The past two months have been such a learning experience. I have learned something very common but something that surprises me a lot in France. That is, the amount of strikes they have. I definitely do not understand everything that is happening, but from my understanding, the French government is requiring the college students that are majoring in Elementary Education to have their master’s degree as well as their bachelor’s in order to teach. Most of the French students as well as some of the university teachers does not agree with this requirement, therefore they have been striking against it. It started by us, the students, showing up to class and the teacher wouldn’t show up, or the teacher would show up but none of the French students would come to class. And then one day at the beginning of February, I went to class to find the whole university blocked with tables and chairs, while some students that are for the strike were inside the school, I guess promoting their cause. So there was an announcement that the school would be blocked off until the 13th of February. Well, the 14th is when our week long winter break started, so I decided to travel. I went to Paris and then to Barcelona, and by the time I got back for classes on the 22nd, the school was still blocked. I just thought it was so crazy that the students have so much control over the school and that they can just shut the whole school down like that. Finally on the 9th of March, they voted to end the blockage but to keep the strike going. So I have had most of my classes for the past three weeks, but there have been a few instances where the teacher didn’t show up.
After this week, our two-week Easter break starts, and I plan on traveling again. All in all, I feel like I have had more break than class, which I am sure sounds like what most college students would rather have, but trust me: when you spend a lot of money to come to a foreign country to learn, you would rather go to class and learn! But I am definitely not complaining about the great opportunities to travel around Europe, either. So far, I have enjoyed my time here very much regardless of what is happening with the school and wish that time would slow down a little bit.