• First steps in Greenwich (University profile: imposed article)

     

    First steps in Greenwich (University profile)It was in the Christmas atmosphere that I finally had the confirmation this adventure; I could only imagine till then, would actually become true. The time to get prepared was short as the courses started on Monday the 14th of January. At first, I felt confident about finding a nice place to live and a way to get there with my little philosopher, Platon (my dog). Yet, when I started searching, I understood it definitely wouldn’t be as easy as I though… After a stressful couple weeks of research, I finally found a family with two kids (respectively aged 2 and 8 years old) renting a room in their own house. I jumped on the occasion and luckily got the room. But I wasn’t expecting what I was about to discover: plains, trains, ferries, none of them were accepting dogs on board I almost laughed when an airplane company asked me on the phone “would you like me to call X (name of the company) cargo?”, with the size of my dog it could only seem ironic. There was a last solution that kept glowing in the shadow: getting there by car. The problem was that I don’t drive and my family lives all around the world and therefore couldn’t help me so I explored the option of carpooling. I found great and very well structured national websites to help me finding my carpooler. I couldn’t tell I was very comfortable about this experience but still, I remained enthusiastic. Long story short, we were seven in the car and missed the last train to get to England. We had to wait almost three hours in an empty and closed commercial center till 1:30am to catch the next train. Surprisingly even with this misfortune, the trip was enjoyable thanks to other carpoolers’ cheerfulness. Yet, it took time to arrive to London and drop off every body at their place. As a result, I arrived at my place at 4:30am. The householder left a key next door so that I could get in, but it was a strange sensation to enter an unknown, dark house without making noise in the middle of the night. In fact, I didn’t even know where I was supposed to sleep. Luckily, I wasn’t as silent as I thought I was because the householder, Tristan, came downstairs to welcome me and show me my room.

    I was then very tired but I also felt relieved to finally be there. In the morning, I had to wake up early to take my marks and be able to go to the University for the Welcome meeting. Tristan nicely helped me with my first steps in London. Everything was new and it gave me a strange feeling that I rarely experienced as I was used to travel.

    There I was, in the bus to get to the University. It felt nice to discover the surrounding in the daylight and I could then understand I was living in the suburbs. After a twenty-five minutes ride, I discovered the magnificent and full of history buildings of the University Of Greenwich. It almost felt as if I was in a movie but the wonderment didn’t last long as I had to find my way in this very large campus.

    I eventually succeed in finding the other ERASMUS students and recognized the other ESDES’ students. Even though we didn’t know each other very well, it felt nice to see familiar faces.

    We didn’t have any other lessons that day which gave us time to discover the campus and partly understand how things worked there. I was positively surprised by the cultural mix on the campus and was excited about the idea to meet those people, all coming from different horizons.

    Back home, I spend time with the family I was living with, in order to get to know them better. They were very nice and friendly which could only help me to feel good. They even had the kindness to invite me several times to share their meal. Often, Tristan would offer me a glass of wine telling me with a tone of humor that the fact I was French made him want to drink wine more often! I quickly understood that living with this family would be a fabulous human and linguistic experience.

    Seeing daily the university’s wonderful buildings made me curious about their history. According to my investigations, Greenwich city is an old Romans site that has been shaped by seafaring, industry Royalty and the Navy. It was only recently (2009) that Greenwich University acquired the buildings. Today, from the campus, people can admire the Maritime museum historically known to be the Royalty’s secondary residence.

    First steps in Greenwich (University profile)

    I didn’t have to wait long before starting the classes. I chose to study leadership, management, social marketing and strategic brand management. The first classes fortunately weren’t too intense which helped me to get used to the British accent.

    Yet, I quickly noticed that everybody knew each-others in classes and that we were the only new faces in there which would make the integration task a little less easy. I was surprised to observe that British people were very amiable in the streets but not as nice when it came to the student population, indeed, other students seemed distant.

    In the first days I wasn’t ready to rush into finding outdoor activities as the weather was rather cold and as I already had a whole family to discover and do things with at home.

    It didn’t last long before we had to prepare our first homework and luckily we made friends with other permanent students. They were very helpful explaining us how to search in the library, how to borrow books and how to reference our work.

    I think that one of the most difficult things I had to deal with starting from the beginning was the academic logic that is the complete opposite of French one. Here, teachers are expecting before everything else solid references and would only then, consider our writing. In France, the academic system is made to improve the ability to reflect and then research and not the other way round. In fact, a teacher even told me that we were too young and inexperienced to think by ourselves… Yet, experiencing different ways of thinking is a good training for us to be adaptable and prepared for our future.

    From this point, the experience was very promising J


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