Friday, September 23, 2011

If there were any lingering doubts in my mind that the Belgian school system is totally different than the American one, today I was given definitive proof.  As if the random scheduling and weird building lay-out wasn't enough, grading is completely different here as well.  I got back my first results (from an in-class writing assignment in French and from my countries and capitals of the world quiz in Geography) and was surprised to learn that my 17/30 was a decent score and that my 7/10 was a grade to be envious of.  Additionally, my geography professor read everybody's scores out loud in front of the class rather than handing back the quizzes.  Every time he made some remark about how somebody could have done better or studied more, I couldn't help but think that if this happened in the U.S., he would surely be fired.

The rest of the week was relatively uneventful, although during 5th hour Wednesday, instead of history, I had a lunch for all the new students at the school.  We had sandwiches and juice and filled out surveys saying why we'd come to Liège 1; not terribly exciting, but nice all the same.  I sat with Eduardo and two girls who had moved here from Djibouti.  I impressed them by knowing where Djibouti was (thank you geography quiz) and with my ability to hold a conversation in French: nobody here has very high expectations of Americans.

I finished the week with a trip to the Carré with Cécile and her friends Manon and Justine, as well as her cousin.  I thought it was terribly crowded, but they kept complaining about there being nobody there.  My small-townness always comes out when walking around in Liège, as having lots of people around is something out of the ordinary for me.  Tomorrow though, I visit Karamea and Sofia (other AFSers) in the country (Malmedy), so I'll see if I'll be more at home.  (Hint: no.)

À tout à l'heure!

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