Salut ! It’s me again, the Erasmus student from France. I am coming back to you because I am now halfway through this year abroad: the three months that I have spent here so far have challenged my expectations and as such, I wanted to share this experience.
I remember telling you about my choice to go to the University of Edinburgh while most of my classmates in my home university chose to go to Spain, well I definitely don’t regret my choice – except maybe when they send me Snapchats of them, on the beach, at 5pm, wearing flip-flops and t-shirts whereas we are all freezing in our coats in cold Scotland. Admittedly the weather is not as bad as I expected, however it is wetter, colder and darker here than home; the sun going down at 4pm didn’t really help in fighting the depressed sensation threatening to invade during this essay period!
Talking about essays, I had no idea how hard mid-term exams were and most of all, I had never done such things before. I think I have experienced the worst three or four academic weeks of my year abroad during this so-called ‘essay season’. I had no idea what to expect and I was scared of not being understandable or clear enough to succeed, but so far it has been alright: I made it through and I survived. Eventually I have to admit that the academic level is much higher here and I understand why the university is ranked 17th in the world.
Another difficulty that I encountered was to make friends. Real friends. Of course as an Erasmus student, there are lots of events supposed to gather the Erasmus community, but at the end of a party or a trip you realise that you have new acquaintances, but not necessarily new friends to continue on seeing and hanging out with. Therefore, I have spent these last 3 months trying to build relationships with other students and I think I have finally found little groups of great people that I actually feel like I belong to, and it feels good.
The last, but not the least point that I will talk about is food. In the previous article, I was a bit indecisive about whether I should try haggis or not. I eventually did – a wee bite, but still- and it’s good! I am more or less getting along with Cheddar cheese, for lack of my French Comté or Tomme, and I now have on my ‘To Taste’ List something that sounds as greasy as can be: the deep fried Mars bar.
At the moment I am really excited about the Christmas market; I just can’t wait to discover all of the stalls, taste some mulled wine and try the big wheel while listening to Christmas carols… Sorry if it sounds cliché.
To conclude the summary of this semester in Edinburgh, in France we say, ‘Il pleut mais l’on est heureux’, translating to: ‘It’s raining but we are happy’.