Humanities & Social Sciences placements

Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences' students share their placement and year abroad experiences.

Urtare

📥  Politics, Languages & International Studies

Urtare means “to bump” and I learnt this after experiencing first-hand the craziness of Neapolitan traffic. I know they are crazy; red lights mean absolutely nothing even if you are halfway through crossing a road, and one way systems have no significance whatsoever for a Naples driver in a rush, even taxis…

But today I was crossing a road at a zebra crossing with a large bunch of people and a car actually drove straight into me and bumped my leg. I had had a bad day trying to work out things for my course at the horrendously disorganized university, and I was not impressed with the selfishness of these drivers. It wasn’t a bad hit, just a bump thank goodness, but still, it is wearing fearing for your life every time you step outside a door!

 

Sciopero

📥  Politics, Languages & International Studies

This means strike. Today after Uni I was greeted by flares and armed police as the taxi drivers of Naples were striking and holding a protest down the main road by the university. I didn’t hang around to see why they were protesting as it was a very tense and scary atmosphere.

I don’t like looking at the news here any more, because people seem to be shot in the center every night.

 

Cattiva

📥  Politics, Languages & International Studies

Today I was waiting at the station and a man approached me asking for money. If you stand too still or even hesitate around the station you will be approached by someone. He was being aggressive about it, and I know that sadly most people who ask for money here just wait for you to get your purse out before they run off with it, so I said ‘no, sorry’. He persisted for a few more minutes, and then called me a “stronza cattiva” (stronza is a swear word for women and cattiva means evil) and walked off. I love giving to charity and people who need it in England, and I have always said the way to fight hate is kindness, but it is impossible here. I really don’t like Naples for that.

 

Scottatura

📥  Politics, Languages & International Studies

This means sunburn! I somehow managed to sunburn my eyelids today, which is a really bizarre feeling and I’m not quite sure how that happened but the rest of my face is okay. Naples is certainly hot; it has rained more than we thought it would but the pollution, dense population, crazy traffic and southern sunny location makes it a very warm place to be indeed! Somehow everyone except me is still wearing a coat…

 

Cinquecento

📥  Politics, Languages & International Studies

Learning a course in another language will always be interesting, but I questioned I was even in the right class when my Modern History teacher was referring to Cinquecento, which means 500. Naturally, I thought he meant the year 500AD, but, of course, he meant the year 1500 instead.

 

Fra

📥  Politics, Languages & International Studies

Fra is Neapolitan for Fratello, or brother; kind of like we would say “bro” or something in English.

I learnt this from our two friends we met on the beach, and they are genuinely nice people who don’t have an ulterior motive when they talk to us. They told us we had been lucky to find two “angeli” like them!

 

London Life and Student Living

📥  2016-17, Politics, Languages & International Studies, Uncategorized

Before another post updating about life at NBCU, I thought I’d write a piece on what it’s like to be a POLIS placement student in London. I had always figured that I would live in London at some point in my life; I grew up in Reading (30 mins away from Paddington by train) and my sister has lived in the city for a number of years. All of my media work experience has also been in the city, albeit only for sporadic weeks at a time.

My first work experience when I was 16 - has anything really changed?

My first work experience when I was 16 - has anything really changed?

For me, a huge pro of London life came before I had even moved. I found searching for a flat incredibly easy in comparison to Bath, setting aside a day to look at suitable apartments and finding our perfect place by lunchtime. Now, I have to caveat this by saying that my flatmate (a friend from school, who I’d already agreed to live with a year before even getting my placement) was quite keen on living in Clapham; the issue of where to live in such a huge city was fairly immediately resolved. However, I definitely recommend looking in the Clapham area to any prospective Londoners as there’s a thriving young-professional community and it’s relatively affordable. I live literally opposite the Clapham North tube station, which definitely helps with any morning laziness. There was hardly a shortage of two-bedroom houses and flats in the area, which is immensely useful for anyone to find a place at short notice.

Featuring scenic views of the tube station.

Featuring scenic views of the tube station.

On the subject of the tube, there’s a bit of a mixed blessing when it comes to transport in London. On the one hand, it’s (usually) quick and frequent, meaning that darting from one end of London to the other isn’t too much hassle. However, it can be unbelievably unpleasant. I take the Northern line every single day (fun fact – the Northern line goes to the most Southern tube station in London) and, subsequently, I spend far too much of my time pressed up against a stranger in the tube equivalent of sardines. There’s also the case of heat; on the two or so days of summer that London actually has, I’ve been so hot on the tube that my makeup has melted by the time I’ve gotten to work. This is an aspect of London life that I’ve simply had to put up with, but I know it isn’t for everyone.

How my housemate feels about getting the tube all the time.

How my housemate feels about getting the tube all the time.

Of course, it’s also expensive. Everything is eye-wateringly expensive. Coming back to Bath makes everything feel cheap – the complete opposite of when I first moved to University.The extent of which this hits you will ultimately depend on how much you are paid. Without going into details, I have friends who are in other ends of the country who are paid less but are still able to save money overall. Admittedly, I have made a decision to enjoy London life as much as possible which, unfortunately for me, does come at a cost. Still, generally speaking, unless you’re on a banking placement, it’s a lot harder to save money if you’re living here.

And viva London! Nights with glitter and free signs being one of the things I spend my hard-earned money on.

And viva London! Nights with glitter and free signs being one of the things I spend my hard-earned money on.

However, there’s so much going on in the city that it makes shelling out money on events easy but worth it. Some personal highlights of the year have included attending an interactive Great Gatsby performance, going to a Secret Cinema event in black tie, playing ping pong in a UV bar and much, much more. Furthermore, as there are so many other POLIS students on placement in London, I am able to attend these events with a similar friendship group to what I had at university. Whilst this isn’t to say that I haven’t met people here, it certainly makes moving to a new city easier when you’ve got a lot of familiar faces on call.  If you’re even slightly interested in the arts, London will always have something new and quirky to offer you.

 

Fresh out of the 1920s.

Fresh out of the 1920s.

Whilst this is just a small overview on a big city, I hope it’s been informative!

 

Raga

📥  Politics, Languages & International Studies

Since it is hard to make friends here, one way I have been doing it is by trying to talk to people on my course, and most of them are really nice. They are not used to having anyone foreign in the class as all of the students here are born and bred Neapolitans!

The group chat I have been added to was a welcoming gesture but my phone pings non-stop. I have learnt that they use the word “raga” here instead of ragazzi (the equivalent of “guys” in English).

 

Ad essere onesti...

📥  Politics, Languages & International Studies

= to be honest

I won’t lie to you, reader, I am aware that my posts about Naples have been pretty short and fairly boring. I could say that that is because this blog is supposed to represent the day-to-day life of a year abroad student which is not always as exciting as a tourist or holiday maker’s, but that isn’t really the whole story.

If I am painfully honest, I haven’t felt comfortable here in Naples at all, and I am trying my hardest to love it, but it is getting difficult. I don’t want to be moaning about this and make all my posts negative, because there is a bizarre rustic charm to the city. But for the good of future students at this city’s university, there should be a few negative points you are aware of…

– the university does not seem to have much in place for Erasmus students, especially language or politics ones. There is no kind of Erasmus support or network to meet students, I have never met my tutor, if he exists, and there are no relevant politics, history or language courses to speak of.

– the city is dangerous, yes, but the people are not as welcoming as I had hoped. I am only speaking in my personal experience, of course. A few people we have met have been absolutely lovely! But even my landlord, who I trusted, has tried to be inappropriate with me, as well as the men we get running after us in the street who refuse to leave us alone. I know many people who have visited the city and been mugged, and I am lucky it has not happened to me yet.

This has meant I cannot go out in the day without being hassled either by people wanting to steal from me, or men being aggressive. Going out at night is completely out of the question.

However, the sea is beautiful, the nearby places are gorgeous and as I said, it does have a strange charm in all its chaos. You have to realize though, that Naples is pretty much a different country from the rest of Italy, with different people, language, and culture. It is not for the faint hearted!

 

Gomma

📥  Politics, Languages & International Studies

My friend Emilia came to visit me in Naples today which was so lovely as I haven’t seen her in ages (shout out to you Emilia )

I showed her round the town a bit, the nicest parts at least, and then we sat by the rocks on the beach in the evening.

We were then inexplicably approached by a group of boys aged around 12, who really seemed to think we would be keen to… get romantically involved with them. They even offered us a condom. We did wonder if they were talking about gum. To be honest I’m still not really sure. In any case, they kept on asking us if we would kiss them, even though we said no, we’re not interested, we have boyfriends, etc etc etc… This is a very, very strange place…