“La ponctualité est la politesse des rois”
Today was the first day of our immersion course, which will be a combination of language classes, organised group trips to local sites and social events for us foreigners. Being clubbed together with all the other Erasmus/international students might not be the best way to practise French, but it’s a good starting point, with the classes at least providing a good opportunity for us to switch our brains on again.
Today was just the preliminaries really – information about the immersion course, language tests to evaluate our level in French ahead of the organisation of groups tomorrow, and general information about the Université de Neuchâtel (commonly referred to as Unine).
I signed up for most of the trips, although places are limited so it’s not certain that I’ll be going on all of them. Two exceptions were the trips to a local scientific research centre and a nearby maker of watch parts, both of which were underwhelmingly presented by a dour man that I thought looked remarkably like a slightly scrubbed-up version of Raul Meireles.
In one of the presentations a quotation read “La ponctualité est la politesse des rois”; judging by the strict timekeeping of the town’s electric bus system, punctuality might not be just a politesse but also a necessity here. So English students, such as myself, who are used to about 3 hours in contact time scattered over each day, with 9am as the earliest possible start, better adapt quickly to the 8am starts and full schedule. At least we have Friday free.