Wednesday, October 5, 2011

French Administration and School

Well... time for a little comment on the French administration system! It has been a long time coming, so here goes.
It sucks.
Seriously. I can't even believe how disorganized things are over here! Most of the time I just roll my eyes and am thankful for the fact that I'm here, but sometimes I am downright irritated with the system! It seems like a never-ending cycle of visiting a place to get something done, being told that we need something else first, going back, being told that we forgot something else, being emailed a month later and told to bring some new document somewhere else, or just finding out by chance about when things are supposed to happen. For our residence, we never got a document stating what we needed to give to them, or when/to pay our rent. We had to ask them!
Most recently, we got an email from the bank stating that we have to bring a document from our residence stating that we live here in order to complete our living insurance. Why didn't they tell us before?? It's been a month!
And today, Michelle and I went to go photocopy some documents... only to find out that the printing station on campus closed at 3pm. 3pm! Can you believe it? Nothing ever closes that early... really...
So we went to the library, thinking that we could just photocopy there. The way that the print house works is that you have to pay 2 euros for a printing card, and the 2 euros gets you 12 copies. Then you have to insert the card into a machine and print. So we figured, we assumed, that the cards from the print house, on the same campus, would work in the library. Well, of course they didn't! By this time we were both so furious that we stormed out, recommencing our speaking in English (we had been speaking French with each other all day... fun!) and complaining. Now I don't usually complain about too much... really, not in a frustrated way, but it seemed like this one little thing kinda piled up on top of all the administrative failures. Thank goodness I had someone to express my frustration to!
Change of topic.
In France, the students pay practically nothing for university, especially compared to us. I used to think that it was the perfect system, access to education for everyone! (I still think access to education for everyone is important, don't worry). But over here, it seems like the actual French students don't take their classes seriously. Granted, I only have one class with actual French students (thank goodness) and I can't possibly make such a wide generalization, but I really can't believe it! I mean, sure, in Canada students come to class with their computers and smartphones and spend the whole class on Facebook... but at least they're quiet about it. Over here, people babble on for a good 15 minutes at the beginning of class, completely ignoring the prof (who just sits at the front of class, reading... I mean, you could walk around and try to look interested in your topic?) and making it impossible to understand anything. Plus, people walk in up to 20 minutes late! It's crazy! There just seems to be a lack of respect for their classes, maybe because they're free. So maybe paying for school isn't all that bad...
Anyways. Any good blog needs to have at least one rant in it! This is mine.
On a positive note, I did speak a lot of French with Michelle today, which was a lot of fun. It is hard to meet French friends our age, so we just have to not speak English so much!
More positives: I went running this morning and it felt soooo good. I think I'm finally getting my stride back, haha. One of my girlfriends and I might sign up for a half-marathon in Paris on March 4th... it would give me something to work towards, and how cool would it be to run your first half in Paris, France??? Plus, now that I wrote this on my blog I feel pressured to sign up, so that I don't look like a fool. Good initiative.
And soon it is spaghetti time! Any time that you are eating spaghetti is a good time.

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