Hello! Bonjour! Hallo!
After my first (very busy) two and a half weeks in Geneva, I decided that it was time for another post on my blog! After all of the nerves and apprehensions that I wrote about in my previous blog, I decided that I had to make the most of this opportunity, whether things were going my way or not and stay positive at all times!
However, I have to say that my experience did not get off to the best start. So, after unpacking and settling into my room, I decided it would be a good idea to go to the supermarket to get some food…because this seemed like a sensible thing to do. So I went down to the supermarket and ended up crying on the phone to my mum for about half of my trip. This could have been down to 1) exhaustion, 2) nerves, 3) realising everything was in French or 4) the fact that everything in the supermarket was 3 times more expensive than the UK! Just to top off this shaky start, I ended up setting the house alarm off…disturbing the peace of my entire town! (GOOD JOB LOZ!) Because of this, I decided to get an early night!
The next day, I woke up fresh and ready to start on my adventure! This day included Achievement Number One: I managed to successfully catch my first tram ( a surprisingly daunting task) and also Achievement Number Two: the purchase of my monthly transport card, which was done all in French! And then came the most “touristy” part of my stay…a visit to Jet d’Eau.
I also explored my University Building as well as it’s surrounding areas and then headed back to my accommodation. After my day of exploring the city, I realised that Geneva is not really that big, but also that it is also pretty homely.
During the rest of my “exploration” week (the week I had before University begins), I met many other exchange students and I realised that I was not the only one who was apprehensive, which was extremely reassuring. I explored a lot more of the city and I found that this really helped me to feel more at home.
Then came my next hurdle…my first week at a University in a foreign country and a foreign language. It was not as bad as I expected. Everyone was really helpful and all of the other students were also keen to socialise. During the first week, I was advise to attend all of the modules that were available to me and then choose the ones which interested me the most. This was the best thing I could have done and if you have this opportunity too, I’d advise you to do the same.
The next hurdle I had to accomplish was applying for a residence permit. I had a form to fill out (in French!) and there were 4 other documents that I needed to supply with it. So after I had eventually completed the form, I had to attempt to use the photocopier…another surprisingly daunting task. But once I had completed all of these paperwork and signed up to my courses, things started to run smoothly.
To conclude this post, I would advise anyone doing their year abroad to get to know as many people as possible at the beginning, because this really helped me to settle down.
Merci et à bientôt!