“Where’s the Oven?”

This has got to be one of the first things any year abroad student must think when they arrive in their accommodation.

Before I go any further I’ll show you what I’m dealing with…


Just for the record, I didn’t create that mess!

Anyway, I thought I’d best give any future year abroad students who, like me, were totally unprepared for this! I’m still in shock and don’t have a clue what to cook as whatever I eat at home usually requires an oven. Tonight, I settled for pasta – something I try not to eat too much of but alas, it has not gone to plan. I’ve been waiting on it boiling for literally an hour now so I’m going to be eating salad until I can get someone to look at it.

However, for when I do get this monstrosity working recipes that only require a hob or a microwave will be greatly appreciated!


Everything Happens for a Reason

I’ve made it to Corsica for my year abroad in one piece – a slightly fragile piece but in one piece all the same!

It feels like it has taken ages to get here and I don’t just mean the 3 days worth of travelling, I mean all the planning, organising and talking about it with friends and family. It came as a shock to me the night before my flight of just how crazy the year abroad actually is, so around 7pm the night before my flight, sat in my airport hotel, I completely freaked out. I mean I was moving over a thousand miles away, up a mountain, in a small town, all by myself. Personally, I think the last part was the hardest to comprehend as I’ve never been by myself – I moved straight in with my boyfriend after moving out of my mum’s. However, as many people had stated I would never get this opportunity again…

Once I had arrived in Ajaccio I felt even more overwhelmed, for a start I had totally underestimated how hot it was going to be (the thunderstorm advertised on the weather forecast was slightly wrong) and then it felt as though I had been thrown in at the deep end, so to say, as I couldn’t rely on others to help me speak French (which I’ll admit I often do – sorry lecturers!). However, I’m very surprised at my ability to speak French as I’ve managed to have conversations with complete strangers and they’ve actually understood me – Scottish French accent and all!

Anyways, I felt a lot more at ease once I arrived in Sartene yesterday morning, I was met by the headmistresses assistant who is lovely and eccentric despite talking very quickly. I briefly met a few colleagues and was shown my apartment for the next 7 months – lets just say it was definitely not what I had pictured but for only 90 euros a month it’s too good an opportunity to let go. It’s a bit like student accommodation, there’s 3 lockable bedrooms (to which I have one), a studio with a kitchen/TV area complete with sofa bed for guests which I have sole use of and then there’s a communal bathroom. Now the idea of a communal bathroom scared me a little but I was quickly told that the other two bedrooms are usually only used if the school is expecting visitors although it just so happened to be that on my first night in my apartment an education inspector was staying in one of the rooms.

An hour later I was to meet more colleagues as I was invited to lunch in the school canteen with them during which time I met one of the English teachers – Marie-Jean a lovely woman who made me feel at home despite after ten minutes of meeting her she asked me to come to two of her classes with her. Despite this being slightly daunting I loved it, the children were around 12 years old in both classes I had and they were all very eager to learn English and I think they’re going to love my Scottish accent – they especially found it amusing the way I say “brother”. I’m determined to give them Scottish accents by the end of my year abroad!

After my lessons were finished (school starts at 8am and finishes at 5:30pm here!) the headmistresses husband, Dominic, came to introduce himself and then asked me if I’d like to go food shopping as there’s no supermarket in the town. He is so sweet and very helpful and is probably partly why I have managed to relax a bit more. He’s even going to help me open a bank account – something I was not looking forward to discussing in French. Whilst I’ll still do most of the talking it’s reassuring to know that someone can help you if you don’t understand. After having 4 hectic days travelling and trying to settle in I can honestly say that there is probably nowhere else I’d rather spend my year abroad because the town is that small it feels like a community which is what I’m used to back home. At first when I found out I was placed in such a small town on top of a mountain I was so upset (I’d pictured myself spending my days off at the beach). However, I now firmly believe that everything happens for a reason and I’m looking forward to settling in, calming down and enjoying my year abroad!12038268_10153548971171830_5116873060197555843_n(Ajaccio early sunset)

“Wake me up when September ends”.

With only 12 days until I leave, I thought I’d make a start with the easiest thing (or so I thought) on my to-do list…packing!

Now I don’t know if this photo does it justice but I’d say the photo only contains 60% of the stuff that I needed to pack, so it’s a good job I’ve got a large suitcase. Anyone that’s travelled for an extensive period of time will understand how difficult it really is to pack – you have to pack for every season in under 20kg! When packing I aimed to only pack things that I know I’ll definitely need, although I bet there’s stuff in there I’ll never use and I’ll end up forgetting something really important.

For anyone looking for a bit of advice – clothes are not as important as you think. I’ve always packed excessive amounts of clothes in the past but packing for such a long stay has made me realise that clothes can easily be bought when you’re there. Instead, pack the essential things, notepads, pens, a grammar book (limit yourself on the amount of books), medication – plan to be ill it’s better to be prepared than to realise you’re stuck up a mountain without access to any painkillers etc. A good tip I have found is to pack an extension cord – that way you only need one European adaptor and still have plenty of sockets!

Nonetheless, wherever I travel I try to tell myself that as long as I’ve got my purse, tickets, passport and a phone then everything else is superficial. Make sure to create copies of important documents (tickets, passport, birth certificate etc.) – even leave a copy of everything with family members in case of an emergency!