Mike vs the Bureaucrats: Round 2 – Mike Williamson, Coimbra

I think that’s how you spell bureaucrats. Once again the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune have conspired against me to strangle me in miles of red tape. I went to the International office to register for the first time (yes, you have to do it twice). Annoyingly, it’s only open for 3 hours a day, 4 days a week, all in the afternoon. I was hoping I could go in the morning and sort everything else out during the rest of the day, but just like in Malaga, it looks like I won’t be able to hadouken my way through this one, it’s a different type of fight, more like Bison than Dhalsim, if you have any idea what I’m on about.

The first part was simple enough, we were told in advance what we needed to bring, and everyone’s Portuguese is as terrible as mine (actually I met a girl who’s been here for a semester already and her’s is even worse than mine :/ ) so everything was explained in English too. I had changed my passport number since I applied, and my letter of acceptance said I was here for the first semester when clearly I wasn’t, but neither of those were big problems. Before I can do the final registration, I have to go and get a residence permit from the municipal office and see my coordinator to get my learning agreement signed (something I thought I already did during the application process).

I was told my coordinator was also in charge of the Portuguese language course so I thought I’d better do that first, so I went to hunt her down. Problem: I only had her name which I couldn’t even read because the handwriting was so bad. But I supposed that since she’s my coordinator, she’ll be in my faculty, so I went there for the first time, where I found lots of blank office doors with no names on them. So I asked some guy, and he just happened to know off the top of his head what room it was, 7th floor, south east corner. Of course she wasn’t there. Apparently on the Peninsula it’s too much to ask for someone to be in their own office. The guy who was there said that she’s only there two days a week. Meanwhile, I’ve missed another day of the language course. Nevermind, onto the residence permit.

I wound my way through the labyrinthine old town to find the office, about a half-hour walk, gave in all my details, and then asked off-hand how I could change my address when I found a flat. Apparently you need a new permit every time you change address, and have to pay the fees each time as well. So screw that, finding a flat is the new priority.

Tomorrow’s the welcome meeting. You’d think they’d have had that before the language course started, instead of assuming everyone knows what they have to do, but no. Hopefully I’ll get a K.O. before the end of the week.

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