School enforces difficult check-in

I arrived in Paris to study at the internationally known University of Sorbonne. At first, I was not impressed with anything about the Sorbonne, save its gorgeous building.

Bureaucratic paperwork and lots of long lines were the Sorbonne’s way of enrollment. It required that I arrive two weeks early to enroll, when two days would have sufficed. On the first day of the process, I waited in an oversized auditorium-style room for two and a half hours until my number was called, “114, s’il vous plait.” Less than five minutes later I had a slip of paper saying basically, “You need this slip to enroll. Return in two days.”

Two days later I waited an hour and a half in a long line to enroll, which was to give my name, date of birth, nationality and address in Paris. I thought I was going to pay there too, because this process only took a few minutes, but I was directed to another hour and a half long line to pay.

After paying, along with a receipt, I received another slip saying, “You need this slip for placement. Return in two days.” Two days later I returned to yet another line, both before and after the placement test. After the test I received another slip of paper that said, “Return in a week and a half to get your class schedule.”

A week and a half! That was four days later than the preregistration papers said we would start!

It wasn’t just the ridiculously overdone process that bothered me, but more so the way I was treated.

For example, the security guards wouldn’t let the international students in the building until exactly 1 p.m., when it was obviously open and others were allowed in. Was it too much to ask to wait inside?

Another example is when I asked the lady giving us our schedules where to buy tickets for the student cafeteria, because at Southern the tickets are not bought in the student cafeteria. She told me rudely, “Ask your professor please, Bye!”

Now that I know the answer is “the student cafeteria,” which is just as easy to say and much more helpful, I can only hope that she didn’t know.

Then the first day of class finally arrived, but four days later than scheduled. I was scared that the university was just a name, or perhaps it was only the language program that was not worthwhile! That has not been the case.

The saving grace to this over-hyped university is my absolutely wonderful professor, Mrs. Kessler. Fluent in French history, culture and language, she has been able to teach my class of 28 for five hours every day.

She can explain the complex grammatical rules in the morning, keep us interested and awake in the afternoon and still make sure everyone participates and is understanding. For five hours of one course, this is no easy feat.

So the questions is: two months into the course, has The Sorbonne lived up to its name?

My answer: Only if every professor is like Mrs. Kessler. Goins traveled to Paris last semester to study at the University of Sorbonne.