Monday, December 24, 2007

Greetings from Nijmegen

Hi everyone!

Here are some news from Nijmegen, the oldest city of The Netherlands. It is a peaceful town with pedestrianized streets. On Mondays and Saturdays there is a market in the city centre. It is also the city of Mariken van Nieumeghen and the devil Moenen, whom I saw the statues ( see Mrs Leijnse's course in BAC 1...). Also, I visited Sint Stevenskerk, the most famous building of Nijmegen. In 1944 the city was bombed. Consequently, the church got badly damaged and, unfortunately, the paintings on the stained-glass windows could not be restored. Actually, I had a room in Lent, which is separated from Nijmegen by De Waal. Getting a room was easy, since it was the university which saw to it for us. It took me about half an hour by bike to go to the university ( maybe more when the wind was blowing...). Fortunately, everything is designed for riding bikes: traffic lights, roads, roundabouts and, crossing De Waal, there is a 'car bridge' and a ' bike bridge'! I shared my flat with three other Erasmus students: a Spanish boy, a Spanish girl and an American boy. There were very nice people and I wish we had spent more time together. The problem was we had very different schedules and different subjects (respectively, computer science, psychology, law and Germanic languages).
Concerning food, I tried some Dutch specialities: pancakes ( with cheese, bacon or ananas...), vlaai and the delicious boerenappeltaart. From October until the 6th of December there were also lots of sweets in relation with Sinterklaas, which is really a big deal in The Netherlands.
With respect to my classes, I took the following ones: American Popular Culture, Psycholinguistiek ( my only class in Dutch; the others were in English), English as a World Language ( which can be described as the sequel of the book we read in BAC 2: The English Language. An Historical Introduction. by Charles Barber), Feminist Classics ( a literature course on feminist writers like Virginia Woolf or Luce Irigaray) and Visual Culture ( a course in which we discussed ads, movies and fashion shows). My Feminist Classics class ended on the first of November and my Visual Culture course started on the sixth of November. All my classes ended in December and my exams were in January, except for Feminist Classics and the first part of Psycholinguistiek. All my exams were take-home ones except for English as a World Language, which was a short group presentation ( mine was on the language issue in Quebec) and Psycholinguistiek, for which it was a written exam, but without any help from course notes...
At the end of August I took part in the "Introduction week'', which was fun and useful to get around in Nijmegen and meet the other Erasmus students. It was organised by ISN (International Student Network Nijmegen). We had lots of parties and some excursions: I went to Texel Island, where we cycled all day across the isle; and to Amsterdam.
The only thing I regret about my stay is the fact I did not have much opportunity to practice my Dutch a great deal. But I had TV and free newspapers to keep in touch with the language... Anyway, I practiced my English and used my French ;-) and I was very happy to meet students from different countries ( mainly from Spain, Germany, France and Poland). I definitely enjoyed every moment of my stay and I will remember it as one of the best time of my life.

I wish you all a very happy New Year. ( Sorry for the delay)

See you soon!


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