So as mentioned in my previous post, I don’t have a University card. In fact, I still don’t have one now. What has apparently happened is that the Belgian administration has lost my picture that I sent to them in May. This means, in effect, that I can’t access the University online platform because I need to activate my card in order to do that. Moreover, I can’t gain access to the library because I don’t have a card so today, when we visited the law library, I had to use my friends and she had to scan me out of the library with her card. This is a problem that is getting remedied but I’m not sure how long it will take as it means I can’t access the work we’ve done in the classes I have had so far.
Aside from not having a University card, my first week in Belgium has been interesting. I have met all my flatmates now who are all lovely, we’ve had our first flat meeting and we’ve had our first meal together which was cooked by one of them (I’m cooking veggie cottage pie with another flatmate on Thursday!) I think it’s really cool that I live in a family community. There is so much planned for us to do together which is pretty awesome and I am looking forward to it. I also hope I can do some traveling in the near future, (although it probably won’t be anytime soon) outside the city I am currently in and perhaps other countries (although this costs a lot so this is not definitive) as it does sometimes feel like a bubble but nonetheless, I love the student city feel, it reminds me of some University cities but on a smaller scale.
I’ve been trying to get into the way of life here, especially the way of life in a Kot. One of the highs of Belgian life is definitely the food. I tried my first waffle the other day, it was smothered in Nutella and it was delightful – I will definitely be having more in the future, no doubt. I also tried this really lovely pain filled with raisins and sugar courtesy of my flatmate (I must find out the name)! I’m also hoping to sign up to sports and basically do anything I haven’t had a chance to do yet and really take advantage of this year abroad.
Another way in which I’ve been trying to assimilate into the way of life is by opening a bank account, which for those of you wondering is straightforward to a large extent. Having said this, booking an appointment wasn’t. I had the impression that I had already booked an appointment before I arrived because I spoke to someone who told me the time and day my appointment was but once I arrived at the bank they said the opposite and that in fact I hadn’t booked an appointment or made it clear what time and date I wanted an appointment. Anywho, what I’m trying to say is get it written down on paper kids. Nothing is concrete if it isn’t on paper because word of mouth isn’t enough and that’s true for all circumstances. Nevertheless, I now have a Belgian bank account and it’s definitely going to make buying things in the shop easier as well as paying my rent a lot easier, which, by the way, is not all inclusive like in student accommodation in the UK if you were wondering.
I had my first lecture on a Saturday at 9am! It was tiring but I met two French people who are on exchange here who I can speak French with. Depending on how you see it, they don’t speak English apart from a few words here and there. I must say, I am having moments where I can’t construct sentences that make sense in English at the first attempt so I guess my French is getting better (well I’d like to hope so, anyway). I hope to start formal French classes with a teacher soon as soon as I’ve taken the competency test (I thought I’d done enough tests, bah non). Until then, it’s just me and my grammar books plus the help of my flatmates. When all my flatmates are in one room speaking it’s definitely daunting to speak and I don’t always understand what is said but confidence and skill only come with practice and time so I’m going to keep pressing on. I’ve also started using the most common phrases my flatmates use and recognising the numbers 70 and 90, the Belgian way. I live with a French person here and he completely disagrees with some of the Belgian jargon – I find it amusing to see the differences. I also think I’m starting to recognise the varying accents between French and Belgians, although for now I still think they are quite minuscule. I have however met someone from Quebec and no doubt there is really a difference between the quebecois accent and the european french accent; that I cannot deny!
Exodus 4: 10- 12
10 But Moses pleaded, “O Lord, I’m just not a good speaker. I never have been, and I’m not now, even after you have spoken to me, for I have a speech impediment.”[a]
11 “Who makes mouths?” Jehovah asked him. “Isn’t it I, the Lord? Who makes a man so that he can speak or not speak, see or not see, hear or not hear? 12 Now go ahead and do as I tell you, for I will help you to speak well, and I will tell you what to say.”
- Please pray that I become more confident with speaking French and believe in myself as others believe in me.
- Please also pray that I will get my University card soon so i don’t get behind in Uni work.