Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Wait we have to go to school?

So it's not all fun an games here in The Gambia, believe it or not we actually have to go to school and work as well... We registered for classes (which took a whole day) during our orientation period. My schedule is as follows:

Mondays and Thursdays 9:30 to 10: 45 - Sociolinguistics
Mondays and Thursdays 11:00 to 12:15 - Poverty and Development
Wednesdays 12 to 1:30 - Africa in the Diaspora

I'm pretty excited about it. I took Archaeology of the African Diaspora at St. Mary's so I am interested to compare the two courses. In general I'm excited to experience college courses outside of the U.S.

So the week after our two week orientation is when classes "began." I say "began" because things rarely begin on time here and it is a known problem at University of The Gambia (UTG) especially for the first week of classes. So needless to say I went to class Monday, Wednesday and Thursday the first week, but I did not have one single class. There are so many little things that went wrong it's not worth saying them all, but I'll try to list of events to give you an idea of what it was like that first week of school:
  1. Fortunately since there are 4 of us going to school Mondays and Thursdays we had a van take us there (it's about 40 minutes away depending on traffic and how fast the driver drives)
  2. We went to the International Relations Office so one of the assistants could show us where our classes are
  3. There were people everywhere trying to get to class or sitting around. We went to Sociolinguistics first cause 2 of us are taking that class. Another class was in the classroom we were supposed to be in.. 
  4. We found the "teachers aid" luckily who had us put our name on a list to say we showed up to our first "class"
  5. Since I didn't have class we went to the library to read (the other two students had real class)
  6. At 11 we went to find our second class of the day, again there was another class in our classroom
  7. So we got to go home early, but it made me worried for the rest of the year
  8. On Wednesday there was no sign of the teacher or classroom for Africa in the Diaspora.. We found a very nice staff member to call our professor for us. The professor told her that the school had gotten the schedule wrong. We got his phone number and we called back and forth multiple times. Eventually he decided to stick with the original schedule...
  9. Thursday was the same thing as Monday
  10. But finally on week 2 I had "normal" classes. It's always up in the air where the classroom will be and I'm still confused as to how the UTG students always know where to go, but I'm catching on to the pattern myself now (it's week 3 already!). You just have to stand outside the classroom it's supposed to be in and wait for the professor or other students to tell you what to do.
Well I hope that wasn't too confusing and you can kind of catch on to what it was like at the beginning. I love all my professors; two males and one female. All three are African but I believe my female professor is form Senegal and the other two form The Gambia. 
The cafeteria at the university is good also and very cheap (about one American dollar for a meal) so thats convenient. And the university is very easy to navigate now that I've been there a few times.

Unfortunately this was a lot of words and not a lot of pictures :( I don't have any photos of the university. But here's the website if you want to know more about it! http://www.unigambia.gm/

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