Sunday, March 7, 2010

Breaking the Silence

It's been quite some time since I've done an actual blog post. I'm currently studying in France and it's been quite the experience so far. I don't really know where I want to start, but it only seems logical to start at the beginning.

I got here on the 11th. Aside from some minor annoyances caused the other Americans not wanting to take my advice once we got to Charles De Gaulle Airport in Paris the trip to the Gare de Lyon cost a bit more than I would have liked it too. It also took 3 times as long as my methods but that's not what this is about, however, it took me 3 1/2 hours to get to JFK by car and then 8 hours to get to CDG by plane so I wanted to minimize any further travel time as much as possible... I suppose this is where I will start complaining about my program through SUNY New Paltz. While I was still in the US, their study abroad office was just inches above useless. I only say inches above because I did actually get the papers I needed in time, but with absolutely no time to spare. I drove 2 1/2 hours to their campus for the 3 hour orientation. That is something I regret somewhat. While sitting there for 3 hours with nothing to show for it, the other Americans told me more in 5 minutes than I had found out from SUNY New Paltz during the previous months. They weren't even able to provide us with an address where we would be staying before we left. As a matter of fact they told us to ask a cab driver to take us to Batiment Stendahl, they should know where it is. No address. No description. Luckily my cab driver knew how to get here but the other Americans weren't as lucky which tacked and additional few euros on to their trip. Once we got their, the people at that building weren't even sure who we were. It took some explaining before they finally figured that we must be the people on some tiny list they had. I'll spare you the nightmare that getting my visa was for now but getting here was a bit of a nightmare.

After going through two weeks of orientation to learn about the town we had to take a placement test at the CLA. The test consisted of three parts: Written comprehension and expression (grammar was also in this section), oral comprehension, and an interview. From this test they would place you in either level A,B1,B2,C1, or C1+. The test isn't too difficult. I felt that I did poorly on the interview out of some slight nervousness. I also know I made some mistakes on the oral comprehension part due to a confusing answer sheet. Too bad, so sad though. I ended up in B2. More specifically B2.5. I was hoping for C1 and just missed it but I think that everything turned out fine since I ended up with mostly awesome teachers which doesn't seem to be everyone's luck. The classes as a whole seem to be quite easy. Oral comprehension always seemed to be my weak point though, which is what I think kept me from getting into C1. While I can understand people perfectly fine, I can't understand recorded speech to save my life. I suppose that's why I'm here though. If it weren't for that I may have tried to go up to C1. While they say that changing levels is uncommon, there have been many people who have switched up and down levels. Our class had at least 3 switch out and 3 people switch in. I suppose I've decided to let myself enjoy the break though. I'm used to working on top of a much more busy schedule than I have now. As long as New Paltz doesn't manage to screw up putting the grades into my transcript correctly, all will be well. I don't have my fingers crossed though. Anyway, I suppose that's the beginning. I'll try to make this a more regular thing...

No comments:

Post a Comment