Study Abroad Report by w0g9Ia

VIEWS: 0 PAGES: 4

									                                         Study Abroad Report
Your insight is valuable for Carlson students just considering or preparing for an exchange. Please help these
students out by emailing a report to alexejun@umn.edu Respond to the following topics and be sure to
include: Your Name, Program attended, Year/Term attended, current email. Additional insights and
recommendations for future students are very valuable too!
Academic experiences at the partner school
1. General academic structure:
        The general academic structure was very laid back. The classes are very laid back, professors do not
        always come on time or at all, and simply nobody seems to worry much about anything. The office
        and the workers in the office are laid back about everything, it takes a long time to just sign up for
        classes and change classes if that’s what you want to do. They have long 3-4 hour classes once a week.
        There are no classes that you’ll have twice a week. They have many more vacations as well so you will
        have to keep your eye out for that.
2. Classes taken/ how they compare to courses here:
        I took International Marketing, Brand Management, Managing Global Business, Surrealism, and the
        required French class. I thought the business courses were very easy, much easier than the courses at
        Carlson. There was absolutely no homework at all. Usually there was a final project and a final exam
        and that was it. I felt that a lot of the material was common sense as well. All the classes were very
        conceptual. The Surrealism class was my favorite and the only class where I felt I learned something
        concrete. It was very interesting and I recommend it to all. It was my first ever art class and I enjoyed
        it very much.
3. Advising:
        Tessa Adrian, the North American coordinator, was very helpful in the preparation for Lyon, as I was
        studying in a different country the semester before I went to Lyon and Tessa helped me out a great
        deal. It takes awhile to get a reply from your emails, but everything ends up great in the end. When I
        was there, I admittedly never went to Tessa for help, I used Aranza, the Latin American countries
        coordinator, because she was on the ground floor and I was too lazy to walk up the stairs to talk with
        Tessa, but Aranza was very helpful always, even though she wasn’t my coordinator.
4. Surprises/comparison with academic environment in the U.S:
        The academic environment is much more laid back. It’s much more theoretical and I thought way
        easier than courses in the U.S. The academic environment is more about learning French more than
        business or anything else.

Logistics at the partner school:
1. Orientation/Arrival:
       Arrival is all on your own. I recommend flying into Paris then taking the TGV to Lyon. It is much
       cheaper than taking a plane into Lyon, and the train station in Lyon is in Lyon while the airport is
       outside the city. If you rent an apartment, try to come to Lyon at or near the beginning of the month
       so that you don’t have to sleep at a hostel until the apartment is ready. The orientation at the school
       was admittedly common sense stuff that was boring, but it gave the opportunity to meet people.
2. Housing:
       I stayed at Moliere, a primarily student residence. It was great as I met a lot of people there because a
       lot of international students live there. It was also located in the middle of everything; everything is in
       walking distance. It’s also only a block away from the river. I highly recommend it. However, if
       possible, I would recommend finding an apartment on your own. Moliere was a bit expensive and if
       you find on your own, it will be cheaper and you can live with French people which will improve your
       French quicker.
3. Meals:
       I cooked on my own for dinner and breakfast. I went to the Resto-U for lunch. It was only around 2.85
       euros for a 3 course lunch. That’s the best deal you can find around. Cooking for yourself isn’t bad as
       it’s cheap and the quality of food in France is much higher than in the States. I also recommend kebabs
      for eating up. They’re big, tasty and cheap in comparison to everything else. Bouchon Lyonnais is
      wonderful but only ate it twice because it’s expensive.
4. Transportation:
      It’s 30 euros a month for all public transport, which is not bad. I recommend buying it right when you
      get there if you get there at the beginning of the month, because it’s monthly, it expires at the 1st of
      every month. You can get anywhere and everywhere with that. Also the Velov bike system is nice. Get
      a bank account and you can borrow a bike for 1 euro per week. You have to switch the bikes out every
      30 minutes when using it so you don’t pay more, but everything is well within 30 minutes so, pas de
      soucis.
5. Student activity groups:
      I did sports. I did basketball, ping pong, and danse sportifs. They were all really fun and I met a ton of
      people through them. I highly recommend doing sports. They’re actually classes and you get graded,
      but it’s tons of fun, there’s tons of sports to choose from and it definitely helps your French.

Host Country Culture
1. What were some surprises or insights you had into the culture of your host country/school?
      France is lovely, though the people are strange at time. People usually have a couple of really good,
      close, almost like family, friends instead of many friends that are just friends. So it’s hard to integrate
      into French groups and get French friends that actually want to spend time with you instead of just
      practice English. However, it is well worth trying to integrate into French people’s friend groups,
      because if you do and try, your French will get better and you will find that the French are not so cold,
      you just have to get to know them better. People from the country and suburbs of Lyon seemed to be
      much friendlier than people from the city. Everything is also much more laid back. Paperwork takes a
      long time to get through, administrative people never seem to work and nobody really seems to care
      about much, but you just have to relax and trust everything will end up good. Just roll with everything
      that happens.
2. What are your recommendations for ways that other exchange students can learn about and become
   immersed in the culture?
      Talk as much French as possible. Take every advantage possible to spend time with French people.
      Talk with everybody and anybody. Usually, people are very friendly if you at least attempt to speak
      French and they like to talk to foreigners.
3. Did you have the chance to learn a second language? Why or why not?
      I did have the chance to learn a second language and actually improve a third language as well.
      Surprisingly my Spanish got a lot better because there’s tons of students that are from Spanish-speaking
      countries and my best friends were these students so I actually spoke more Spanish than French or
      English. My French got significantly better as well as I came in with nothing and was really forced into
      learning, if not, I wouldn’t have been able to survive. I also took every chance to talk with French
      people and practice as much as possible. My best friend there was French so that helped too as I spent
      a lot of time with her and got to talk a lot with her. I also distanced myself a bit from Americans; I
      really only hung out with one American over there. It wasn’t a conscious move, but it happened and at
      the very least it was great for my French and Spanish as I spoke those two languages more than
      anything else which helped me learn faster. I would actually recommend this program for students who
      study Spanish. You can practice your Spanish through other international students and it’s close
      enough to French so that it’s not so difficult to pick up French along the way. I study Spanish and I
      had never taken a French course prior to going and it worked perfectly for me. No complaints.

Social life:
1. How would you rate your integration with other students from the host university?
        I would say my integration with other students from the host university went very well. It went kind of
        slow at first as my French was not that good, so I was only hanging around international students, but
        when I had more confidence, I started talking more and I then met tons of people. It was great. The
        majority of the students are very nice and accommodating and want to talk as much with you as you
       with them so take advantage of it. It’s important to integrate so that you’ll learn faster and so that you
       have a lot of stuff to do.
2. How would you rate your integration with other international students?
       This went great as well, perhaps better than with the French, because all the international students,
       ERASMUS and all, all kind of feel in the same boat, experiencing similar things so you naturally bond
       with them. Most of your classes will be with just international students as well, so the integration is
       easy. If you live in a student residence, you’ll be close to the international student crowd as well, so
       everything is great.
3. What were some of the best ways you found to make friends and meet people at the host university?
       For meeting foreigners, simply going to class, going to any outing you hear about, and staying in
       contact with people living by near you were all great methods of making friends and meeting people.
       Admittedly, there was always some type of party going on with the exchange students so you always
       have a chance to meet people through that. To meet French people, participate in sports. Usually you
       will be one of the few if only foreigner in the class. You will have ample opportunity to make friends
       with French people. The library is a very good place to meet French people too. I met one of my best
       friends there and I don’t know why but it was a great environment to meet people. People ask you for
       help and you to them and eventually you get start talking and you can make friends easily. There’s an
       area in the library for languages and here there are all the French students who study other languages
       and are interested in talking with you. The Maison des Langues is another good resource to meet
       people as well. You can study there as well. The computer lab is another place. I went there often the
       first couple of weeks and became good friends with some of the people who work there because I saw
       them all the time and I’d always talk with them, so I’d recommend that too.
4. What kinds of after-hours and weekend activities would you recommend for other students?
       There’s tons of concerts always going on. The movie theater is great to go to. There’s always some type
       of cultural event going on, so take advantage of that. There’s tons of pubs, bars on boats and discos to
       go to. The TGV is great and if you buy a 12/25 pass (I highly recommend it), you can get about half
       price on any train ticket anywhere in France or even to Geneva. Geneva is a great place to have a day
       trip or a weekend, Dijon, Strasbourg, anywhere in Provence, Arles, Marseilles, Annecy, the list goes on.
       France is beautiful and with the 12/25 pass, it’s a little more affordable to travel around the country.
5. If you traveled with your family, how was their integration into the host community? Did you find any
   particularly helpful resources for them?
       It was alright for my mother because she speaks French, but for my father, he just kind of tagged
       along. It seems as though the French appreciate it if you at least attempt to speak French. So the
       dictionary is a good resource. The tourist information offices are wonderful as well as they’re very
       helpful with everything.
Other:
1. Budgeting: how much would you recommend students take with them? How much would you say would
   be the monthly living expenses in the city you lived in including rent/food/misc. expenses?
   If you don’t travel too much (in comparison to others I didn’t travel that much, went on a couple trips
   within France and then went to England and Spain as well, so that’s what I’d say is not traveling too
   much), expect to spend for everything, around 550 – 600 euros a month, which is maybe $950-1000 a
   month. The euro is strong so everything is expensive. If you travel a lot, expect to spend for everything, at
   least $2000 a month. I know people that spent at least that a month. At the very bare minimum, if you get
   a cheap apartment (cheapest I saw with sharing was 200 euros a month = $320), don’t travel, and don’t go
   out to much, you could probably get by with 400 euros a month which is about $700 a month, but that’s a
   guess.
2. Do you have suggestions on the types of students who would be well suited to this program?
   You have to be independent and willing to go out and get what you want and need because the school
   doesn’t help you out too much and you’re on your own. I would also say that students studying or even
   better, who already know Spanish, this is a great program. I guarantee that if you study Spanish and
   participate in this program in Lyon, you will get better at Spanish and French.
3. Did you need a visa to enter the country? If so, how did you apply for one and how long did it take to
   receive?
     Yes, you need a visa since you’re staying for more than 3 months. You have to go to Chicago to get it at
     the French embassy and you can find all the instructions to set up the appointment and everything online.
     It’s a pain to go to Chicago but you have no choice.
4.   What recommendations would you give to other CSOM students going on this program (to bring, to wear,
     etc.)?
     Bring warm clothes. Whether you go fall or spring semester, it’s going to be a bit chilly at times. Bring a
     smile. Smiling always helps in France. Bring a couple of extra passport photos. They use it for every ID
     thing, metro pass, TGV card, student ID, etc.
5.   General recommendations for study abroad:
     Be open and outgoing. Go out and talk with everybody. Smile a lot. Enjoy every moment because it’s the
     only time you’ll ever get to experience what you’re doing. It’s incredible so treasure every moment and take
     chances because you’ll never see it again.
6.   What resources did you use to plan your trip or semester travels that you think other students should know
     about?
     Use Ryanair and EasyJet to fly cheap. Use the SNCF and TGV to travel within France. Both have great
     websites that are easy to use.
7.   Did you receive a scholarship for your study abroad program? If so, can you tell us about the award, how
     you found it, and the details of the application process?
     Yes, I won two scholarships, one from Carlson, the other from the Learning Abroad Center. I found both
     online on Carlson’s website and the Learning Abroad Center website. You have to write an essay and fill
     out personal information and that’s about it.

 If you would be willing to be contacted by prospective students to this program, please let us know how we can reach
   you! Your preferred e-mail (for student contacts), and address/phone (for our office) would be much appreciated!

                                                        Email to:
                                        Kirsten Alexejun, International Programs
                                                   alexejun@umn.edu

								
To top