It has been just over a week since I moved to Perpignan to study at l’Université de Perpignan for a semester for my Year Abroad. It’s got off to a great start and I feel I have settled in quite nicely here for what hopes to be an amazing five months to come!
I was not expecting to enjoy my stay here near as much as I am right now; it was difficult to find information online before I left about the city, accommodation and university course, and I was hesistant to get my hopes up in case everything fell apart when I arrived. Luckily, this has not been the case, and I am so glad I chose to come here for my first semester abroad. The way of life is so calm and relaxed, far from the stress of the capital city, Paris. Also, the weather has been fantastic (blue skies and soleil every day). Thinking ahead, in February I will need to uproot again to go and study at university in Salamanca in Spain for the second semester. I already feel that this is not going to be easy despite the fact that I know Salamanca will be great too, just in a different way.
Of course, administration has not run smoothly: weird office opening hours, lots of paperwork, trying to obtain the right documents, assembling my university timetable (classes can start at 8am and sometimes end 7:30pm?!?!) etc. This was inevitable, and I am trying my best to embrace the laid-back way of life yet still try and get everything done at the same time. Nevertheless, I have managed to squeeze in two full days at the beach (which is amazing, by the way!), done a bit of shopping, become a daily customer at my local boulangerie, gone to a yoga class in the park and we have even planned a few trips later this month! Collioure, Villefranche-de-Conflent and Girona are on the cards. C’est parti!
There has been lots of French speaking, especially as not many people here speak English (well not many that I have met anyway), and so they do not desire to practice their English with me. Le français se parle ici.
As I said, I went to a yoga class (en plein air!) in the Parc des sports this evening (it’s a massive sports complex not far from the uni) and I dragged Kam along. It was her first class but she loved it and wants to go back (yay I have converted her!). The class was in a very similar style to that of my yoga teacher on the Wirral in the UK; the same balance of meditation, asana and relaxation, and the way she ended the class was EXACTLY the same (except of course it was in French) as well #daymade. This made me so happy, as I have not managed to find another yoga class similar to my one at home when I was living in Sheffield, despite trying quite a few classes. I will definately be going back to this class soon. There is talk of doing yoga on paddleboards on the beach next week and we are definately up for that! I do feel like I learnt a bit of vocabulary of the parts of the body that I didn’t really know before. It’s great to learn in an environment where you are active and having fun. Despite doing yoga on a beach towel on an uneven terrain in the park was not the most comfortable, it was so much fun.
Tomorrow, I will have to finish sorting out my room insurance (assurance de logement), open my French bank accont (wah) and have an Erasmus meeting to register at the uni, get my student card and all that. There is a welcome party for the start of the year at the university tomorrow evening and there will be lots of paella- I am sold 😉 Like the French say, c’est parti!
What was your first week like if you have ever moved abroad?