Your Erasmus year is supposed to be the year of your life. Here are some things we wish we knew in Term 1, that you should keep in mind, in order to make the most of Paris.
- The international office are awful, and don’t really care all that much about you:If you need something done urgently (i.e. learning agreement signed so you can get your Erasmus grant!), it helps to copy the Warwick Erasmus coordinator and/or Gary/Solange into your emails. You should expect a reply the very next day if you do this.
- TDs are hard, but don’t slave over your fiche d’arrets:The majority of the French students don’t even do the fiche d’arrets properly: as long as you can explain the facts and make a guess at the question de droit, you’ll mostly be fine. Pay more attention to the commentaires/dissertations that they ask you to do: these count towards your marks.
- Here’s a little cheat trick for the essays and sometimes your fiche d’arrets:http://parisdescartes.libguides.com/bases : Log in with your Paris Descartes username, and particularly use Dalloz! It is basically the French Westlaw: you can research arrets, essays etc. E.g if you have an arret to comment on, find the arret on the system, and then on the bottom right corner, you will see “revues”, “codes” and some other stuff. These headings essentially align all the necessary reading for your essays. From this, you can follow the footnotes to find even more stuff using google etc.
- French students will give you your notes no matter what:So don’t be afraid that they’ll say no! I waited till about 3 weeks in to pluck up the courage to ask somebody. If you do it right from the beginning, you put out the fact that you’re Erasmus, and you end up having someone to sit with afterwards, or at least somebody to practise your French with during the breaks…
- You might be able to do your core modules as an oral exam: Ask your admi/contract lecturer as soon as you can: they may decide to examine you orally, as opposed to doing the written exams. It is really quite useful, as they’re quite particular about the titres etc in the written exams, which can really impact your mark.
- Term 2 definitely does get better:
We just feel silly for complaining so much. Term 1 is a trial, Term 2 is when you really know what’s going on, and what you have to do. We have organised our time so much better now, and actually have a chance to see Paris!