the Diaries of a Caffeinated Squirrel

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PeterMollenburg
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Re: the Diaries of a Caffeinated Squirrel

Postby PeterMollenburg » Tue Feb 28, 2017 7:27 am

Cavesa wrote:-1st March, 00:16

It is so said. In nine hours, my last day in the CHU Bordeaux begins. I will try not to create a monster post. But I might fail. You've been warned.


That went quick! What are your thoughts about Bordeaux itself? I spent a number of days there 6 years ago now, and was pleasantly surprised (I had a pre-conceived notion that it wasn't going to impress me).

Cavesa wrote:1.My language "progress". I have just finished the final language assessment online. I have already described the test, it is probably the best online level test available.


Sorry, you've stated that you've already described it, but what is it called is all i'm after?

Cavesa wrote:My results haven't changed much. Reading comprehension+ Listening comprehension+Vocabulary are still C2, no change. Grammar is still B2. It is sad, but true, and it is no surprise.

Still a good result, despite no movement, well done!

Cavesa wrote:4.Yes, I would definitely love to do the internship here. I am leaving France with tons of The Huge Exam preparatory books and will work on this goal. My chances are not high, I know. If I end in the last third in this horror race (highly probable), there will be only places for generalists left and I definitely don't want to do that, I am not the type, I wouldn't be good at it, and I wouldn't be happy doing it. And it will depend a lot on my boyfriend too. He doesn't speak French...yet. Today, a classmate complimented me, that I was "as good as them", well it pleased me (a lot) but I still know my limits very well.

Good luck! I hope you're pleasantly surprised in the end.

Cavesa wrote:It is sad to leave. Fortunately, there is my boyfriend waiting in Prague. He is really exceptional. If going through this and supporting me isn't a real proof of love, I don't know what is. My friends are there. It was great to read a message "we are looking forward to your return". It pleased me a lot. My family. My family's dog! I skyped with my dad almost every day, but skyping with a dog is of limited value.

:)

I had a couple of quick questions. Thanks for sharing all of youre expriences btw Cavesa.

1. I know this will different for different cities in France, but during your interaction with patients, after French, which were the languages most in need of for communicating? English is my guess followed by German and Arabic potentially. Of course that's a wild guess, and I'd imagine most Germans would likely to resort to English anyway. Or was there little contact with other languages in terms of hospitalized patients?

I ask that question simply as I wonder with my nursing background, in a hypothetical world where I could potentially be involved in translating, what language(s) would be most useful, if any? (within France that is, and well, drawing on your specific exprience(s), in Bordeaux.

2. You said you have hated medecine for the most part. Without boring yourself to tears writing a response or going over old ground or opening some kind of can of worms, can you summarise briefly why you've despised it so much?

Kind regards, Monsieur le PM
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Re: the Diaries of a Caffeinated Squirrel

Postby Elenia » Tue Feb 28, 2017 3:59 pm

Good luck with moving back, Cavesa. Even if it didn't all go how you wanted, I'm glad you got to experience Erasmus. Like you, I think everyone can get something out of it (even people like me, who mostly partied :lol: I came back with much better listening skills and also more confidence in myself both in French and in my daily life. Even if I did hate French after Erasmus, I'd still go again and again if I had to redo that year).

In response to your question
Cavesa wrote:But I still would expect more from myself. After all, what else must I do, if spending 6 months in the country doesn't seem to leave impact on the language skills? :-D


Well, how about spending a year and more there with no overload of stress or pressure, no illness, only pursuing the things that you enjoy most? I feel like you know this already, but I think you're too harsh on yourself! You make amazing progress in spite of everything, and I think that's amazing. So well done to you!
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Re: the Diaries of a Caffeinated Squirrel

Postby vogeltje » Tue Feb 28, 2017 10:04 pm

wow, it's amazing what you've done I think.

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Re: the Diaries of a Caffeinated Squirrel

Postby Xenops » Wed Mar 01, 2017 2:20 am

I'm so glad you enjoyed medicine again, even for just a short time...Hopefully this will keep you going long enough to survive through the trenches until you finish. I am curious, like PM, what maintained your fascination with medicine all of this time; but then I read your comments about neurology, and that's a love only biology nerds can appreciate. I'll pray that you'll have an easier time when you get back "home".
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Re: the Diaries of a Caffeinated Squirrel

Postby tiia » Wed Mar 01, 2017 10:25 am

I hope you're getting home alright.

A lot of what you're saying reminds me of my own Erasmus experience. I did some stuff with other Erasmus students, but most of the time there were also Finns around. The people I kept contact with were mostly Finns or foreigners, who actually learned the language to a high level. I think from the Erasmus students of that year there were only very few* that didn't start with a beginner's Finnish course (if they've gotten into any course at all). Many people go there because they want to improve their English.
I have absolutely no idea how that should work, when you'd be supposed to actually talk to patients without sufficient skills of the local language. When I visited the hospital, I could notice that some people working there seemed not to be too happy that I preferred English. But the (stressed) situation + Finnish language would have been too much for me. But even my English lacked 2-3 words. The paper with all the information about me and my symptoms was written in Finnish and I used it to learn some of the words. Showing this paper helped a lot not having to explain everything all over again, when they sent me from one place to another.

*I only know for sure of one half-Finn and me.

On the other hand I do understand that Finland or some other countries with less spread languages are often not the first choice for Erasmus students. When you only start with the language as soon as you get your placement you probably won't be able to use the language when you arrive.
Btw. the incomings in Germany often speak German more or less. Many of them speak it really well, but some don't speak it at all, especially when they study some English master programme here. But surprisingly we also get exchange students that only speak German, but (nearly) no English.

Knowing the local language really openend some doors. When people feel like they don't have to translate everything for you, you are more likely to actually hang around with locals or get some recommendations how to keep your hobbies going, although my language level was not completely sufficient and sometimes people were not sure what language to use with me. But at least they knew that I wasn't completely lost without any English spoken.

It's good to see you've got some motivation for your studies from your time in France. I remember that I nearly only kept going with my studies to finally go abroad and came back with a lot of motivation. I knew again why I was studying what I'm studying.
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Re: the Diaries of a Caffeinated Squirrel

Postby Allison » Wed Mar 01, 2017 5:15 pm

Cavesa wrote:1.I've just finished a Spanish vocabulary test I hadn't seen before:
https://www.arealme.com/spanish-vocabul ... e-test/es/

it is based on finding synonymes and antonymes. Have you seen it before?What do you think about it? What results did you get? Do you think it reflects the reality well? My result is suspiciously good. There must be a catch :-D

Tu nivel de vocabulario de español es:
18600
★★★ El mejor 4.67%
¡Tu vocabulario es igual al de un exitoso hombre de negocios español de 30 años!



I took this and got that I'm a 10 year old child:
Tu nivel de vocabulario de español es:
7800
★★ El mejor 40.63%
¡Tu vocabulario parece el de un niño de 10 años!

I wish I could say I should have done better than that, but I believe it.

I hope your trip home is going well/has gone well, and that you're enjoying your welcome home from your loved ones, including that dog!
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Re: the Diaries of a Caffeinated Squirrel

Postby Cavesa » Mon Mar 06, 2017 9:29 am

Thanks for all the kind responses, friends. I'll answer as soon as I have the internet connection again.

I am safely back in Prague. And guess what is the best first activity here? Going to the doctor with fever and other nice symptomes. The north hates me. And the idea there are places much futher to the north than central Europe is scary. :-D

Btw my German is a disaster.
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Re: the Diaries of a Caffeinated Squirrel

Postby Tomás » Mon Mar 06, 2017 3:38 pm

Did the dog do an uncommonly expressive dance of joy upon your return, or had he not noticed your absence?
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Re: the Diaries of a Caffeinated Squirrel

Postby Cavesa » Tue Mar 07, 2017 6:03 pm

Sex, Drugs, and Rock and Roll? How about Coffee, Internet, and Antibiotics? :-D

Any dance of joy appears uncommonly expressive, when the dog in question weights approximately 60kg ;-)
....
The Spanish vocab test is a mystery. I wish it was reliable, but I m far too realistic to belive that.
...
Tiia, I agree about the weirdness of "I want to improve my English" attitude not taking into account basic geography. A few years ago, my student exchange stay in Spain seemed to be similar. A French girl refused to talk in French "I am not here to speak in French", but her Spanish was even worse than mine. Obviously, we were supposed to practice English :-D But the international organisation organising the exchanges is partially to blame (it is not erasmus). Everyone fills up an English test as the language requirement. After the test,they count your test points + activities for the organisation points. Then you get to know whether you are going anywhere at all and eventually the country. Who cares that vast majority of Spanish patients doesn't speak English, especially in a stressful situation full of pain.

Finland is "benefiting" from the great reputation "Everyone in scandinavia speaks English, they are awesome!". That's one of the reasons why it is so popular among students. I totally understand that the time between knowing you are going for an Erasmus there and actually going is too short to get B1. But I would naively expect people to plan at least a year in advance, to make their choices a bit more targetted. Finnish may be a bit of an extreme example. But why do people willingly forget their highschool German/French/Spanish, let it rot for three or four years, and then panic before Erasmus?

On the other hand I do understand that Finland or some other countries with less spread languages are often not the first choice for Erasmus students. When you only start with the language as soon as you get your placement you probably won't be able to use the language when you arrive.
Btw. the incomings in Germany often speak German more or less. Many of them speak it really well, but some don't speak it at all, especially when they study some English master programme here. But surprisingly we also get exchange students that only speak German, but (nearly) no English.

It may be true in general, but not necessarily. At my faculty, the scandinavian countries are the most in demand. I knew I had no chance applying there, my grades were nowhere near awesome. Actually, Greece is quite a popular first choice too. Not only because of the holiday aspect of it. But there are surprisingly numerous ties between Czechs and Greeks. Mixed couples (one of my classmates went there to be closer to her boyfriend), or there are Czechs with Greek heritage (the immigrant minority came approximately at the same time as the yugoslavs and a few others. Small minorities in number, but appreciated in our society). But you are right, countries like Hungary or Poland are definitely not a popular first choice and the language is one of the reasons.

Knowing the local language really openend some doors. When people feel like they don't have to translate everything for you, you are more likely to actually hang around with locals or get some recommendations how to keep your hobbies going, although my language level was not completely sufficient and sometimes people were not sure what language to use with me. But at least they knew that I wasn't completely lost without any English spoken.

It's good to see you've got some motivation for your studies from your time in France. I remember that I nearly only kept going with my studies to finally go abroad and came back with a lot of motivation. I knew again why I was studying what I'm studying.


Yes! Why would anyone willingly pass on such an opportunity?

I hope the motivation will keep me going till summer, then I'll need a nice summer somewhere in hospital, perhaps in Germany, or France, or Austria. My awesome boyfriend gave me a limit of two months. But I am not in a hurry to leave him again.

Xenops, PM, I "decided" to study medicine for a lot of wrong reasons. Too personal to write here. Sad, wrong, stupid reasons that stopped being motivating some time ago. What kept me going? I am stubborn. And too proud to swallow such a failure as not finishing my studies. :-D And the Sunk Cost Falacy. A nice economical term, a situation in which you know you cannot gain much anymore, but you keep paying in order not to lose all your investment. That is actually quite a common reason not to give up. Medical faculties count on that, that's why medicine in Europe is usually not divided in BA and MA equivalents. My guess: Had we gotten a BA after the first three years, one third of students would at least seriously consider quitting.

The situation in the Czech Republic is not helping. When you are entering the faculty, you believe things will change, six years seem like eternity. But with every passing year, you realize nothing is changing at all. And you feel more and more like wasting your youth to serve ungrateful slavers, who do not care about their health, or yours, at all.

Yes, I had been enjoying medicine at times. Everytime I got my hands on something practical. Labs. Dissections. Patients. But the prevailing czech way of teaching (ok, it is similar in Italy and Spain, from what I've heard), the alibism of my faculty (they are now talking a lot about practical teaching. talking. and talking. and always fidnign a way to at least partially blame the students), that can suck out the joy out of most subjects. This is what I loved about France and what I am afraid to lose again.
.....
VOGELTJE THANKS! SQUIRREL PARTY is a great idea!

Elenia, thanks for your encouragement. You are right that I would probably do better, had the conditions been ideal. But they never are, life is simply not like that. One more reason to read fiction :-) Btw I probably sounded too mean towards the more partying erasmus people, didn't I? sorry, about that...
.....
PM-too much to write, see the next post
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Re: the Diaries of a Caffeinated Squirrel

Postby Elenia » Tue Mar 07, 2017 7:43 pm

Cavesa wrote:Btw I probably sounded too mean towards the more partying erasmus people, didn't I? sorry, about that


I just thought that you could probably carve a great career writing medical-based science fiction. I would love to read that!

And I didn't take offence, don't worry :) I think I would definitely try harder to speak to natives on my year abroad if I were going again (and something I will be doing in Sweden hopefully!) but I would not give up the friends I made or the parties I went to for the world. I actually did a lot less partying and travelling than others, though, and I had some extremely diligent friends. We took advantage of being in situ more than others might have done. I was also lucky enough to be studying something significantly easier than medicine!
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