharing personal interests has helped to create wonderful things that are online-communities. Those communities can even act as safe spaces for people who might not have one outside of the internet, like for instance the LGBT community.

Moreover, these communities have been a way to increase opportunities like organizing various events or meetings, finding job offers and so on, by giving people a chance to discover new things, to see and be seen.

Finally, people sharing parts of their lives allowed to shed a light on major issues deeply rooted in society like homophobia, racism, social and gender inequalities.

To conclude, I would say that the way one uses social networking sites decides whether or not they have a bad influence on people. Although they had negative impacts on both individuals and society, it is noticeable that they contributed to making the world a brighter place by raising awareness and bringing people together.

l’Art avec un grand A

Cette année, je suis allée deux fois à l’Opéra Garnier.

Pour la première fois en août avec ma sœur, la deuxième pour participer à l’escape game Inside Opéra, le mois dernier.

A chaque fois, mon attention a été retenue par certaines oeuvres.

N’ayant pas pris de photo de cette peinture, j’ai utilisé cette photo de Philippe Guillot

Cette peinture s’intitule « Mademoiselle SANDRINI, rôle de Lilia dans la Maladetta de Pedro Gailhard » par Edouard DEBAT-PONSAN (1847-1913), réalisée en 1893 au Théâtre de l’Opéra. Elle m’impressionne par sa taille, mais aussi par l’expression de la danseuse et son attitude fière.

Christian Leiber – Reconstitution du rideau de scène du ballet Le Tricorne lors de l’entrée au répertoire de l’Opéra de Paris – 1992

Ces photos, pour le mélange entre la peinture et la photographie, et la palette de couleurs.

Le plafond de la salle de spectacle de l’Opéra

Le plafond de la grande salle de l’Opéra, par Chagall, pour sa modernité qui détonne avec le reste des fresques.

Une des multiples fresques du Grand Foyer de l’Opéra Garnier

La majorité des fresques du Grand Foyer, pour la richesse de leurs couleurs, qu’on croirait mélangées avec de l’or, et les magnifiques portraits de femmes de chaque côtés, précis et délicats.

Finalement, les salons du Soleil et de la Lune, à l’atmosphère si particulière, mais à laquelle mes photos ne rendront pas justice.


On my way to find a cure for cancer – how to prepare paracetamol

[For this essay, we had to pick a drug and describe its production process. I think I didn’t really want to do it, hence the funny title (which i censored because it was inappropriate)]

I’ve chosen to describe the production process of paracetamol, a drug commonly used to treat pain symptoms like teeth or headaches as well as period cramps for instance.

The main chemical reaction happening during the process is the acetylation of a chemical compound called the 4-aminophenol in an aqueous medium. The preparation can be divided in four steps : reaction, separation, purification and control.

The first step is, without going into too many details, to make the 4-aminophenol react with ethanoic anhydride for about twenty minutes.

Then for the separation, you want to filter the obtain mixture with a Büchner funnel, dry the product entirely and weight it while it’s not yet purified.

At this point, you want to recrystallize the product in water, dry it and then weight it.

Finally and before being used, the medicine has to go through a quality control: we have to determine its melting point in order to compare it with theoretical values. This will allow us to say if the product is pure, or if there’s still some reagent mixed.

Getting (un)intentionally scared

Think of a time when you intentionally got scared and a time when you unintentionally got scared. Describe the context, your physical and emotional reaction and how you felt afterwards. Write a minimum of 200 words.

As Halloween is around the corner, it is time to get spooky ! Finding a time where I intentionally got scared wasn’t easy because I am not that much of a daring person when it comes to getting scared. The only moment I could find where I decided, on my own, to frighten myself, was when I went to Disneyland Paris’s Haunted House with my family. I vividly remember regretting my decision as soon as I had entered the queue, knowing that I would hate the ride (I was quite young at the time). We hopped in the train and the ride started. I’ve never been the « loud-screamer », so I only remember pressing my palms against my eyes as hard as I could and waiting for the train to arrive at destination. In conclusion, not a fan of haunted houses.

Funnily enough, a time when I unintentionally got scared was also at Disneyland. My family wanted to go to this new attraction. Its theme revolving around Finding Nemo, we thought it was  fit for children. Oh boy were they wrong. We discovered after an hour of waiting in the queue that it was a proper roller coaster. And if you know me, you’ll know that I hate (and the word is weak) roller coasters.  I just don’t see the point, and they make me sick. Needless to say that at this point, I was full on panic mode. I ended up going on the ride, which was indoors and in pitch black, so I couldn’t see in which direction we were going, and that might have been scarier than the idea of the roller coaster in itself.

I guess that what I can take from this is: never trust Disneyland. Ever.