Monday, 17 February 2014

Poitiers Update

Erasmus* is a program that I have always wanted to embark on. A few of my friends had done Erasmus during their undergraduate degrees and I was quite sad that I had missed the opportunity but then I decided to take up the masters at the University of Greenwich which included a semester in France (woohoo!).

So what do I expect from France?

I came into Poitiers with absolutely no expectations, and yes I was quite disappointed when I got here. I did not Google Poitiers or anything before I came; I left it as an element of surprise for myself. I was completely shocked to see how old the buildings were hmmm I hoped that the interior had absolutely nothing to do with the exterior (Thank God it didn’t). Never judge a book by its cover. 

I have to say that in these past five weeks I have really enjoyed myself. So far I am most proud of the fact that my French language skills have been immensely improved. I have met lots of new people from around the globe and learnt a lot of different cultures especially different types of cuisine (mostly Chinese, French and Vietnamese). I especially like the fact that Poitiers is really small so everyone is about 20 minutes (maximum) away from each other, which makes it a lot easier for social gatherings. There’s always something on at somebody’s house every weekend. It is never a dull moment.

The course itself is absolutely fantastic in my opinion. I guess this is the most important bit. We have lectures for 30 hours a week and projects the week after. I have been praying for this kind of structure all my life. This means our weekends are more or less free to apply for jobs, finish our dissertations and whatever else people are into. The lecturers are really good and their years of experience reflect on the content of the lectures they deliver. I think the French half should be worth way more credits than the Greenwich half because we learn a lot more solid stuff here that will make us more employable.

Anyway I hope I have more interesting stuff to tell you next time instead of my beautiful life in France. I will leave you guys with some beautiful photos from my time so far, something to hold on to till the next post J.

Till next time,


*Erasmus enables higher education students to study or work abroad as part of their degree and staff to teach or train in 33 European countries.

Saturday, 1 February 2014

Another BIG MOVE!

Feels like it's a while back now (in fact over a month!) but hope you all had an awesome new year. Fantastic! I had an excellent Christmas back home in Ireland with my beautiful family. This was my first time going back home since I left in September 2012, which also means I hadn’t seen my friends in over a year. It was like a reunion, it was great seeing everyone again. Now it’s back to reality!

Did I forget to mention, I now live in Poitiers in west central France (I know you’ve never heard of it; its south of Paris). Yes I moved again. From Lagos to Abuja to Dublin to Galway, back to Dublin, then to London and now I’m in Poitiers. I really need to settle down lol I’m beginning to get tired of carrying my whole life around with me. I need a permanent postcode! I’d actually love to get a job in France so I can stay and perfect my imperfect French. It’ll be so handy to speak another language. I have a Cameroonian friend who speaks Mandarin (apart from French and English), I mean she’s the coolest person to me right now (OK maybe not, but you get my drift).

Anyway back to Poitiers. I must confess, I was quite depressed when I first arrived here two weeks ago (even though I absolutely loved my 24 square metre studio flat). There was no internet and I was close to being broke. Could life get any worse? One couldn’t even get a sim card without having a bank account. There was just so much protocol I couldn’t stand it. Everyday had all sorts of things happening that were annoying. But, I am happy to say now that I am getting used to the quiet lifestyle in this country. Thank God I understand a little French or I’d have been totally lost here. Surprisingly, a lot more people than I imagined speak English here. The food here is of better quality than in London too. The only problem I have now is I can’t find a Church to fellowship at. I guess it’s just me and God in my flat then :(

Here are a few things I’ve discovered so far about this little town:

It is tiny! You can walk around nearly the whole city.

The male and female toilets are not separated (super awkward!!!), okay maybe just at the business school.

You need a passport to change your currency and it’s only the post office that can do it. They charge you €5 to change from sterling to Euros on top of the exchange rate. You cannot even exchange your travellers cheque except you open a bank account (I’m not sure how it works in other countries to be honest).

Nearly everywhere is closed on Sundays. Some restaurants may be open.

They have two hour breaks from 12pm till 2pm, except restaurants obviously. At this time most shops and banks will be closed.

The zebra crossing means absolutely nothing here, just a waste of paint! You may die if you don’t know that and just decide to cross the road as freely as you do in London. The drivers here are mental.

The city is really clean, you’d hardly find any litter on the floor but will find lots of dog poo everywhere it’s disgusting.

Most of the buildings are ancient.

French people love meat, fish and dairy. It’ll be difficult for vegetarians here.

Till next time,