Report of my semester abroad by xiangpeng


									                          Report of the semester abroad

                                      Eya Salmi
                           Master in International Business
                     Master in International Management - CEMS

Home School: Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration NHH
Host School: HEC Paris
Period: Fall 2008 from 29th September 2008 til 29th January 2009

Before Arrival

For European students or nationals from the European Economic Area (EEA), the visa to
France is not required neither is the student permit. Citizens from other countries have to apply for
a short stay visa if the exchange period is less than three months.
The insurance is also very important.
If you do not have a European health insurance, you have to have one in France, in addition to many
others like housing insurance or civil liability insurance.
For accommodations, the school offer nice rooms with balcony for the students. It is more affordable
than renting in the city centre. It is more practical to live in the campus since you can just wake up five
minutes before class.
Before arriving to HEC Paris you have to book an accommodation in the campus by paying a deposit.

Upon arrival you can pick up your keys at the residence office which is very easy to find. I received an
envelope with all the information I needed: a map of the campus, the schedule for the welcoming
events and a list of important things to do like giving documents to the international office or just how
to use internet or the phone in the rooms.
There were also many banks offering their services inside the campus everyday for the first week.
It was easy then to open a bank account. They just needed a document you get from the residence
office proving that you have an accommodation.
The first days after I arrived I was very busy and sometimes confused about all the administrative
procedures, but they arranged an information session to clarify everything needed to be done. It was
useful but didn’t answer all my questions. The IS (International student) committee were very helpful to
guide us and give us some advice about the life in campus. They organised the integration week with
many events to get to know the international students within the different programs of HEC.
Studies and courses
The studies in HEC are very similar to what I used to do in Tunisia. I guess we were very
inspired from the French educational system. I had to take eight courses since I needed 30
credits. Each course has from three to five ECTS credits.
They can be intensive like International risk management where I had my final exam in the
beginning of November which means after only a month from starting the course.
Other courses can be very long and it is very common to have the final exams for the fall
semester in January after the holidays.
The teachers give a lot of importance to the participation in class, presentations and mid term
exams. There is a balance in grading between the final exam and all the work you’ve done
during the semester. Sometimes there is not a final exam. You are graded on a presentation
which was the case in corporate finance. It was not an easy one though. It is a valuation case
that required working long hours on excel and reading all the different financial information
in the annual reports and the brokers’ reports. I still enjoyed working on it with my group.
The courses are very close to the professional reality. Besides the theoretical background they
also give an insight about what is happening in the real economy and the professional life
since almost all the teachers have their corporate jobs in addition to giving lectures at school.
It is very interesting to learn from their experience and their knowledge about the field they
are teaching. One very good example is the course of energy and finance where the teacher
gives us always some of his personal experience through the lectures. So we could have a
very realistic image about the market.
The study period was from the 29th of September till the 23rd of January. But I had to stay till
the 29th since I had a presentation for a project. The semester started very late because there
was some renovating works in the buildings. I suppose next year the start date will be more

Extracurricular activities

There are so many things to do in the campus. So many different associations welcome
international students. Every week, you can join new events, conferences, social events…
I personally joined the basketball team. We had some games and competitions and it was
really fun. It is also a way to meet French students and improve your French.
I love sports so I was amazed by the wide range of sports they had. From golf to salsa and
rowing and the list is long.
If you are interested in Finance, HEC bourse is perfect for you. This is the association of
traders on campus (trading room). I wasn’t a member but I could attend some training they
offered about Reuters 3000 Xtra.

The Campus
The location of the campus is far from the city centre. This was the only inconvenience
students were complaining about. We had to take the train or the so called RER, change
another one and then arrive at Paris after one hour.
After all it was not that bad. The campus is near a small town or “ village” called Jouy en
josas. It has a 1600 m² sports hall (tennis, basketball, hand-ball, volleyball, badminton and
climbing wall), 8000 m² of outdoor fields with two soccer pitches (one hard surface and one
turf) and one rugby pitch and one athletics track.
There is a wonderful lake nearby and woods surrounding the campus. Sometimes I could see
some animals jumping out from the bushes: rabbits or deers…
The Campus has a cafeteria where we could meet, talk and have a cup of coffee or a pizza.
The parties were organised in the cafeteria as well and every week the party had a new theme.
For instance Disco Power or les années Powllèges.
The RU : University restaurant was in campus. There is free breakfast and different menus for
lunch and dinner everyday. The food taste was not always the optimum. But taking account of
the cheap price for a meal ( around 4 or 5 euros) , you had very healthy meal or not if you
prefer. There was a lot of choice from the salad bar to fruits to the main dishes.
A nursery is situated just near the residence. Doctors are available certain days in certain
hours, but in case of emergency, you could call and someone from the nursery will take care
of you.
For those who want to discover Paris, you need a whole day to go downtown, do some
sightseeing and take the metro again around the city. Or maybe take the bateau mouche which
is a nice boat that takes you on the seine for a calm tour.
Paris is wonderful. I loved the old buildings, the big shopping centres, and also all the art
museums, theatres, music, the rushing people in the metro and the street musicians.

Some useful links:
Not to get lost:
The school
The transportation:

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