I can’t quite believe how quickly it has come around, but today marks four weeks since Dad and I arrived in Paris, with three large suitcases and nowhere for me to live! It’s been a very stressful month with so much bureaucracy to contend with, but at the moment I’m feeling more or less on top of things and I’m hoping that by the end of next week I should have a proper timetable and a proper routine. I’ve still got quite a few administrative things to be getting on with (CAF and another round of learning agreement signing) but things are definitely starting to feel a bit more normal here. This is the longest I have ever been away from home/Edinburgh and I definitely feel a lot less homesick now than I did a couple of weeks ago. Craig is visiting next weekend and I’m on countdown mode now!
My first week of classes went more smoothly than I had anticipated, which was a relief! Apart from some confusion as to which room a couple of the classes were in, the ones I went to were mostly fine.
I say mostly fine because I’d signed up for Medieval Literature and Civilization (no, I don’t know what I was thinking either) and in the three hour class I understood close to nothing. There were about fifty students in the class and I was the only Erasmus student. I introduced myself to the teacher in the break and she was less than helpful- certainly no sympathy from her! It was so awkward because the other forty nine students were writing down literally every word she said and I felt like I was just maintaining eye contact for three hours because I didn’t understand enough to warrant writing anything down. I took two pages of notes in the end. The French girl next to me took eight. So I’m not keen to go back to that class! I’m looking at doing another class about French language instead, so I’ll try that this week and hopefully it’ll be a bit better!
Discourse analysis is my only class in English and it seems to be orientated towards analysis of political speeches, which is something I’ve never done in much detail before. It seems like it could be interesting though and it’s exciting to look at other areas where linguistic knowledge is advantageous like PR and communications.
I should be starting two classes specifically for Erasmus students this week, but I was told the other day via email that I can now only do one. When I asked why, the response was ‘just because’, which seems a bit of an unsatisfactory reason to me! I’m planning to go and speak to someone about that tomorrow morning as I’d like to be able to do classes I know I have a better chance of passing since all my grades this year count!
I have to say that the majority of the tutors seem kind towards Erasmus students and the Medieval Lit & Civ woman was the only who was really rude. The French students are definitely there for the studying and it all feels very school like to me. I’m not sure what to call the academic staff: in Edinburgh there are lecturers and tutors, but here it feels more appropriate to say teachers. The learning definitely seems to be more autonomous, but I’m sure it’s something I’ll just settle into as the weeks go on.
In exciting news, we’ve got a reading week at the end of October! My best French and Linguistics pal, Anna, is in Aix en Provence this year and we’ve been comparing administration difficulties in our universities over the phone most days. I think Anna is winning at the moment as her CROUS accommodation is still in the process of being built! Anyway, once we worked out we had the same reading week we just had to go somewhere…so in true third year abroad spirit, we’re going off on a wee trip for a few days to see our lovely friend Chloe who is studying in Barcelona on her year abroad. Chloe and I lived literally opposite each other last year, so the separation is proving a bit of a change! I’m so excited to be able to spend a couple of days with some of my favourite people and even more excited that it will be in Barcelona!