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 Au centre ville                                                        Deux policiers en faisant du cheval

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Truffes noires                                                         La place du Capitole avec la traduction en occitane

 

Arriving here in Toulouse wasn't too easy because I didn't even see Chloe. Just after worrying too much about how to get to the building I had to go to, I realised I could check the internet at the airport. Then, we finally met and I was taken to the building to register, hungry and no one was there. So Chloe decided we should go eat at subway. The first impressions of Toulouse were that it was triste and grey; we weren't even in the centre like I thought it would be, but at the outskirts of the city. Later I noticed that I had lost my phone - a great start for a semester abroad in a country where I don't know anyone, missing Preston. The next day, after a night of cold wind (the heater isn't working properly) on a high bed we saw the building in which we were going to have most of our classes, small and in need of renovation.

As Chloe told us, due to no student fees there was no money to renovate. Shortly after a tour where we came to meet some tutors whose names I am unable to recall, I had my first lesson: informatique. When I entered the room I felt insecure, being in a room where everybody knows each other except for me and there was no introduction of me being an Erasmus student by the teacher. Class started and we were told how to operate certain functions in Excel, I was lost in between a language which I could hardly understand and a subject which I almost failed at school. I decided to change within 5 min but tried my best to do all the activities required. Later, there was an Erasmus meets French student session and I had a short conversation with one girl, after that I didn't know what to do but when I was about to leave, I chatted to a girl who had spent a year in Preston. Then, I and the Slovakian girls went to eat in the cafeteria where we were told off for having neither our student card nor our certificate of arrival.


Later in the afternoon after registering, there is an awful lot of papers to fill in, I had my next class: strategic marketing. I sat in the back and the teacher had a microphone but due to the amount of chatting French students I could hardly understand a word she was saying. The only thing that intimidated me was her saying that we'd have to learn all these slides she'd put up on moodle by heart for the exam in 3 months.
Surprisingly, I have even fewer classes than in Preston, which I don't think will enhance my French skills. Therefore, I have decided I will try to find a part-time job to change this disadvantage.

I have opened a bank account too, thus it'll be easier for me to take money out of my bank account without being charged 5€ each time. Furthermore, I bought a 'carte pastel' for public transport, and then we had a look around Toulouse centre, walked inside Lafayette to see the skyline of the city, on top of the roof. Later, it was time to go shopping and the bus back was fuller than full, incredible. Now, after 3 days (it seems like weeks) have passed without internet at the flat, I seem to go crazy, starting to sing whilst washing my clothes with liquid soap in my sink. It's hard to be away from everyone you love and know and getting to know new people just so that you're not all by yourself for the next 6 months. Can't wait to go back now and it has only just started.

 


The first days are always the hardest; there are always ups and downs. Spending time with the 2 girls from Bratislava has been good, but I also want to get some French friends. Before this could happen, I went out to see Toulouse for myself: but I didn't get too far. I wanted to go to the library to take out some comic books and talk to my family so I stayed in town for only a few hours. Taking the metro in a foreign country was the first time for me all by myself but one thing the French do well is security, so no one can kill himself by jumping in front of the train. If only other countries would see and use this good invention. On the other hand, what they don't do too well is the internet. In the library, there is only about 10 PCs that can be used, the rest has to be brought in by students and when you want to take out a book, a person still has to stamp it. It was the last day of the week today and I finally talked to some French students who were really nice and some seemed to be interested in me. Besides that, class was too hard for me to understand and the homework given incredibly long. The text consisting of words I have never heard of, but I'm not the only one: even the others don't seem to be able to understand it. But now, we're off to explore the night life of Toulouse, well at least a bit: pub time.


I think that I now understand why Toulouse is called "La ville rose", because all the houses are red, just like in the UK. I went out to explore again, firstly to see the Garonne and a bridge which I had seen on photographs but at this time of year nothing seems to be special, the houses are red and all the trees are grey. An elderly woman asked me on the way if I had a Euro for her, but I denied and gave her 10c instead. I also saw a rather small Apple store with about 5 PCs on the outskirts of town, which proves their lack of being up-to-date when it comes to technology. Then I kept walking after taking some pictures and ended up in another part so I turned around and walked back, ended up in what I believe was the foreigner quartier just like China town in Manchester, just with all kinds of nationalities. Still lost, I made my way through to the Capitole, where I could see people demonstrating against Hun in Cambodia, then on to the "main street" where the sales had gone mad and in front of Foot Locker, there was a queue with people waiting to get in.


Back to university and almost no classes. Today, we had French class and it's not as I imagined but different to the French course I attended in June. No, here there are only 2 different levels: the beginners and people who know some French up to advanced. After introducing one another, we had to do group work but were put into groups randomly so we were speaking mostly English. We need to find the internship ourselves out of the ones that are advertised on the webpage, write our own CV and cover letter without any preparation now I'm glad that we've already done that at UCLan, so I just have to alter it according to the advertisement.

La première fois dans ma vie quand je ne voulais plus parler anglais est arrivée. Après une conversation avec un colloquétaire, j'ai pris la décision de supprimer l'anglais de mon cerveau pour quelques temps. Et voilà, je suis finalement allée au cours gratuit qui est offert par un groupe de jeunes pas loin d'ici. Apparemment c'est un projet de service de l'église aux adolescents qui veulent parler le français. Alors, les cours sont court mais je pense que j'ai appris plus là-bas pendant deux heures que dans les dernières 2 semaines. Ils sont très agréables et se revoient une fois par semaine ou plus pour faire des activités.


On Friday, I felt like a real French. I could participate in the for the UK quite uncommon event of students going home on Friday afternoon: packed metros and trains. On Saturday I made my way from Souillac to Sarlat with my "family" where we had the opportunity to watch a cooking competition, truffles and foie gras prepared by students of different colleges. It was amazing to see those and eating free croissants and chocolate outside. In the evening after having driven back to Souillac in the pouring rain and no road railing (too many car accidents happen there), we went to a place where you can create your own pizza. The following day, we made cupcakes with salt on top, unexpectedly they tasted really nice. I can feel how my head gets confused with English, German and French so I sometimes just say something in at least the two of them: franglemand!

Because everyone in Souillac is crazy about food, we had a dinner all together and everyone was just talking about catering. On Monday I even worked as a waitress again, even if only for a short time. I felt so nervous about serving 6 people, nothing compared to the 60 we did fairly often in one shift during the summer. In the evening it was time to watch The Wolf on Wall Street: in English but with French subtitles. I need to say: a good film but 3 hours may be just a bit too long although you don't notice it until you look at your watch. Now I'm back in Toulouse, where it's sunny but cold with the rest of my clothes from Germany.

And here we go again. Not too long ago I went to Souillac and it has been another week in France. Only one class: French. During this one week I cannot say that I have done or learnt as much as you would like to when you’re going to a foreign country. I seem to learn how to drink in bars with students – it was the official week of semester 2. So me and my friends went to a bar where people had numbers stuck to their T-shirts so you were able to send them a message, romantic? Weird? There to chat up someone? Almost no one took up this opportunity. Most of the people weren’t speaking French so I intended to separate myself from my “group” to find someone French. I started chatting to the guy who had organized this event but I didn’t want to disturb him, I felt weird too, just walking up to someone I don’t even know, to just talk. Back to the group I got myself a drink. Too easy you may think; nobody is interested if you’re above 18 so you’re not asked for ID. An advantage for a lot of the teenagers you see around town but anyways. I personally find the alcohol here too expensive, maybe because I usually don’t drink. My drink was way too sweet, very sickening. Then I went to the bar where some guys asked me to drink with them and I did and practiced French!

On Thursday, the French class was as usual but we had to act this time. We were given a situation and a random word to use and had to act for 2min. I was scared but apparently mastered it well, thanks to the creativity that had saved me from failure. On Friday (it was the cultural week, organized by first-years), it was raining heavily, we were supposed to have Marketing but everyone from my course decided to attend the last event of this week, so class did not happen. I feel like I have lost a whole week of nothing but then I went again to Souillac on Friday, trying to do some of my homework, but I failed. Sometimes I think that French is just too hard and reading has never been one of my strengths. Even today in personal development our lecturer put me on the spot after I hadn’t understood a situation he explained. Very embarrassing for me.

 

Il y a longtemps que j'ai écrit mais la semaine dernière, beaucoup de choses se sont passées. Alors, pour commencer, je me suis postulée à un bénévolat qui s'appelle Afev où je voulais bénéficier de 2 heures de français chaque semaine en faisant quelque chose d'informatique. On m'a contacté parce qu'apparemment il faut donner son numéro de téléphone pour se vraiment inscrire. Malheureusement, je ne suis pas encore arrivée à m'occuper d'un nouveau numéro car je n’ai personne à appeler et comme j'ai fait l'expérience, il faut donner une copie de sa carte d'identification. C'est la raison pour laquelle 3 différentes personnes m'ont contacté à cause du même problème. Lorsque je suis arrivée où on m'a dit  d'aller, personne ne savais rien de mon arrivée et je suis rentrée chez moi.

Jeudi, comme je me suis inscrite pour le diner avec les anciens étudiant de Tech de Co à l'IUT (http://www.techdeco.fr/actualites-50.html). On m'a emmené au restaurant où je pouvais faire la connaissance d'autres étudiants d'IUT et ceux qui ont réussi à trouver un bien boulot, par exemple travailler comme chef de marketing pour Canon. On a été séparé en groupes de 4 personnes, 2 étudiants et 2 adultes. Dans le mien il y avait un prof et une femme d'affaires. Au départ, une femme nous a raconté et expliqué certaines stratégies de marketing et puis, il fallait penser à une entreprise, ses défis, les solutions et nouvelles idées. En effet, on était vraiment créatif avec notre exemple de la lutte contre les smartphones.

Le vendredi, j'ai eu mercatique stratégique et ce qui se passait pendant la semaine c'est moi, qui essayait de conquérir les devoirs et qui n'y a pas réussi. Comme je suis devenue de plus en plus stressée par le fait que je semblais de ne pas y arriver, j'ai désespéré. Lorsque l'heure de vérité est arrivée, je paniquais mais une colloquétaire m'a assurée que personne ne les a faits. Notre prof n'est pas notre meilleur fan, donc elle n'était pas heureuse quand on n'avait pas les réponses pour les questions suivantes. De plus, à peu près la moitié n'était pas intéressé donc elle a décidé qu'on n'aura plus de cours si personne ne lui envoie pas qu'ils veulent travailler.

Puis, je suis allée à Souillac et j'ai travaillé samedi soir pour pouvoir rembourser les frais du train. En retour à Toulouse, j'ai pris un intercité et ce qui je ne savais pas c'est qu'il faut réserver. Cela m'a coûté 10€ de plus et je n'étais pas heureuse car ce train-là n'a que eu 10 minutes plus tôt que l'autre.