11 May 2012


I think we are finally starting to make some headway with this year abroad business (note the change from ellipsis and question mark in the previous post to exclamation mark in this one). The forms for l'Université de Provence are all filled out and stamped (because the French are apparently some of the biggest bureaucrats you will ever come across - so make sure all your paperwork has un tampon next to the dates and signatures) and the only thing that's left to do now is send them off and hope to Zeus that they make it there safely, on time and undamaged.

We have our pre-departure meeting on Thursday to make sure we have the majority of things sorted before the university closes for the summer. I've had to make some adjustments to my learning agreement because my year abroad co-ordinator didn't agree with a couple of them. I don't mind though, the university experience is going to be just as good whatever subjects I decide to do, I may even change my mind once I'm out there!

The only thing I have to warn you about in this post is the stress that you will come across trying to organise all of this whilst having so much else to think about on top of it. I'm genuinely surprised I haven't committed either suicide or murder, or at least lost some of my hair to the organisation process. If you can, ask your tutor/year abroad co-ordinator if you can start looking at and filling out forms in mid-January (I tried this, but to no avail) because chances are you will have a hell of a lot less work in January than in April and May, so it will be easier on you and your brain's cortisol levels.


I highly highly highly recommend this film to anybody who is about to embark upon the Erasmus experience, whether you're learning a language or not. I first saw this film when I was studying for my French A-level and I think this is what clinched the idea of going abroad for me, and therefore my degree choice.

It's a story about somebody who, like you and me, is unsure of what awaits in a foreign country and really has no clue about what to do or where to go when he first arrives in the beautiful city of Barcelona. The film has a delectably good-looking cast including Romain Duris (Xavier, the main character), Audrey Tautou (Martine, Xavier's girlfriend. This film is before Coco before Chanel) and Kevin Bishop (the annoying young brother of Wendy, one of the colocataires).

The first few scenes highlight the ridiculous bureaucracy that surrounds trying to get a place on the Erasmus scheme and, to quote Gareth, the amount of "bureaucratic hoops" that you have to jump through just to get what you need from people. From then on, it's an emotional roller-coaster (ah bon, le cliché) with leaving the girlfriend at the airport, having to deal with people you may not particularly like (ahem, I can already mention one or two from my experience and I'm still in ruddy England!), learning your way around a new place and finally finding your new family, albeit a rather motley one.

I think this film is perfect in every way and, like I said, I would highly recommend you to watch it if you're thinking about going abroad for a year, or even a semester, as part of your course. You can watch it here.


I think that's all folks! I'll update again once we've had our pre-departure meeting with any news I've been given.

à bientôt!//¡hasta luego!
Carey xo

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