Judging by the fact that the local hero of the city of Liège is a man named Tchantchès, whose nose is permanently red due to his constant drinking, one can easily guess what I have been doing with the majority of my time here.
Liège has astounded me by its levels of hospitality and vitality, and in particular, the University’s organisation of events for new students. We Erasmus students were given two welcome days on the two main campuses of the University on Tuesday and Wednesday, both accompanied by walking, cycling or bus tours of the campus. The two welcome days were incredibly useful and we received a lot of information, as well as free pasta, curry and beer. On top of this, there was an Erasmus barbeque on Thursday, with yet again more free food and more free beer – not that I’m complaining at all! More information meetings followed on Friday, thankfully all in the afternoon so I could still enjoy my status as a new student in Le Carré, the drunken heart of Liège.
Despite all this information, I must admit, like most new Erasmus students, I’ve found the bureaucracy incredibly difficult to manage. Trying to find courses that are only in the first semester, that are related to France, and that offer enough credits, has been very frustrating, and unfortunately I have ended up taking a couple of courses which don’t interest me at all. Hopefully, when next week comes round and my lessons start, I will have changed my view, and will thoroughly enjoy the many literature courses I have had to take. Other things that have taken some time getting used to is the lack of support organising my timetable, I’ve had to search for all the course information myself, and compile my own provisional timetable (let’s hope it’s correct!); the lack of a fridge, no I’m not joking; and the amount of information we have all had to take in. Geography, the Belgian dialect, course organisation and a whole lot else.
Don’t get me wrong, I love Liège. I’ve never adapted so quickly to a city, and I think that’s down to the citizens, the students, and the great way the University has merged the two. Of course, the fact that Liège is famous for peket, a very tasty alcohol similar to gin; waffles; beer; cheese and chocolate has helped me to quickly feel incredibly liégeoise. If you’re ever around, take a trip to Le Carré and try a peket or two, you won’t regret it. Except maybe the coconut flavoured one, that’s vile.