My first week in Grenoble has been eventful and involved lots of queuing in various lines, drinking copious amounts of water and sweating in the blistering +30 degrees heat as well as running from one ERASMUS gathering to the next.
I arrived bright and early at a.m. and was kindly welcomed at the station by two lovely French people I had only corresponded with online (Yay AIESEC Grenoble!). After driving around in the early hours of the morning we managed to find a baker who was kind enough to sell us some brioche despite his bakery not opening for another hour.
Once I finally made it to the dorms I was lucky enough to be greeted by a lady who let me sign in despite being two hours early. I got to my tiny 12m2 room, opened the blinds and promptly took a nap and awoke to see the mountains from my window. I made my way onto campus to acquire a tram card and a bank account, both of which went much more smoothly than anticipated.
It was the university administration that taught me more about the famous French bureaucracy. Who knew you would need to many passport pictures! Every document I’ve signed so far has required at least one.
The French bureaucracy is hard enough to come to terms with when operating at 100%, but nearly impossible to deal with hangover, as my experience signing up for courses has taught me. Everything is done by signing your name on a paper, something completely foreign for me who has been used to the luxury online sign-ups we have in Finland. Luckily once I’ve blundered through this step of looking up course timetables on paper I’ll be able to fly through it next semester.
I was able to start some of my courses already and so far they seem very interesting. The horror stories about professors speaking at the speed of light were, at least in my case, purely fiction and I can follow along quite well.
I also like how the UGA campus is like a little city with it’s own restaurants, bank, postal office and various cafés. Despite getting lost constantly, I do think it is one of my favorite things here second only to being surrounded by the three big mountain ranges, la Belledonne, la Chartreuse and le Vercors.
The end of the week was spent wandering around town eating ice cream, finding free WiFi and getting to know the city whilst trying to stay mostly away from the sun.
Stay tuned for my adventures in Lyon!