I haven’t been updating the blog at all in the past couple of weeks, not because it’s been boring, but because there hasn’t been too much time to spare. I’ve been trying to stay on top of my reading schedule, and so far with success, and on weekends I’ve travelled around. Here’s some relatively unorganised thoughts and updates!
There are more courses going on at the same time than in Edinburgh (five compared to three in Edinburgh), which naturally increases the workload. In week 1 of the French politics course, I misunderstood the instructions, thinking that we had to study the “fiche de lecture” (two books/week) for each week. It was only after reading a whole book about the French notion of republicanism that one book for the whole semester is enough. That was that, then!
At least now that there aren’t too many assignments going on yet (I’ve done one exposé so far, about Niccolò Machiavelli), it’s been possible to do all your reading and to travel on the weekends, though you need some discipline to stick to the schedule. Better not get stuck browsing cat pictures between the lectures! For next week, I have three deadlines looming, and from Friday to Sunday I will be at a JEF Paris weekend event, so more of that will be needed!
Two weeks ago I was in Clermont-Ferrand for the JEF France summer university. Given that in Paris the social occasions to chat with locals have been a bit limited apart from the regular afterwork nights of JEF Sciences Po, I subjected others to my broken French. Here’s some video footage of me asking a question at the Friday evening panel discussion where I was asking about the internal coherence of the European party alliances in the 2019 European elections.
The workshops on defining the priorities for JEF France in the election campaign were impressively organised, and in general it was a joy to see dozens of bright, motivated people from all across the country gathered in the same place. To many Finns it may come as a surprise that in an old member state like France the election campaign has been sterile, unfocused and invisible, but Les Jeunes Européens will be bringing some straight talk to the campaign.
Last weekend I went to Athens to see Miriam. When there are no classes on Thursdays or Fridays, Europe is small enough for a weekend jaunt to the opposite corner of the continent – definitely refreshing after a couple of days of being immersed in topics like Thomas Hobbes and the role of aerial bombings in military strategy!
These trips are adventures – I came home through Cluj-Napoca in Romania where I spent the night at the airport, and got home via the Beauvais airport in Northern France just in time for me to shower and get to Monday’s first class in time. Planning to do the same at the end of the autumn holiday, but through Sofia instead of Cluj!