Between Scheduling Chaos and Sports Courses
Letter from Saint-Denis: Elias Aguigah has been enjoying diving, futsal, and cycling to recover from a constantly changing weekly schedule.
Feb 12, 2020
My first two letters might have conveyed the impression that my Erasmus semester consisted only of beach, mountains, and fun. Even if this impression is not entirely wrong, I also spent a lot of time at the university.
The beginning of the semester was extremely chaotic. In addition to countless forms to fill out and very short notice given of important dates, it turned out that the timetables change every week. This is not a problem for local students, as everyone in a school year group has the same a timetable, similar to that at school. But for us Erasmus students who were able to choose their courses more or less freely, this regularly led to scheduling conflicts.
I also really had to get used to the teaching methods here. Even in the social sciences, there is a lot of lecture-style teaching: for each course there is a lecture (up to three hours) and a sort of tutorial with the professor, where the lecture content is gone into more deeply, but is not discussed. In Berlin I was used to a lot of dialogue and reflection, so at first it was difficult for me to get anything out of the courses.
That is another reason why my focus shifted a little more toward exploring this spectacular island. But during the exams, I realized that I had attended some interesting classes: The Creole language course in particular made it easier for me to approach Reunion cultures.
As part of the university, an impressive range of sports has taken up a huge part of my everyday life. I was not only able to participate in futsal, dancehall, and beach volleyball for free – there are also special offers of natural sports such as diving, mountain biking, canyoning, kayaking, and sailing, each for a maximum of ten euros.
The university gave me opportunities to do great things that I was never interested in doing before, like taking a dance class or getting a diving license. For that alone my stay, which felt short in the end, was very worthwhile.