The past couple of weeks have been hectic. I had 7 exams in 4 days last week, but on Thursday I finished my time at Université d’Avignon. Just like that my year abroad is over. Technically. Term doesn’t officially end ‘til May 26th, but I don’t have any exams or classes now so I’m basically done.
I’m not entirely sure how I feel about this year coming to an end. Dramatically speaking, it’s an end of an era. But it also means I can go home and get back to everything I’m used to. One thing I am certain of is I’ll be happy to see the back of Université d’Avignon. Luckily I’ve managed to stay afloat academically with what little work I’ve done since my arrival, however I can’t say it’s been a wholly positive university experience. Firstly, the organisation here is abominable. Getting a piece of paper signed by one person in an office is a much trickier task than you’d expect it to be. Everything takes so much longer to do here, yet you’re expected to be ready for exams on a range of subjects just 6 weeks into your studies. So you have 4 separate exam periods each year. Everything has been a bit rushed all year, but this term has flown by especially quickly. I went into my last exams feeling completely unprepared. Perhaps, maybe, that might be just a little bit my fault, but they expect a lot from you after what little you can take from a handful of lectures in a foreign language.
The overall relaxed, laid back (some would argue lazy) environment at the university has its pros and cons. For example, you could turn up prepared for an exam at 9.30a.m, but don’t expect the lecturer himself to be there for the exam to take place. You could also have 2 exams in one day and have prepared for them and feel confident you’ll at least pass, but then at 6.30pm on the eve of the exams you could receive an email stating that the university will be closed the next day due to ‘security’ reasons. Whatever that means. So then the exams are rescheduled for two weeks later, which is enough time to forget everything you revised and by then you’re too stubborn to revise properly again because it’s not your fault. Nevertheless, you cannot ignore the brilliance of being let into an exam 7 minutes late when your alarm doesn’t go off in the morning. I owe many thanks to the lecturer for that. The funny thing is, 2 people strolled in rather casually after me, so I guess this laid-back nature applies to everyone at the university. I wouldn’t want to risk being late for an exam at Leicester, and that’s completely fair. I’ll be sure to set multiple alarms on multiple devices for my next set of exams in January 2017.
I suppose you could call it an ‘enlightening’ experience, coming to a foreign land and assessing their education system. I suppose you could say it’s made me even more grateful for the education system we have in the UK. Maybe I’m biased, maybe it’s just natural to think your own university experience is better than any other, but I’d have to say that Leicester trumps Avignon academically.
And on that note I’d like to cheer on everyone at Leicester currently stressing out about end of year exams. If Leicester can win the league, you can do that exam. Don’t expect a parade or anything though.