Having been in Nantes for almost two weeks prior to the start of lectures, I was really excited for them to begin, but as Monday grew closer I started to get a bit nervous too. I spent hours on Sunday trying to compile my timetable, which I’ve since had to rewrite about six times. As an Erasmus student I have a fair amount of freedom in terms of module and discipline choice which is great as I knew I wanted to study a variety of subjects in order to gain more knowledge and experience in several areas. The only problem is that this makes timetabling more complex as I had to refer to multiple timetables online and try to avoid any clashes. In the end, I’ve had to ditch and swap a few modules in order to make sure everything fits together nicely and in order to have enough credits (in French).
As I said, lectures started on Monday. The first one could have been a complete nightmare, but luckily it was a translation module so lots of other erasmus students I know from Cardiff were there too. It was nice to experience it together, especially as it was a seminar (knowing someone you’re sat with is a lot less stressful than walking into a class with nobody you recognise). Today was the real deal though, and I had my first psychology class which was taught all in French and without any of my friends. I arrived forty minutes early to ensure I was in the right place (it’s taught in two buildings here for some reason) and after about quarter of an hour other students started lining up outside the room too. I was worried that I’d make a fool of myself or not understand a thing the lecturer said, but actually it was great and I really enjoyed it. In France there isn’t the option to do psychology before uni like we can in England, so having an A level in it really helped as it meant I knew a few of the key terms and was actually maybe even at a slight advantage compared to the native students. It’s going to be a lot of work to make sure I learn and understand it all but it’s so interesting that it’s worth it.
The campus isn’t that different from Cardiff, with the buildings spread along a road. The biggest change is that rather than having a five minute walk from your halls/student house to uni, I have to get a tram, which is fine so long as you allow enough time so that you’re not forced onto one that’s packed. The classrooms I’ve seen so far seem dated compared to Cardiff, with some not having over-head projectors or computers in. It’s not a bad thing though, just very different. There’s no movement break here either so if you have several lectures in a row spread over different buildings that could prove to be a problem, but luckily I haven’t had to worry about that yet.
So far I’m feeling really positive about studying here and although I know it’s going to be a lot of work in order to do my compulsory courses as well as some Italian ones to keep that ticking over, it is what I’m here for! Roll on tomorrow for more cognitive psychology!