December 18, 2017, by Guest Blogger
5 tips for studying abroad
I’m Maddy and I’m a third year Management and French student currently on a semester abroad at KEDGE Business School in Bordeaux, France and I want to share 5 tips for people considering or planning to study abroad.
Join the international student’s society and get involved in international student’s welcome week
Most host schools have one and if they don’t find your city or towns ESN/Erasmus Facebook group!
90% of my friends here are international students which is nice because; everyone is in the same boat (being far from home), everyone is keen to explore and travel during the weekends/weeks off and I’ve learnt a lot about different countries and cultures. I would strongly recommend going to the organised events in the first few weeks. Even if you go alone, you’ll leave with 5 new friends!
Student accommodation in France is very different to the UK. Halls of residence (CROUS) are limited and you must meet quite specific criteria to be eligible for a room which can still be far from the campus. Bordeaux is a big city and finding appropriate accommodation was challenging. Most French students opt. for privately rented studio apartments – which can be tricky to sort out from a different country/before arriving. I’m not sure of the situation in other countries, but I would strongly recommend contacting your home school for the details of any students who are currently in the city/at the university you plan on studying in for advice on housing. Try to contact them for advice and suggestions – they might even be able to put you in touch with their landlord!
Take modules taught in the language of the country you’re studying in
As a French student taking French modules was a requirement, but they’ve been my only opportunity to meet French people (KEDGE is an international business school with around half of the classes taught in English). It was initially daunting but it’s been a great way to improve my language skills, make friends and learn more about French culture.
Keep a journal/diary
I’ve never been disciplined enough to keep a diary but I made a conscious effort to document the highs and lows of my days especially at the start of my trip. It really helped me to reflect on my days and keep things in perspective. When I read back my first few entries its crazy how far I’ve come. Now that I’m settled in I’m a lot busier, but I know I’ll appreciate taking the time out of my day to document key events in the future.
Write a bucket/travel list for your time abroad
On my flight to Bordeaux I wrote a list of all the things that I wanted to do and all the places that I wanted to visit during my 3.5 months in the South West of France – museums, nearby towns/cities, etc. It’s been such good motivation to explore and plan activities and to keep on top of my aims. I’m hoping to leave Bordeaux this month feeling like I’ve made the utmost of my semester studying abroad.
I hope these tips will help anyone considering or planning a semester/year studying abroad. It’s been an incredible experience so far and I couldn’t recommend it more.