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Posts Tagged ‘paperwork’

So you may initially think this blog isn’t entirely year abroad related but when I read this article http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/8286939.stm I could not help but feel like I knew exactly what the writer was talking about. Even though I’m not particularly anxious about money or getting a job, as I already have both of those, I am still worrying about a lot. Particularly disappointment. Me. Being one. I’m worried that I don’t know enough French, that I might not be able to cope, after yet another weekend meltdown. There definitely is too much stress involved in this year that is meant to be an enjoyable experience.

I settled down early on Sunday afternoon to fill in paperwork in order to receive my erasmus grant payments through the university erasmus program. I filled in all the simple parts; name, address, university, course. Then I went on to do the rest, with the guidance notes up on the screen in an email sent by the international office, but could I do it. No. No I couldn’t. There just wasn’t enough guidance to fill in all these forms. I wasn’t aware that Britain had become a bureaucratic nightmare like France. Cue stress, self-doubt, panic and then eventually many tears. It’s almost as if they want us to crack under all this pressure. I’ve never doubted my mental health as much as I have these past few weeks. Eventually, after plucking up the courage to tell my mum that I was having yet another breakdown and having yet another pep talk, I put the papers back on my desk and they’ll stay there until I have a day confident enough that I won’t crumble. Instead, I booked my flights home for Christmas. Giving me a countdown and event in the future to look forward to, or if… no! WHEN I start to love this experience, to dread. I think I need one of those posters with the kitten dangling from the washing line. Hang in there, baby!

It’s 07:53 right now (06:53 for all you Brits) and I am preparing myself to leave my apartment to commence my first day in my language assistant post. Whilst I’ll only be observing the class and finalising my timetable j’ai toujours peur!!! Bon chance à moi!

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So I woke up at some stupid time this morning and got myself ready for my training day. Made sure I was all prepared with my documentation and headed out at 7:30. It was still dark which felt odd. Got to the Inspection Academique and was waiting for the other 3 assistants and my responsable, who was driving us there, to arrive. When we were all finally bundled into the car I felt like I’d been punched in the stomach, everyone seemed to be speaking so much better French than I even knew! Then after a quick scramble around in my bag for my glasses I realised that I’d picked up the wrong folder of documentation. Right then I so badly wanted to cry and get a flight back to England, but then I remembered that I’m here to make these mistakes and learn. I coped the rest of the journey and when we got to Narbonne I felt relatively calm.

Sat in the room with the 3 other Carcassonne assistants and the 5 Narbonne assistants I felt a bit better as I slowly found out more about them. They were all older than me, they all had been learning French longer than me, some of them had even done the teaching assistant thing before years ago. I felt calm… that is until the paperwork section of the day started. I did not need to be worried at all, most people hadn’t brought one thing or another and my responsable was cool with it and just suggested dropping the things we lacked (my R.I.B.s, attestation de logement and arrete de nomination) by her office on monday. Fab! Sorted!

After the panic of the day was over we settled down to what I can only describe as a feast. When we were told dinner was provided I was not expecting what we got. Baguettes, croque monsieur, many salad items, meats and WINE. Yes we had wine at dinnertime on the premises of a primary school! After our huge lunch we split into groups to observe a class similar to the ones we’ll be assisting in soon. We got a little involved in the lesson, singing ‘Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes’ to them with actions! The children were so full of energy… it’s a good thing because it shows they are interested but it is so tiring!

The car journey on the way home was weary but very cultured; we had me, an English girl, an Australian girl, a Chilean girl and our responsable the French woman! Obviously speaking in French was necessary because it was the common language but being immersed in it all day brought out my confidence in speaking a bit more than earlier in the morning. As soon as I arrived back home I sorted the documents that I needed into a plastic wallet and then sunk onto my bed, where I still remain. I think weeks of doing nothing and then a sudden rush of energetic children is going to bring my energy levels to a standstill but it’ll all be worth it when I get the rush of satisfaction at the end of it all!

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