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Iskustvo ERASMUS




ErasmusStudenti iz razmjene koji dolaze na Sveučilište Leeds, gdje sam bio student, dočekali su toplu i umirujuću dobrodošlicu i nude im smještaj u sveučilištu.

The international-office staff keep tabs on them, to make sure they’re still alive and getting on. So perhaps I expected something like that treatment when I went to do a year at l’Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB). I was swiftly disillusioned.

Don’t get me wrong: I survived, learnt a lot, my French is now fluent, and I had some fascinating work placements. But a little care and compassion at ULB would have made it all so much better. I was told from the start that there would be precious little university accommodation available for foreign students – I had to enter the private rentals market in a strange country where I didn’t speak the language fluently.

I got a flat, but I know a lot of exchange students who had to put their stuff in storage and stay in youth hostels at first. One or two never left. The “welcome week” for foreign students was run by third years who saw it as a chance to seduce blonde Swedish students. It involved such joys as a picnic in the park (“bring your own food and beer, then sit in a park on a cold day”); the orientation exercise (“here are a load of photos, now find where these places are while we sit in the Union and get pissed”); and the special welcome dinner (reformed sausage and mash with boiled cabbage for five Euros). We had one talk from the school co-ordinator, who spoke very fast French in a room with a terrible echo, and most of us couldn’t follow.

The bits I understood were “go to class” and “pass the exams”. Then we had to choose the modules we were going to study, from a book that didn’t give class times or the number of credits assigned to each module. This information is found on two different websites, and you have to have it to be sure that your modules add up to sufficient credits for the year. Four weeks into term, they told me that one of the modules I had chosen was a special one that I had to sign up for, instead of just turning up, which is what you did for all the other modules.

The class, they said, was full. I had to find another module, and start it a month behind. I begged them to let me finish the first module. I pointed out that it made no difference to the professor whether he lectured to 200 or 201 students. The office said that it wasn’t his decision but theirs, and that they weren’t going to budge. This mattered a lot, because the workload on each module is huge. You have about double the workload you would have in Britain – and all in a foreign language. ULB is not good at keeping you informed. Once there was a student strike over the privatisation of university services. We showed up to our 8am Saturday class to find the building locked and the academic staff unable to get in.

Godinu su mi spasili radni staži, što možete učiniti, u dogovoru sa vlastitim sveučilištem, umjesto nekim svojim akademskim modulima. Pukom ustrajnošću stigao sam u prošli mandat s jednim od zastupnika u Leedsu, a zatim i s BBC-om u Bruxellesu.


Otvoreno, ako želite ući u europske poslove u bilo kojem svojstvu, morat ćete prvo odraditi stravično loše plaćene prakse. Shemu EUASMUS mogli biste vidjeti kao priliku da vas EU financira kroz ovo: daleko bolja opcija koja podnosi nesposobnost ULB-a.



Anna van Densky

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