This post was in my drafts since Term 1. It’s safe to say my perceptions have changed- a lot.If I was writing this from my Term 1 perspective, I would simply say this. It is not that the French students dislike the Erasmus students, it’s more that they are indifferent. There are so few of us, they don’t really care if we are there, or if we aren’t.
I can see why. We’re only there for a year. We only seem to speak to them when we want help, or notes. I can see that. But sometimes, we actually just want to have a conversation, maybe get a coffee and practice some French. Perhaps even eventually have something called a friendship.
And now, at the end of my year? I still wouldn’t say they hate us, because as they say, hate is a strong word and blahblah. But the French students definitely make no effort to hide their slight “dislike” towards us, which definitely makes it feel a bit like hatred. Plus, the fact we’re in this foreign city, and that we attend most of our classes alone, doesn’t really help us not feel like we’re being ganged up on…
I do feel a bit of a hypocrite writing this post, and having such a changed opinion. I did have a good term 1 in regards to not feeling particularly disliked, and we actually made a few good classmates, which was quite nice. With this, these were the students I would never ask notes from, as it felt a bit strange asking people you knew quite well for these kinds of things.
But asides from this handful of people (who really are the rarest of gems at that University), the rest of the students have zero interest in you. Which usually is fine, but when it comes to taking the piss, or not helping us out at all when we’re clearly lost? I just find that a bit unnecessary.
Personally, I’ve never felt like I’ve had a hugely bad experience, but when hearing the stories of some of my Erasmus friends here, I find it a real shame. Your Erasmus year is supposed to be really great, and whilst you might not necessarily be hitting the top grades, it would be nice to know that at least you’re having a booming social life, meeting loads of new people and having the time of your life you were once promised on those Erasmus flyers. Unfortunately, we didn’t have much of that.
Given that a lot of our time was spent on campus, it would’ve been nice to have support from not only the students, but also the staff. It’s such a strange thing to hear that teachers have been brushing our negative experiences under the carpet, dubbing them as mere “bad luck”. In Warwick this wouldn’t be the case, so I’m seriously shocked.
That being said, it knows where to look on campus for the handful of nice people. As I mentioned in my previous post, the ELSA society are really nice, and they seem to take a genuine interest in the Erasmus – and even try to get you into some mooting (which you don’t have to feel bad about saying no to!)
You may not even notice anything is strange. Like me, you might just get used to it and think this is what University is like. Don’t be fooled- you are supposed to enjoy uni as well as everything else to do with Paris. Equally, try not to let it get you down. After all, there is so much more to this year than having good grades. It’s just a shame I wasn’t able to find it.