Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Applied for Erasmus (and other shenanigans of a language student)

As the title of this post implies, I have sent and signed the Erasmus preference form. It's irreversible now. Eek!

Choices (in order of preference)

French (semester 1):
1. Grenoble Stendhal
2. Aix-en-Provence
3. ESIT Paris
4. La Sorbonne Paris
5. ETI Geneva

Italian (semester 2):
1. Milano degli studi
2. Verona
3. Roma la sapienza
4. Venezia Ca' Foscari

I don't hear back til February, though I am guessing the allocation of places will be based upon academic performance, the given reason (in the case of Italian, the French department didn't allow us the possibility of justifying our decision), and a smidgen of pure luck.

It's weird not knowing exactly where I'll be next year. Kind of nice though. I am hoping to work with A.C.L.E for at least a month in Italy, teaching English to Italian children in English immersion camps during the Summer. I would also like to find a job in France, though the options seem more limited. There is American village, the French alternative to A.C.L.E, though the application process seems somewhat more thorough! One must send them a criminal record certificate (I think it costs around £30 to order from the government and then can take up to 6 weeks to get to you), a birth certificate (I have lost mine and would have to reorder and pay for another copy), and several other official documents which are difficult to trace. I wouldn't mind doing this for a full-time job, but given that I just want to be there for a month or two doesn't make the process sound that exciting. Whatever the outcome, I think I am going to have a lot to write about after May 2013.

So what have I been up to recently? Translations, essay writing, précis writing, nerve-wracking oral presentations and a whole host of social events, from Tandem and yoga to silent discos and cinema trips. All has been washed down with copious amounts of coffee, of course, and tea. I think I have become quite familiar with some of the best coffee shops in town, having now lived here for more than two years. I may blog about that soon....

Just a few reflections on the past semester...

Best book of the semester? Best classic would be a tie between Madame Bovary and Candide. Best novel outside of University would be the entire series of Song of Ice and Fire. I'm on the 4th, it's such an epic  series, but really takes a lot of time and devotion.

Best film? Les Intouchables. I went to see this film without a clue about the plot. It was an incredible surprise, extremely funny and touching. It made me want to visit the film house on a weekly basis.

Best new discovery in Edinburgh? Toss up between Brew lab and Anteaques. The latter is like a time capsule, a way of going back in time to a colonial age where the British were decadent. Everything is served in such a pristine way, and the tea menu is amazing. The scones are homemade, moist and delicious. Probably the best in Edinburgh. Brew lab is the place to go if in need of coffee. It's a new place, striving to provide the best coffee in Edinburgh with a very minimalist setup, and Scientific seeming menu... It's a periodic table! They have so many plugs, it's ideal for students wanting to plug in their laptop. The music could get quite annoying, but I tend to zone out when I write essays so it's okay! Amazing coffee, cakes and pastries.

Most stressful day? I had a French essay, an Italian oral and a French oral to prepare in the same week. These weren't the deadlines set by the University, but my personal deadlines. I can't stand orals even in English, so this was pretty stressful.

Culinary creations? Vegan creamy mushroom pasta, several incredible soups including butter nut squash and carrot, baked cinnamon apples teriyaki tofu steaks, a triple layer carrot cake with cream cheese frosting and pecans for my boyfriend's 22nd birthday.

Addictions: Reading Song of ice and fire, pokemon, instagram and facebook. Also buying coffee.

Most exciting day? I managed to get a ticket to go and see J.K.Rowling at Lennoxlove festival in Haddington with the literature society. It was a childhood dream come true, though sadly lacking Harry Potter. I got 2 copies of the casual vacancy signed and walked away feeling lost in a dream. I just wish I'd had the opportunity to ask about Crookshanks.

Biggest achievements? Qualified 120 hour TEFL/TESOL teacher. Leading female role, Rosaura, in the play 'Il Bugiardo' by Goldoni. Beat all the gyms in Pokemon black 2... Made it to 4 years with my boyfriend, and celebrated it with a meal out in an exquisite Japanese restaurant.

Thing I'm most looking forward to? Opera on Friday (the magic flute), having finished exams, going to Italy for Christmas.