Waiting Room

As I may have mentioned before, time moves a little slower here in France. Ten minutes late is right on time, and the bureaucracy lives up to its famous stereotypes. While I haven’t gotten completely frustrated over it yet, it’s definitely taken some getting used to.

Five weeks into the semester, I’m still not officially registered for any courses. Of course, I selected my classes long ago, but the administration has yet to actually put me in the computer system. I doubt this could have any effect on insurance or scholarship paperwork back home, but it’s a bit disconcerting to think that I’m still not on any official roster here. I’m a ghost!

All classes at the university generally start about ten minutes after the appointed time, if not later. Today, for instance, I waited forty minutes before my International Relations teacher strolled into the classroom without any apology to the students. At my school in the States, students would be falling over each other to get out the door after fifteen minutes. It’s perfectly fine by me if classes are shortened sometimes, but I hate thinking about all that wasted time I could have spent reading/doing homework/eating/sleeping!

Classes are also frequently cancelled with no notice. If, after an hour or so of waiting, the teacher doesn’t show up, it’s safe to assume that class won’t happen that day. A few weeks ago, this happened with my European History course. Another student eventually came into the lecture hall and told us all that class was cancelled for the next three weeks. I have no idea how the teacher expects to make up a third of the semester’s classes when we return next week, but I suppose it’s not my concern. Once again, I feel like it’s a waste of time that could be easily prevented with a simple email to the students, but I guess I just have to get used to it!

All of this is to say that I’ve started carrying around a book.

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