The first sure sign a new school year was going to start was the noticeable increase of pointless, irrelevant and often grammatically questionable emails we were receiving from Mark’s school.
Browsing: School in Canada
Parent-teacher meetings are this week. We have the 9:00-9:10 slot. Should be a fun 10 minutes.
Who are those people who look back at their school years with nostalgia?
To me, Mark’s school is some kind of mismanaged charity with inconsistent guidelines where the presence of kids is an inconvenience and volunteers are always needed urgently because made-up reasons.
This first school year left me feeling somewhat frustrated. Back in September, I had many questions, practical and cultural, and I never got answers.
I’ve been living in Canada for so long that any true culture shock I faced is now a distant memory.
Or so I thought, until last month.
I’m standing in the middle of the schoolyard and Mark is holding my hand very tightly. He probably thinks that like a balloon, I’m going to fly away the moment he lets it go.
I almost missed the French éducation nationale. Sure, like millions of students, I regularly protested various education reforms over the years, but at least the ministry’s communication efforts were consistent and on a national basis.
Hollywood movies resort to so many stereotypes and overuse so many clichés that I had half suspected school buses didn’t actually exist or were anecdotal.
Every time I go grocery shopping, I face a problem that challenges two of my “rules”: the size of packages. The cliché is true. Everything is bigger in North America.
We called more daycare centres—all with interchangeable cutesy names involving “love”, “children”, “wee” or “bear” —booking tours if they didn’t hang up on us. We drove to places well outside our neighborhood, filling up endless forms—“what do you want from a daycare?”, “list the three main ways you want your child to grow”, etc.
At the tender age of two, Mark just lost his first job. A victim of capitalism—one more.
Filling out daycare application forms is a tough exercise. You’d think you’re applying for Harvard—although I strongly suspect the main admission factor is the cheque you have to write every month.
Yes, Mark is going to daycare. It’s about bloody time.
On one side, my experience with university in Canada is pretty good. First, I hope that eventually I will be able to complete a Canadian degree, even if the goal seems to be very far away. Second, it helps me keep a balance with my crazy work environment. Culturally speaking, it is also interesting to see how things are taught on this side of the Atlantic Ocean: perspectives, especially on economics, history and politics are quite different from Europe’s.
The more I attend classes at university, the more I feel like I belong in a museum. The big museum of failed and forgotten ideals. Move along, nothing to see here.
The Winter semester started early January, but I can’t seem to put myself into study mode. First, there is my very full-time job. I work in an environment where futile things such as eating and sleeping are almost frowned upon, let alone studying. And then, there is the usual winter blues. Hard to walk to class after a full day of work when it’s cold, windy and pitch black.
I have always been fascinated by North American high schools and universities. They seemed to have so many rituals, so many traditions that I felt we were really missing out in France. Take graduation, for instance. One of the rite of passage in France is the “baccalauréat”, the national high school graduation exam. But it quite different from the North America graduation exam.
My oral exam lasted exactly three minutes. It may have something to do with the fact I wrote in big bold letter “I am French !” in answer to the question “where did you learn French?” in the preliminary questionnaire. The examiner was a nice guy and admitted there was no point in testing me any further. Phew, thanks.
At university, I feel like an alien among students.
when the class started in September, and when it was still hot, I felt like a nerd in the middle of a bunch of wanna-be strippers. Since when did mini-shorts and backless shirts become the students’ uniform? Gosh, I was once kicked out of class — admittedly in high school – because I wore jeans with holes in the knees!
I was almost late for my first class.
I had left home on time but I was lost in the huge campus and none of the students I stopped to ask for directions seemed to know the location of my building. I eventually found it, a couple of minutes before my class was due to start.
I developed a new theory.
Canada is a capitalist developed country, with plenty of goods available, a reasonably efficient and non-corrupt administration and businesses are quite customers-oriented. However, all this change the minute you step foot on the university campus.