Ironically, I have had little free-time to write anything for this blog for a while. And I know my avid readership cried in despair, waiting in agony for my little name to pop up with another post about my eclectic and wonderful time on my erasmus study placement. And for that, I do apologise…
One thing that you surprisingly don’t hear much about before you do a study placement is the amount of free time you will inevitably have. This is especially the case when studying something like politics. People doing similar courses will agree, we have of course all seen the course booklets “12 hours a week in lectures. 40 hours a week in reading.” Which means, especially for a fresher, “lots and lots of lie ins.” I’m not going to shy away from that fact, subjects in the social sciences really don’t involve a lot of lecture or seminar time, and you will eventually learn that the reading is incredibly important, however, on a study placement, you find that you free time is frequent.
At sciences po anyway, the workload isn’t anything compared to the masters students or even the french undergrad students either. This equates to a heap of free-time with which you have a free reign to think about all the things you could do while you lie in bed becoming a lazy slob… UNLESS you follow my advice.
Find a hobby! Find more than one in fact. In my case, the Braderie of Lille, the biggest flea market in Europe, pulled on my hipster heartstrings and eventually I bought two old, manual cameras on the cheap. I had absolutely no idea how to handle them or whether they indeed worked! Yet, through sheer perseverance, free-time and a useful tool called the internet, I developed a real love for 35mm film photography and I now take my two new-er film cameras EVERYWHERE.
But what I’m trying to say is, it is important to practice the cliché of expanding your horizons. But this isn’t only in terms of integrating into a new country, culture and language, but also in developing yourself, your interests and your hobbies. This helps cure the boredom that not only occurs on a study placement, but in the day-to-day life back at home. I’m happy about my placement because of the people I met and the things I did, and too of how I integrated. But I’m also extremely happy that I developed a new love for something like photography and it has helped in more ways than I originally thought.
Either way, find a hobby. You will have a lot of free time on a study placement and this time is important. University work can also cause stress and you need this time. However, without a hobby or some way of spending this time on you or in a positive way, boredom is only going to add to this stress.
Also, have some pictures from my 35mm cameras. Because why not?