Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Social Orientation in Antwerp

So ... it turns out that I was placed in the wrong Social Orientation class despite my record having my university education on it.

Today I finally decided to go back to PINA, simply to say I couldn't continue with this whole 'the doctor lives in a normal house' thing.

They were great but it seems I should have been put in a university graduate business class from the beginning.

It has to be said that while I truly admire the role PINA plays in the immigrant community, having this social orientation imposed on me has really made me wonder what in the hell I'm doing in Belgium.

It's only now, more than 2 years after picking up the tag titled 'immigrant in process' that I'm beginning to establish a life here, trying to play catch-up on all that I put to one side ... silly things I never imagined putting aside when I rocked up to immigration control at Brussels Airport.

But musing aside ... the result of today's meeting is that I've been excused from my current class for people who are not native English speakers and I have to start over in January. This time it's once a week for 5 weeks, with homework but at least it's a level of English that takes the sting out of anyone thinking that I know so very little about Belgium ...


Manictastic said...

That explains alot. So sorry you had to go through all of this in partly my name (democracy makes me part of the guilty).

Di Mackey said...

Democracy sure looks like something else from my end of the experience, sweetpea.

I am unaccustomed to having so many rules and 'you must do this, this and this' imposed on me.

Peter said...

Di, one of the facts of life in Belgium is the slow but ever so present realization that this country harbors a innate, sometimes Kafkaesque love of self-feeding bureaucracy.

I'm not sure if you ever read one days worth of the "staatsblad": this country produces more senseless laws, rules and regulations like a patient on diarrhea.

It basically doesn't matter anymore whether these rules make any sense, the fact that our 20 different levels of authority are in power seems to justify their existence, and their rules.

My s/o had what only appeared to be a benign "tech issue" toady: his electronic chip enhanced national Belgian ID malfunctioned.

As a result, his bank partially refused service ("you cannot be identified") and a host of related services just stopped functioning.

The powers that be decided not to print one's address on a Belgian ID (it's only on the chip, which malfunctioned), making him Mr Nobody.

One would imagine that there was a simple replacement procedure. There isn't. The emergency paper ID cannot be processed by a bank or one of the countless card readers this country is so fond of.

Expected time for a replacement ID: 6 weeks.

Anyway, I hope your social orientation class for university graduates is less frustrating.

Di Mackey said...

Oh Peter ... what a mess! I was so sad when I read of what can happen if you have chip failure in those bloody cards.

6 weeks ... why doesn't it surprise. Nothing does after that time I received a letter from the authorities who approve (or not) my university degree from NZ. They wrote to let me know how long it would take for them to process my information ... warning that it would take longer if any there were any school holidays during the processing period.

I almost died laughing, while furious and disbelieving ... it's stunning sometimes!

The thing with this university graduate course is that I'm SO GRATEFUL to be off the simple English course that I all but forgot I didn't see the point of me doing the thing at all ... sigh. So clever.

Anonymous said...

I think you're dreaming about the level of English being at your level. It will be at the level of the civil servant's wife's second cousin who happens to be a bad but connected English teacher in a high school somewhere. No mother language involved - reach down to third level and get marked down because you're too good. Just like my kids at school who speak and write better English than their teachers.

Di Mackey said...

I hope it's not that bad but I do remember kids from mixed marriages running into the same problem with teachers in Turkey.

If one of the parents spoke English there and they were fluent, it created a problem for the less fluent, non-native speaking teacher and those kids who had grown up speaking English would really struggle to fit into the same framework as the teacher's English.

Most often, the kids failed in grammar,despite being 100% fluent i n the language ...