Halfway There Folks: Oh,how time flies!

29 Nov

Well folks, it’s finally hit: half of my time here in Strasbourg is done. I’ve only been here for about 2 months or so and already, it’s half over. It doesn’t seem like that long but before I know it, reviewing for finals will start and then, the exams themselves will be at my very own doorstep. Time has been flying!

In the meantime, I’ve already started reviewing for my 5 exams total; I’ve found that my final exam schedule doesn’t seem so awful with only one exception: the Wednesday where I have 5 finals in one day. I’ve got one in the morning and the rest are all in the afternoon. Granted, the afternoon ones are only about an hour long; however, I am not looking forward to 4 straight hours of finals. I feel my brain just might explode. There’s nothing like going from a history essay to analyzing English syntax to two hours of translation. I’m planning on celebrating at the end of the day; there will be a movie and snacking for sure. Any suggestions?

Finals in Strasbourg are run on a different system; depending on the course you are taking, you either take your finals before or after Christmas vacation. I’ve got 4 classes overall, some with multiple parts like a lecture and a recitation, just like Purdue classes. I have a large majority of finals in December and one in January. I have yet to hear that any finals will be “multiple choice”; that’s one difference between here and Purdue. All and I mean ALL finals here are essay format; we get various amounts to write these said essays. As exams approach, you can see the attendance rates in class start to peak. While few students came to class regularly at the beginning of the year, you now see almost everyone there at the end of the semester. You also see some people panicking about getting through reading materials if they haven’t already. The word “examen” has been thrown around into student conversations like none other lately. You also see the libraries at full capacity, just like Hicks does at Purdue.

The January exams are in blocks of 4 hours; they are called “controle continu”. These are the exams for the literature classes. Since I have one literature class, I’m required to take it. While I would have loved to be done with finals by December, I feel it’ll be quite the experience to have a January final. I have to do it so it’ll make me a veteran; that’s the way I see it.

Despite all this academic and perhaps boring blah blah that probably put you to sleep, the GOOD news is that Strasbourg is now in full preparation for the Christmas Market. A Christmas market is very common in Europe; you’ll see them in just about every city. Lucky me, Strasbourg is known to have the largest Christmas market in all France; it must be because of the nearby German influence. The market itself stretches from the Place Kleber to the Place Broglie. Let me tell you, this is no small market. It will take at least two hours to walk through it and see all the stands. The Christmas lights have been hung above the streets and in the trees, and we are seeing posters everywhere. The Christmas markets are known for their various goods ranging from great gifts to food. The markets offer you “heated sweet chestnuts” , just like in the Christmas songs that are now playing on the radio in the US. That hasn’t started here yet, but it’s bound to arrive some time. There is also a selection of warm wines for those who want to warm up despite the cold winter temperatures. Of course, you can’t forget the delicious crepes either.

You’ll find all the fun Christmas objects: Advent calendars, nutcrackers, and MORE. Due to the fact that Christmas is one of my favorite holidays, I’m very much looking forward to it. I know that all this studying will definitely merit an entire afternoon spent at the Christmas market browsing stands for Christmas presents for family and friends.

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