July 11, 2015, by Gemma Coleman
The reality of studying abroad
It appears that I have been duped. I have been rather cruelly informed by a cold email (subject ‘Autumn 2015 module choices’) that studying abroad in Paris for a semester will not just involve reclining on an 18th century chaise longue and being fed creamy (yet surprisingly light) macaroons on request. No. Apparently the clue is in the name – ‘study abroad’ will involve modules and seminars and coursework. Three words nowhere near as tasty as a macaroon.
This week, I went through the rather stressful process of choosing what I wanted to study and then the even more stressful process of letting the French university know this. I was informed they had a rather simple checkbox system; just click the box next to the module you want and voilà, you’ve enrolled!
I sat at my computer, finger hitting the refresh button, waiting for the clock to strike nine and the module floodgates to open. When they finally did, I began my clicking at what I thought was demon-like speed. But I wasn’t fast enough. Modules filled up and closed, meaning a fast change of module choice was needed. No bother, I thought smugly. I’ve got back-ups.
Smugness does not pay though, readers. I’d left my back-up list and timetable downstairs, which resulted in my glamorous assistant (boyfriend/PA) sprinting up the stairs, book-in- hand, shouting, “It’s on mercredi! Mercredi lunchtime!” Slickness points lost. After some quick changes, I will be studying some pretty standard politics modules (ethics of war and the like) and some rather quirkier ones (political anthropology of the jazzistic field which, yes, does involve compulsory attendance to jazz concerts – quel dommage!).
So, modules chosen, transport arranged and a new bank account opened. Now to find a place to stay for the semester… preferably with a chaise longue.
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