I have officially been living in Perpignan for 12 weeks now and only 4 more weeks remain of my time here. This has been by far the longest period of time I have ever been away from home, let alone the UK, and it’s safe to say that I will be looking forward to be touching down in Liverpool this time next month and spending 6 weeks at home and visiting friends.
In a matter of 3 weeks, I will be finishing my studies here as an Erasmus student at l’Université de Perpignan, however the majority of the dates of my exams are still unknown. My classes range from: ‘beyond disorganised and easy, how is this a thing?’ all the way to ‘impossible-I-think-I-am-going-to-fail-I-am-so-stupid’ – however I am sure I will pull through, we always think it is worse than it actually is.
What is required of me here feels like so much less than at university back in the UK and it has been a great breather from the stress of second year, daily trips to the library and the cold weather. There are no mentions of referencing, reading lists, textbooks in classes here, I sometimes wonder if they know if this all exists… My lecturers could be talking about absolute rubbish because I have no idea where they get all their information from, I just blindly listen to them and write down what they are saying. They don’t encourage much ‘reading around the topic’ as I am used to. I will be looking forward to organisation, Module Course Guides which explain what we will cover in class every week and which lists all the things we must read and/or prepare for in advance and even places on campus where I can just sit down, have a cup of tea and do things – if I have even half an hour free here between classes, I go home for 20 minutes because we do not have the equivalent of a Jessop West Café..!
Still, the teachers here have been very understanding to me – the majority leave me alone in class and don’t ask questions, which half of the time I am so thankful for because I have no clue what is going on! Yet, I am comfortable contributing to the lesson in my Spanish translation, Spanish speaking and Portuguese classes which I feel makes up for it as I feel like more of an equal in these classes as my abilities meet the average.
It is difficult to mark progress since starting here in September, however I realised that no longer become mentally exhausted at the end of a day filled with classes, after listening to hours of lectures, writing notes and speaking, all in French. In fact, yesterday I had to write an essay in English and this was the first time I have had to do this exercise in a few months; I wrote ‘October’ as ‘octobre’ and ‘line’ as ‘ligne.’ I write in English often on my computer keyboard however it was strange to write English on pen and paper!
Also, I used to find it used to take a long time to write emails in French, either to friends or maybe in more formal situations – to my landlady or teachers; now I am a lot more confident with my writing abilities that it takes less than half the time than it used to take me.
This weekend I was lucky enough to go back to Barcelona for a second time, which I will blog about seperately, and tomorrow I’m hopefully going to see The Hunger Games at the cinema (really hoping the dubbed French version is good!). Tomorrow is an Open Day for perspective students at the university, so there will be no classes; I don’t understand why there are no classes, it may just be another excuse to not teach/study, but I am not complaining 😉