We’ve spent the past three days running around, attempting to get everything settled so that we can get our visas from the government. This process involves getting a check-up from a doctor, registering at the town hall of the city where you live, getting a chest x-ray and TB test (in a place separate from the doctor), and a lot of traversing the city.
On Monday, we explored the city center, which meant finding the tourist office, visiting the Cathedral Notre Dame, seeing the statue of former Duchess Charlotte, and just generally getting a feel for the city. We also misinformed another tourist by telling him that the village hall was a hotel. It was labeled “Hotel,” though. We’re still trying to figure out why. We have slowly been getting to know the city Centre and the area around the Gare (the train station), accomplished largely through attempting to find all of these places (the phone store, the TB test office, etc.).
Yesterday (Tuesday), we registered ourselves at the City Hall (not the building labeled “hotel,” though, because the city hall has multiple buildings, and each of them serve a different purpose. We did a little bit of running around in order to find the right building which was, of course, right by the bus stop we had come from.) and took a trip down to Differdange, where Miami’s campus is located (full name Miami University Dolibois
European Center, or MUDEC). Here we met with Lee, the housing coordinator, to give him the paperwork from the city hall (he’ll put the paperwork through and register us so that we can get our visas) and do the routine doctor visit with the doctor there in Differdange. The actual appointments didn’t last long at all (blood pressure, heart rate, height, weight, etc.), but we weren’t able to get appointments very close together, so we spent the time between appointments exploring the Chateau (the building that houses Miami’s campus), chatting with the Dean (he told us all about the Chateau’s history, which dates back to the fifteenth century), and finding some lunch (with ice cream afterwards, of course!).
Today’s tasks included making our way to Diekirch, the town where our schools are located, so that we could get an idea of how long it will take to get there and how far away from the train station the schools are located. Lycee de Diekirch, the high school where I’ll be teaching, actually has two buildings—one practically right next to the train station and the other a few kilometers away. I’m not sure yet which will be my home building, so that’s definitely a question for the department chair with whom I have been communicating. The town itself, however, is quaint and lovely. There’s a small river that runs through it, and the walk to the new building crosses the river and goes through a neighborhood where everyone has a garden. There may be a bus that can get us there, but I wouldn’t mind walking and seeing all of that every day!
After our dry run to Diekirch, we returned to Luxembourg City to find the doctor’s office
where we have to get a TB test and a chest x-ray. I looked up and written down directions from the Gare the last night, but either I wrote them down incorrectly, or Google maps told me to turn right when I should have been turning left. Regardless, we got a little lost, but Megan E. pulled out her map and we re-oriented ourselves with the little knowledge that we had and found the place without too much trouble.
All of the MUDEC students arrived today, so tomorrow we begin our “Integration” program, which involves several seminars with titles like “Citizenship at MUDEC,” “Wow! I’m in Europe now,” “Student Activities,” “Library & IT,” and “Living in a European Host Family.” Some of these may not apply to us as much as the MUDEC students, since we won’t be at the Chateau on any sort of regular basis, but we’re hoping to be able to use the library’s resources and some of the other information may be helpful as well. The integration program lasts for three days, including “treasure hunts” around Luxembourg City and bus trips to a few different towns nearby. We’re also hoping to learn more about the possibility of beginning French classes for those in STEP (Student Teaching in Europe Program), especially those of us whose teaching posts don’t begin for another few weeks. Until then, we have plenty to keep us busy!