Written by Maja Kušćer

Last year I was attending my Master’s of Management of European Affairs at the University of Lille 1 in France. These studies were quite different than my studies in Croatia for various reasons. It was the first time when I studied all the subjects in English, when I was away from  my home country and when my schedule was quite different.

In Croatia if you study Economics at the public university in Zagreb, before the beginning of the academic year, you receive a schedule for the winter semester. This schedule doesn’t change until the end of the first part of your academic year. So, there’s a comfortable routine. However, in Lille every day was different for me. We had some courses that lasted only a week and the next week we had other courses that took place on a different time. But there were some things that were scheduled almost every week and I managed to find some kind of routine.

  • Waking up when the night is still there. This was a routine in Lille. Every day during autumn and winter time, the sun didn’t wake me up. Because of its geographical position, in Lille daylight comes later than in Croatia. Sometimes, it was still dark even at half past eight in the morning. This frustrated me because, in winter time, the day in Croatia starts before 7 am.
  • Preparing to leave my house. After waking up, if my classes were in the morning, I would get ready for faculty. After eating cereals for breakfast, I would put on warm clothes (you need them in Lille) and take the indispensable accessory, my umbrella. Weather in Lille is often compared with weather in London; you never know when it will rain and for how long, so you should always carry protection against it.
  • Metro ride. My house was about 5 km away from my university, so I had to take the metro to reach it. The metro ride would take about 20 min in total. In the morning, it was especially chaotic because everyone was using it to go to university or to work. Metro trains in Lille are small so not everyone could fit inside. Therefore, sometimes I had to let one pass by and wait for another train. Fortunately, this didn’t cause me any inconvenience because the trains pass every minute.
  • Arrival at the university. Finally, I would arrive at the university to attend classes which usually lasted 2 to 4 hours. I liked this schedule because it wasn’t tiring for me.
  • Having lunch. After the morning classes, I would go to the campus restaurant to have lunch with my friends. I liked that the restaurant offered a wide range of meals, but a long queue in front of the building sometimes made me skip lunch and buy something from the bakery shop if I had classes afterwards.
  • Buying groceries. If I didn’t have classes in the afternoon, I usually went to the supermarket to buy everything I needed. The French supermarkets are quite big, but the queues at the cashiers can be unbearably long. If you bought an ice cream it would probably melt down before you pay for it.
  • Going home and studying. After doing everything I had to, I would go home to study, if necessary. I usually read what we did in classes just to stay in shape. Or I would prepare presentations for other subjects. We had to do a lot of them to pass the exams. When I had to do many presentations during a short period of time, it stressed me a little because I was trying to do everything right and spent a lot of time on it.
  • Skype with my family. Having Skype calls with my family was a routine for me. We did it everyday. Honestly, I was communicating more with them when I was in France, than when I was in Croatia, studying in another other town. We would talk for about 30 min to 1 hour. They liked to hear how I was passing my time in France. For me, it was good to hear news from Croatia.
  • Exercising and watching series. Before going to sleep, I usually did some exercise indoors or I went out for a walk just to stay in shape and feel better. Before going to sleep I watched an episode of some series to relax.
  • Time to sleep. After a long day, I would finally go to sleep and hope that the morning doesn’t come to soon.