Monday, 9 November 2015

Living in Leuven: Week 8 | Academic Worries & Strange Encounters


As mentioned in my previous blog post, I arrived back in Leuven on Sunday with a dreadful cold. Thankfully, it was a public holiday in Belgium on Monday, so I took full advantage of this and managed to rest my voice and recover for the day. On Tuesday, I caught up with all my chores (washing, food shop) and by the time I had human contact again in my Criminal Law class later in the day, my voice had almost fully returned!

Margarethaplein, Leuven

If you're looking for an interesting blog post, this week probably won't live up to your expectations. It's been a week full of meeting new people, going out with my friends and catching up with University work, so I apologise in advance. 

I FINALLY caved in and bought 70 Euros worth of law books I have needed for my studies. I have been putting it off for so long and I feel quite relieved now I can start looking over cases and materials at home.

The only worry I have here, is my lack of enthusiasm to actually study. Back in Edinburgh, our academic year consisted of 50 minute lectures and a 50 minute tutorial to go along with that lecture later on in the week. This way, I felt almost obliged to study in the library before the tutorial, avoiding the fear of being picked on by the tutor and not knowing any of the answers to the assigned problem questions.

Politiebureau, Leuven

In Leuven, I have a 2 hour lecture for each of my subjects weekly and I'm surprisingly missing the smaller classroom environment. In addition, it actually makes it extremely hard to concentrate and stay motivated. Two hours is a LONG time to be sitting in one place constantly focusing on what the lecturer is saying. I find myself slowly drifting into a daydream after the first hour. Due to no tutorials here, I'm also ashamed to admit I haven't done ANY studying at home whatsoever. I somehow think I can get away with doing everything apart from University work whilst I'm here - which is completely wrong - I'll end up getting a huge shock when I return home at Christmas and I have just over 3 weeks to revise for my exams. I am here to study after all!

In my defence, the courses here aren't so challenging. I'm studying European constitutional law, which I've studied the bulk of in the European Union Law course I took in my second year at Uni. It's quite frustrating seeing familiar cases appear on my Professor's power point slides week after week. I'm definitely getting quite worried about my dissertation in 4th year, as the topic for this is to be based on a subject I'm studying here in Leuven. I feel quite stuck. Do any other Erasmusers feel the same?


Academic worries aside, Wednesday was a strange day. After my Criminal Law class, I picked up my law books from University and struggled along Muntstraat with them under my arm. A young man ran after me, asked if I spoke English then proceeded to tell me I was really beautiful. I haven't ever been approached and complimented by a stranger of the opposite sex in my entire LIFE, so I was a bit taken aback. I was confused and asked if he wanted my number (logical question?), to which he said no and that he only wanted to walk me where I was going(?!).

At this point, I was VERY confused, but kept my head held high and was polite to him as we walked along the length of Munstraat. At the end of the street, I made a panic excuse of having to meet a friend in the Tea Room on Naamsestraat and felt quite thankful for the #SOS tea I had there that afternoon. The guy was nice enough, but the whole scenario was a little bit bizarre.

De Fiere Margriet

On Thursday, I had a Human Rights lecture in the afternoon. This lecture is actually notorious amongst us students as being super boring and unstructured, so my friend actually left me on my own halfway through, thinking nothing exciting would happen after the break. We, in fact, had a group of topless men run into our lecture theatre and throw spaghetti at us! Apparently, it's not uncommon for strange events like this to occur here, my lecturer even said a student brought a goat to the lecture once (not sure if I missed the joke, or if he was being serious!).

I met my friend after the lecture and made us dinner back at Waterview. If there's ever a visitor round, I always take them up to the rooftop of the residence. It's really easily accessible and, in my opinion, holds the best view of Leuven and beyond.

Afterwards, we met our other friends and went to De Fiere Margriet, followed by some bars on Oude Markt, for a couple of drinks.

Vaartstraat, Leuven

On Friday, I woke up to the news that the supermarket next door, Albert Heijn, had been raided by armed robbers. I have the Leuven News saved as a bookmark on my browser, so I'm regularly checking it, and the crime reports seems to be more frequent nowadays. It's certainly scary stuff! I've heard of a few armed attacks on young women, so I now make sure I'm not carrying more cash than I need for the day when I go out.

Ferdinand Smoldersplein, Leuven

Friday consisted of another Human Rights lecture in the afternoon, then I went out for a lovely dinner at Restaurant d'Entreprise on Naamsestraat. Afterwards, I walked back to Waterview for a quick change then headed off to the ESN 90's Party. Because I was born halfway through the 90's, I wasn't fully aware of what attire to wear, so I opted for my black disco pants, a crop top and my denim shirt tied at the waist.

The party was in Fuifzaal Albatros on Brusselsestraat, which was an OK venue, but became very over-crowded very quickly. As the ESN party a fortnight ago was full at midnight, we decided to arrive at 11pm and were actually the first ones to show up. The music was pretty dreadful and we were thinking of leaving at 1am, until they changed the DJ who finally put the 90's music on! We were out until 3am and I somehow didn't manage to sleep until 5am, so I had a well-deserved lie in on Saturday.

College du Luxembourg, Leuven

On Saturday I went for coffee with someone who turned out to be in my Constitutional Law class AND had sat in front of me on the coach to Luxembourg, without us batting an eyelash at each other! It's a small world - especially here in Leuven.

Afterwards, I met my friend for pizza at Quo Vadis on Muntstraat. I need to stop spending so much money on eating meals and having coffee's out. It definitely adds up after a while!

Vaartkom, Leuven

I spent my Sunday relaxing and catching up with British TV before skyping my Mum for a long catch up. 

I've realised I haven't visited the Museum, the town hall or the Cathedral in Leuven, so I've decided to change that and be a tourist in my own city next week. It's Armistice Day on Wednesday and a University holiday, so I'll probably end up doing something exciting mid-week too. On top of that, I'm going to Bruges with ESN on Saturday! I've been to Bruges twice before, but only for a quick stop on the town square, so I'm excited to have a proper look around this time. Next week's post should be a good one!
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