All posts by Elisa Mäkinen

Postcard from France

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Greetings from the sunny French Riviera! I have been living and studying now for three months in southern France, Nice. Saying it feels  strange because the time really has flown so fast and my arrival in January feels like a yesterday. Luckily, I still have more than a month left here, there is so much things to do and see. Nice is a cozy and beautiful city and it’s a perfect match of the French and the Mediterranean cultures. All in all I’m very pleased that I chose to do my exhange here.

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I’m studying at IPAG Business School. The campus is quite small and it’s located in the heart of the city, close to the downtown area and in just about 20 minutes walking distance from the beach. The university offers a broad variety of course options and there are something for everyone. I’m studying International marketing and Strategic HRM and in addition to those I have been studying French language and culture. All courses aimed at the exchange students are in English, so you don’t have to be worried about the language things. And generally speaking if I think daily life here, it is not a problem if you don’t speak French. Many people, even young people, don’t speak English at all here but still running daily errands is easy without using French.  So if you ponder doing your exchange in France and especially in Nice, don’t be scared to do it just because you might have some difficulties with the language. However, I recommend to study even the basics of French before arriving here and to choose the French course in IPAG. And I can assure you that living in France will be a effective “language immersion”. You will notice that seeing French every day, everywhere will be the best way to learn it.

IPAG is really different than TAMK in many ways but overall it is a good place to do the exhange. The teaching staff is for the most part professional and lectures are interesting. In almost every course we have lectures and tutorials. Lectures are, naturally, for learning new topics and in tutorials we’re doing some group projects etc. With my four courses I have school about three to four days per week and the schedule changes every week. Lectures and tutorials are one and a half hours longs. We have a lot of group projects etc. but still studying here is quite pleasant.

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I’m sharing my exchange experience with my friend from Finland, so I’m spending my spare time usually with her. Mostly we’re just chilling and seeing other exhange students. At the same time with us, three other Finns came for the Spring semester in Nice. So we have an amazing Finnish group here and also other exhange students have been really nice. There are students from all over the world and the diversity of cultures is really wide. I recommend to participate in many events and be active right from the start. That way it is easier to get to know with many people.

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Thanks to the location of Nice, it is very easy to travel to many places. Especially, I recommend to visit in cities and villages near to Nice (Antibes, Cannes, Villefranche-sur-Mer, Menton, Eze Village, Monaco…). You can take a bus or a train depenging where you’re going. The prices of the public transport are incredible low, the bus ticket for a 75 min journey costs only 1,50€! Also, it is really easy to take a train or a flight to other European countries or for example to Paris. We had two week-long holiday breaks, so there is time to travel around.

Last thing that I want to say is that if you are even a little bit interested in studying abroad, just do it. You will not regret it! Exhange studying is an unique opportunity to see the world, learn new languages and meet new people from new cultures. Also, being abroad will help you to see the good things of your home country and appreciate them more.

– Elisa