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 Mar 07, 2017 9:02 pm

Cavesa wrote: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.


Wtf? This is nuts! I am so over this kind of BS. I despise the EU, globalism, multinatoinal companies, free trade. Back to France- There is such a prevalent attitude in English speaking cultures of the French being arrogant, which includes being reluctant to speak English. It's so much more arrogant to expect everyone to speak English in their own countries, yet now it's perfectly normal given how much English has spread! In France today English has spread, but I say bravo for resisting and if only that continued everywhere! I'm so over this globalised world. On the grand scale, it is completely disrespectful of the environment, culture and people. It cares for nothing but money control over people and uses us to self-promote. Uggghhhh
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Re: the Diaries of a Caffeinated Squirrel

Postby blaurebell » Wed Mar 08, 2017 10:33 am

Cavesa wrote: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.


This is so strange for me to read, because my life would be totally different right now if my own German university had let me do Erasmus in Italy testing only at A2! At my university you had to test at B1 to be allowed to go. And they messed up themselves because I couldn't get into the language course that would have allowed me to even take the B1 test. Equally idiotic since I probably would have reached B2 before going with a language as easy as Italian.
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DaveBee
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Re: the Diaries of a Caffeinated Squirrel

Postby DaveBee » Wed Mar 08, 2017 10:44 am

PeterMollenburg wrote:...yet now it's perfectly normal given how much English has spread! In France today English has spread,
I was watching a french TV series the other day where as part of the story they wanted to phone a museum in Poland: "It'll be OK, we'll speak english!"

(the poles couldn't understand their accented english, and they ended up getting a local polish plumber to make the call for them :-) )
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Cavesa
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Re: the Diaries of a Caffeinated Squirrel

Postby Cavesa » Thu Mar 09, 2017 4:46 pm

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


The thought has already crossed my mind. I have a few ideas, that have been taking space in my brain for years. But when considering finally learning to write stories (not talking about career here :-D ), I get stuck at the first question: in which langauge to write? I just know that not in Czech. English or French? I write better in English but that could change with a lot of work. :-D

...........
I wrote a good post and it got erased, due to internet troubles. The "internet" part or my merry "coffee, internet, and antibiotics" motto was a bit premature.

Of course it was the best post ever. Every tragically lost post looks that way in memory :-D

It was focused on PM's questions. Let's dig in my memory a bit:

1.the langauge test: the name OLS language assessment or whatever won't help you. It is accessible only to Erasmus students, only in the language they are studying in during their stay, and only twice. At the beginning and at the end.

2.Bordeaux.
I had visited Bordeaux before. Once. A very good impression but of course I had no idea I'd spend half a year there. I was worried about Bordeaux being a rather small town. Fortunately, all the wiki and similar sources of information are not too correct. There are plenty towns/villages, that are officially not part of Bordeaux (and therefore not counted in), but de facto are part of Bordeaux. And those change everything. More population, the towns are still at the tram or bus, they make one city with "proper" Bordeaux in the center. You don't usually notice the end of one and beginning of other.

It has won some popularity contests and is called the best place in France for living. So, it might suffice to me one day :-D :-D :-D
Public transport is ok. If you like to ride a bike, Bordeaux is ideal, exactly for the reasons why Prague is not and all those attempts to make it an alternative to cars here are foolish. Parking is a bit harder but not that bad. Finding a house or a flat is not easy and the prices are high. Not as high as in Paris, that is an extreme, but twice as high as in Nancy or Orleans. Very good healthcare (for examply cardiology is full of patients even from Paris, who choose Bordeaux instead), plenty schools (can't talk about quality as I know nothing about it), beautiful libraries, lots of culture, the city is quite clean. One hour from the seaside (both by car and by train/bus). No TGV for now, but it is being built.

3.Important languages in healthcare: excellent question, especially as your guess is wrong and so would have been mine months ago. :-)

Number 1 is Arabic. In particular Moroccan and Algerian, than the rest. Younger people are usually bilingual or French+heritage passive Arabic. Older patients are sometimes monolingual and that can be a trouble. You need to communicate with them even when there is noone visiting, especially as a nurse. Other languages of former colonies are not too important, their natives are usually bilingual (or tri or even more). Actually, I am considering learning Arabic, should I happen to get a job in France. It is partially a sad thought, but a realistic one. No matter what happens with the whole european immigrant problem, France is different and has different ties to the countries. I am convinced the langauge problem will be solved in the next ten or fifteen years, with the generation exchange. But until then, it is a bit hard to count on heritage speakers being numerous enough among the healthcare staff.

Number 2 is English, with a catch. I've seen it needed twice and always with Germans. And Germans are not that rare in France (and I was in Bordeaux, which is as far from the borders as you can get). So how comes that the Germans and the French are not learning each other's languages? I understand why they are not learning Czech or Swedish, but they have each other as a neighbour. Nope, instead a doctor uses bad English with a patient talking bad English. How on earth does informed consent and patient compliance work under such conditions? Really, I think this is shameful. I haven't seen any English monolingual patient during my six months in Bordeaux. Whole Europe should open the eyes and stop pretending English is the saviour of our language situation. Nope, it is often rather the parasite. Governments fuel the whole ESL business, so that we are all less equiped for the language barriers we are actually facing, what a wise decision. French medecine students can sign up for medical English classes. But unless I really overlooked something, nothing else is being offered. But I think one of the reasons is the same as in the Czech Republic: both countries are afraid of people leaving for better paying Germany en masse.

Number 3 could be Spanish, but again, there is a catch. I have met a monolingual Spanish cleaning lady, who was glad I could just switch for her. So there are some monolingual immigrants from european countries and they get ill sometimes, I suppose. But vast majority of all those immigrants or people with Spanish or Italian roots speak French. From people my age (not counting Erasmus students, but people who have moved for long term studies or work) up to people who have arrived fourty years ago. I can therefore imagine Italian or Spanish being useful a few times per decade, but not much more. I already talked about German. Other than that, I heard about the Polish immigrant communitites, but I suppose they are more noticeable in other regions than in the south, as I haven't met anyone. I have met a Russian immigrant, who spoke perfect French, and I suppose the same will be true about people of various native languages, who simply didn't fall for the English trap.
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Cavesa
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Re: the Diaries of a Caffeinated Squirrel

Postby Cavesa » Thu Mar 09, 2017 5:22 pm

PeterMollenburg wrote:
Cavesa wrote: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.


Wtf? This is nuts! I am so over this kind of BS. I despise the EU, globalism, multinatoinal companies, free trade. Back to France- There is such a prevalent attitude in English speaking cultures of the French being arrogant, which includes being reluctant to speak English. It's so much more arrogant to expect everyone to speak English in their own countries, yet now it's perfectly normal given how much English has spread! In France today English has spread, but I say bravo for resisting and if only that continued everywhere! I'm so over this globalised world. On the grand scale, it is completely disrespectful of the environment, culture and people. It cares for nothing but money control over people and uses us to self-promote. Uggghhhh


Ok, I hope we end it here, as politics should be discussed on another platform (and I'd be happy to have a beer with you).

But I love EU, despite the many faults it has got now. It is a long term project and we are still at the beginning. But EU is the reason why I may even consider future in France or another country I want. Without the EU, the Czech Republic would be considered just some worthless eastern dustbin (and we are not that far from the idea even now, when it comes to majority of the western european population. Their education has holes, but we are paying the consequences of their prejudices). EU is a luxury. EU is the reason why noone can officially tell me "But aren't you still using just charms and blood draining, in Czechoslovakia? You cannot considering coming here as a doctor." One medecine student said something like this. Without EU, everyone would say so.

Things are slowly changing. We will have the one market one day. Already delivery fees and similar stuff are being improved. Perhaps in a few years, EU will finally ban double quality standards for food so no company will sell (for the same price and with the same label) good quality stuff to Germany and crap to the Czech Republic. Ecologic standards are improving, healthcare,... everything. No offence meant, but I think you are looking at it from a totally twisted perspective, coming from your nationality priviledge. We, in the second rate countries, are profiting from EU enormously. EU is as well the safety net, when our local politics goes crazy and corrupt to some extent.

EU is a great project. And language wise, I suppose people WILL realize the need for more languages than just English. The reality will push us all. In past, they could have belived "everyone will know English in 20 years", but now we have got empirical evidence.

Yes, we can and should criticise EU. Just like everything else in the world. But to make it better, not to destroy it.
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Re: the Diaries of a Caffeinated Squirrel

Postby DaveBee » Thu Mar 09, 2017 7:42 pm

Cavesa wrote:Number 1 is Arabic. In particular Moroccan and Algerian, than the rest. Younger people are usually bilingual or French+heritage passive Arabic. Older patients are sometimes monolingual and that can be a trouble. You need to communicate with them even when there is noone visiting, especially as a nurse. Other languages of former colonies are not too important, their natives are usually bilingual (or tri or even more).
I listen to a recipe phone in programme on France Bleu:Paris now and again. North african recipes come up, from the callers, quite often
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PeterMollenburg
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Re: the Diaries of a Caffeinated Squirrel

Postby PeterMollenburg » Fri Mar 17, 2017 12:18 pm

Thank you for your detailed responses Cavesa :)
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Cavesa
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Re: the Diaries of a Caffeinated Squirrel

Postby Cavesa » Sun Mar 19, 2017 1:29 pm

You're welcome.

Reporting another week of nothing :-( Life got seriously in the way. This was one of the two or three weeks per year, when my family leaves for a holiday and I get therefore a ton of stuff to take care of everyday. It is so sad to see my "progress" this year. I feel like giving up on all my goals. I cannot. Because that would ruin my future. But I totally don't feel motivated, looking at my lack ofprogress, lack of time to put into all the stuff.
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Cavesa
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Re: the Diaries of a Caffeinated Squirrel

Postby Cavesa » Mon Mar 20, 2017 4:28 am

This week has already started well!

Spanish:
GdUdE: unit 77 beat the hell out of me. My confidence has been suffering a lot during the subjuntivo units of this book. And there is still one more subjuntivo tense waiting for me. I obviously need much more studying, to master this whole chaos.

So, I have opened the second volumes of my Czech based courses. They have tons of exercises of different kinds from the GdU, different explanations. And more importantly: different pace. Both Fiesta 2 (B1/B2 course) and Učebnice současné španělštiny 2 (claims to lead up to C1/C2), yeah sure) are diving into subjuntivo over the course of many lessons, perhaps all of them. I am in the middle of Lección primera of Fiesta 2.

I have been neglecting coursebooks for far too long. These holes in my knowledge are a problem. I have very little trouble with subjuntivo presente. Or rather: I used to have very little trouble with it. Now, all those tenses are dancing merrily around me and I get lost in the exercises.

Apart from that, I am immediately going back to the memrise verb courses. I have forgotten some of the conjugations a bit. And I hate subjuntivo imperfecto :-D This is something quite easily fixable, I just need to put the time into the drills.

I watched more Aguila Roja last week, as I had no time and energy for studying languages. Now, all my Spanish time will be put to courses (as I need to get through them pretty fast) and books (to lesser extent). Gonzalo, Lucretia, and everyone else can wait (Margarita is being pretty annoying to watch btw. Fortunately, there are many characters and storylines to follow). And Gonzalo is probably a polyglot. Chinese, now Russian, surely Latin and I think French. What comes next? :-)
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Re: the Diaries of a Caffeinated Squirrel

Postby Xmmm » Mon Mar 20, 2017 5:07 am

Cavesa wrote:Yes, we can and should criticise EU. Just like everything else in the world. But to make it better, not to destroy it.


Bad things -- fundamentally bad things -- need to be destroyed, though. The EU has been called the Fourth Reich by many (at least, many in the US and the UK), and not without reason. I've been watching the EU since its currency was called the Ecu (pronounced 'ekyu'), and Germany does seem to call all the shots.

Little countries like the Czech Republic are trading their birthright (language, culture, history) for a mass-produced bowl of porridge. Instead of trying to become a widget in the EU machine, they should look to the examples of Iceland and Switzerland. Don't sell out your heritage to get a discount on a flat screen TV, for crying out loud.
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