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Personal development internship in France, Hadi El Hajj

The personal development internship (DFHM internship) is compulsory for all French speaking first year students for a period of six months, either in the armed forces or a civilian organization, in France or abroad. Hadi El Hajj is Lebanese and he is doing his internship at the Apprentis d'Auteuil fondation.

In 2016, l’X has renewed its cooperation with the Saint Joseph University of Beirut and has organized a recruitment panel directly in the University. Thanks to this cooperation, four Lebanese students entered the Ingénieur Polytechnicien program this year.

“The first time I heard of l’X was during a conversation with my classmates in my University. I was so surprised by the diversity of the courses that enter l’X became one of my priorities. Moreover, Barthélémy Meynard, an Ingénieur Polytechnicien student made his 6-month internship in my home University and told me a lot about l’X such as the specificity of the courses, the sports you can practice, the diversity of the programs… My will to study at École Polytechnique was definitely confirmed.

I am doing my internship at the association Apprentis d’Auteuil, in Saint-Maurice-Saint-Germain. I arrived at the end of September after the initial military training and I was pleasantly surprised by the workplace: it is actually a castle, le Château des Vaux. Two Ingénieur Polytechnicien students are also doing their internship here: Olivier Truffinet and Hamza Chaquiq.

I was affiliated at the high school I currently work in after an interview that enabled me to choose the institution I wanted to do my internship in. I had the possibility to choose between a general high school, a horticultural and landscape high school or a professional high school, present on the site which is vast, and also between the educational boarding school of the college which receives secondary-school pupils after their study day. I started with a week of observation that served to introduce me and enabled me to get ready for the forthcoming work.

My typical day is this one: start of classes at 8:30 am, my work mainly consists in helping 4 students by revising the lesson or making exercises, I am in charge of the educational support. I help struggling students to progress, I teach them the importance of subjects they are learning and I share with them my personal experience as a student. And it’s a real pleasure to see them making efforts! I teach Mathematics, Spanish, Technology and also History and Geography. Sometimes I am present in a classroom and I assist the teacher. Classes finish at 4:30 pm.

During the study period, I help students having an exam to study, to learn their lessons and to revise. I give them methodology tools. After that time, students have the choice between lots of activities: watching TV, playing video games, playing ping-pong or board games; but also more original activities such as make cupcakes, woodworks, going for a walk in the forest or playing futsal (their favorite activity).

Sometimes we get out of the castle and we go to a laser game or we attend a football game (of the French national team of course!) It allows us to observe the demeanor of the students in society and to point out many improvements… or regressions.

Very powerful links are being created between students and us. First, as we accompany them daily, we figure out their qualities and weaknesses, their passions. We also learn a lot about ourselves thanks to them. Through that internship, I am learning not only to improve my strengths but also to recognize and work on my weak points. It is extraordinary. Moreover, students learn to know each other, to listen to us and learn from us… They have so much creativity that being with them is a huge source of learning. Furthermore, the richness of the diversity of their nationalities makes me discover several cultures.

Through my internship and thanks to them, I learnt to appreciate a new culture: the French culture, but also to introduce my own culture, the Lebanese one and to get integrated in the society. I also discovered my social and professional abilities.