Hallo liebe leute! I hope you are all well. I am now well into my second semester here in Belgium and it’s definitely going faster than my first semester. I am taking modules which I think are a little more challenging than first semester, including; Introduction au droit islamique, Religion, droit et sociétés en Europe, Introduction au droit de l’Union Européenne et Expression écrite (français). At the end of this semester, I will have done 41 credits in total – I was only supposed to do 30 but the rules here mean that an average student has to do 20 credits per semester. When I told my coordinator that I was only to do 30 in the whole academic year she literally said that it would not be possible. It has meant that I have lessons pretty much everyday of the week except for Fridays.
Do I think my French is improving?
Yes and no. To a large extent, yes but it is easy to get comfortable and not challenge yourself to read more or take more opportunities to talk about different subjects. I am hoping to do this more in second semester
I have received my exam results and give glory to God that I can say I passed all my exams!
My student card is finally here… and it’s about time
My student card was ready for collection on 1st March 2018. That made it almost six months without a student card. During this time I have been using an official university letter to demonstrate my status as a student and thus my right to enter the library and use their resources. It has been horrible the last few months to be looked at as an illegitimate student because of the lack of my card.
Taking exams was painful. I couldn’t sit the French placement test at the start of the year because I didn’t have a student card. For my formative exams,I was the only one with a bit of paper on my desk while everyone had their card (s).
Moreover, it has meant that doing sport was more complicated too. I had bought my membership to do sport here but since I didn’t have my card, I was unable to get my membership attached to my card. In fact, it is a tiny strip at the top of the card which verifies that you have payed for your sports membership and can, therefore, do sport. While I did renew this paper two times once it had run out, I became tired of making the journey to go and have my card renewed so I would attend sport events with an out of date provisional sports permit (just a piece of paper that confirmed my payment for membership).
After many trips to and from the service des inscriptions over this time, a few telephone calls, trying to explain in my best french what was going in and my frustration about it and retaking my student photo, I finally have my student card. But why did it take so long you ask?
The story sort of goes back to May 2017. I sent my photos in back in May 2017 in the hope that my card would be ready for September. In reality, I didn’t need to send my photo in that early because it never takes four months to print a card with a few details on it. Nevertheless, I did so.
When I arrived here in September I was told that my card wasn’t ready from the law faculty and at first it wasn’t explained to me why that was. I ended up going to service des incsriptions and asking them whether they had my card. They told me they didn’t have my card because they had lost the pictures. So, I decided to go and take new pictures (which by the way they didn’t reimburse). I handed these in and was told it would take ten days to receive my card and I should look out for an email. I never received this email after ten days. So thus, really began my journey toing and froing from service des inscriptions. It was only a few weeks later at my next visit that I was told they now couldn’t find my second pictures (what?!). By this point I was furious – how could the Belgian administration have not only lost my first picture buy also my second picture (or so they had led me to believe)? They kept asking me who I gave my second pictures into and I told them to one of their personnel. I think they eventually found the pictures but it was long after the ten days I was advised and long after I had lost the will for a card (from what i have understood, the pictures were with the card making factory but they never used my new picture – they used the old one?!) -_-.
Once I went to service des inscriptions and was told that my card had been commodé but had been annulled because the background in my picture was grey instead of white. I told them that in any case, I took new pictures that were better than the first and handed those in to be used instead. Despite explaining this to them I think they never had any idea where my photos were and the original was always only on the system. During this time I was using a piece of paper to enter and leave the library often having to queue up to ask to be let out of the library. My mum became angry and so did I. She didn’t believe this was happening and asked me multiple times to go speak to somebody higher up. But that’s the problem – who knows who really is higher up?
Eventually, I went back to service des inscriptions after still receiving the excuse that the background of my card was grey instead of white and therefore couldn’t be used. It was now February. I told them (in English) that I had been waiting five months for my card. That I had to enter the library with a note and couldn’t really be a student. I told them that the background issue really couldn’t be used as an excuse anymore because I had been waiting since September and only had a few months to go before going back to the UK. It was only at that point that they sought to make my card as soon as possible again letting me know that my card would be ready soon and I would receive an email from them.
I never received an email from them. I received an email from my coordinatrice to let me know my cards had arrived. Was I happy? Umm, this day was already long overdue. I was appreciative to finally have my card but I was upset that it had taken so long and I was annoyed at the lack of communication from the Belgian administration in relation to the wherabouts of my card. Despite this, I think this experience has taught me how to be angry in french but also how to be patient and resilient in the face of nonsense.
Thank you for everyone who was praying for me to receive my student card.
Festival de la lumière
This is an outdoors event organised by my kot and other kots here in Belgium and is sponsored by the local Parish. The aim really is to bring together students here regardless of their background (religious or not) for an evening together with crêpes and mulled wine and Rock and Folk dancing.
The evening was really enjoyable and I must say eventually rock and folk dancing was interesting too. It was really cold, however, maybe -6 so I didn’t stay out too long for fear my toes and fingers would freeze. My coat now smells like I have been smoking for a good 45 years because we had a few bonfires going to try and keep people as warm as possible and I was stood in the direction of where the wind was taking the residue from the fire. I can’t really complain though – all’s well that ends well.
Please give thanks that I have finally received my card and for the start of a new semester, a chance to speak to (new) people about Jesus.
Please pray I will get stuck into more things while abroad and use this time I have to enjoy myself.
Please pray for God’s protection and guidance
I am doing a Holy Spirit challenge with my friend, please pray that the Holy Spirit communicates to me and that I am attentive to listen.
God is able – Hillsong
‘God is with us
He will go before
He will never leave us
He will never leave us
God is for us
He has open arms
He will never fail us
He will never fail us’
Thank you for reading this blog and until next time