Getting to know your uni: Week 2

Published by flag-gb Anonymous . — 3 years ago

Blog: The Erasmus Diaries:
Tags: flag-fr Erasmus blog Toulouse, Toulouse, France

In my second week of living in Toulouse, France, it all got real. Why you ask? I started university. Now, nobody prepares you for the utter shambles which is navigating your way around your new French university. When I first walked through the doors (after getting a bus, 2 tubes and walking a hell of a way - get prepared for that if you live in student accommodation), I expected everything to fall into place with ease. Instead, I found myself walking around university buildings, attempting to find suitable classes to attend and practically begging tutors to let me be a part of their classes.

In the end, everything did sort itself out, don't get me wrong, but finding the right classes wasn't without trial and error, and all the classes I'd originally written into my Erasmus mobility sheets didn't even make it past the first week of uni. I'd strongly suggest opting for classes that are DEFLE (French for foreign speakers) as they're easier to well in, and much easier to follow. Many of these classes aren't even Erasmus or year-abroad student-orientate. Most of the students come from Francophone countries, are recent citizens in France, and have the same level of French as most international students, which makes for a great opportunity to learn other languages, and learn more about other cultures.

If you're into something specific, do try and study it! I found that the options I picked which mimicked my real-life interests worked out so much better for me than others which I thought might be simpler (literature, extra foreign languages, arts and culture-inspired options worked so much better for me than translation, for example).

If anything, the first week of university will test your character, and increase your confidence by miles. You'll learn how to approach people you never thought to before, and more than anything, you'll learn to deal with rejection. The first two weeks consisted of French people abruptly correcting me, laughing at some of the phrases I came out with (for good reason), and getting repeatedly rejected from classes which were either A) oversubscribed or B) weren't accepting Erasmus / international students.

On the plus side, since most of us students were growing incredibly frustrated by the university system, we focussed our positive energies on going out and living life to the max. Barnum Club is a decent night out, but prepare for the journey. We ended up on a bus for near enough 30-40 minutes out of the city centre, and the queue was huge when we arrived, but it's the sort of place you go to once, so make sure to try it out.

That weekend, one of my uni friends, Tom invited a couple of us to his place in France to spend some time away from Toulouse, just chilling and getting away from education and stress. We spent our weekend taking in the beautiful sights of Rocamadour, where the annual montgolfiade show was taking place (hot air balloons). I'd suggest visiting it if you have the opportunity to!

Next up on the Erasmus diaries, my third week: visitors, cultural days out, the rugby comes to town and more going out surprises!

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