La paperasserie....red tape
...the girl used her entire body weight to try and open the massive wooden doors that mark the entrance to one of the Sorbonne's many campuses around the city. It wouldn't budge. She turned to us and shrugged her shoulders nonchalantly as she said: "heuh...peut-être qu'ils sont en grève" (translation: hmm, maybe they're on strike) and walked away.
This was my first experience with the bureaucracy of the French university system.
I wanted to share this anecdote because strikes in France are as common as rainfall in the springtime...okay, bad analogy, but you get it. My friend and I laughed after that experience partly out of frustration because we had traveled a long way on the metro and partly because, well, c'est la vie!
Today my friend and I decided that mayyyyybe we should go to the various campuses and figure out our class schedule before classes start on Monday (a little sarcasm, sorry). The way that it works here is that you have to physically go to the various departments to find the class schedule posted on an unmarked bulletin board and then go to the secretary in the office to officially sign up. There is nothing posted online and things are subject to sudden change without warning--definitely a big change from our cushy, highly organized and technologically advanced university system in the States. I am learning a lot, however, and please don't take this post to be me complaining...i'm simply sharing the gross differences.
So far I am enrolled in a class called "Philosophie Politique" (political philosophy) where I think we'll discuss totalitarianism and its many forms....I also want to take a history class called "La vie politique et societe francaise au premier XXe siecle" (political life and french society in the beginning of the 20th century)...and then a literature course.
So there's my update....this entire month I have been on vacation and now classes will begin....ca commence (it all starts...)
at 12:40 PM