Tag Archives: France

Greetings from the pink city, Toulouse, France.

I had first planned to do my practical training here, in Finland. But the Corona situation complicated everything, especially for a foreign student.

Picture: Town of Toulouse

But getting an internship in my hometown (Toulouse) was far from being a bad thing. I could see my family every day, which is most enjoyable since I am leaving in Finland permanently for 7 years now. On top of this working in a research centre that I have been wanted to work at for a long time, made me very motivated.

 

 

Pyrénées Mountains

I was not leaving in the countryside of Toulouse, in a village called Deyme, which is in my opinion much better than the crowded centre of Toulouse. I have spent a lot of time hiking in the mountains nearby and just walking around with my dog. I enjoyed going to neighbours and friends houses for lovely diner and talks.

 

I was working at the INRAE research centre, in the Laboratory for Plant-Microbe-Environment Interactions.

The research center, INRAE, Toulouse

Working in France and in Finland has been quite the same experience for me so far. Besides the language difference, all places I have been working at had a relaxed atmosphere. Even the coffee consumption is quite even in both countries!  The main difference may be the way we interact with our supervisors/boss, the hierarchy in France is usually well marked (behaviour and speech) even if this tends to change little by little or depending on the companies.

 

All in all, it was a great internship, where I learned a lot, and I spent a wonderful time with my family. I might do it again if I have the opportunity!

 

Greetings from Codolet, France

I had planned to do my practical training abroad, but the pandemic made me do it at home, in France, which in the end was not that bad. I had the chance to work on a site I had always wanted to visit when I was a kid as it was very close to my village.

So I started working on the nuclear site of Marcoule for Veolia Water. There were in charge of the wastewater, rainwater, drinkable water and distilled water treatment and monitoring for the whole site. The training lasted 2 months and a half and my mission was to summarize all the penalties Veolia could face and all the actions they will have to fulfil if the get the tender. I also got to go on field to do some sampling and learn about the water cycle of the site. (Map of Marcoule, areva)

 

 

I was living with my in the city were I grew up as a kid and saw how much it has  changed since the last time I had been there. It gave me the opportunity to get in touch with my family as I do not see then that often due to my studies and it was extremely pleasant. I also got to see my colleagues from the daycare center and the kids I had worked with for so many summers. (Lake of Codolet, Codolet.fr)

 

My work schedule allowed me to have a lot of free time, and even days off due to the annual closing of the sites. Thanks to that, I travelled to the mountains with a friend and got to see stunning landscapes, we had to hike for a whole to get to the top and to see the 7 wonderful lakes, but it was completely worth it. Obviously as there were lakes, I had to take a swim in one of them, after a long walk I recommend to try it, the cold water gave me my energy, my legs and my feet back for the end of the hike.

Results of the hike in the mountains. (Author)

It was a very good experience and I absolutely do not regret doing my Practical Training in my hometown !

Memories from Lyon

I did my first ever exchange studies in Lyon, France in the fall of 2019. I had been in France before a couple times, but never in Lyon. So the city was new to me. I got an apartment right by the river with another exchange student from my school, so we had a nice view from our balcony.  On spare time I would meet up with other exchange students to hang out or go sightseeing. Studying in France was more relaxed than in Finland. I expected more work and stricter rules, but we hardly had any homework, except for a couple projects. We also went for a school trip to Italy to visit milk farms and Parmigiano-Reggiano factories. It was fun to see how cheese was made, and a good opportunity to get to know our fellow students.

(View of Vieux Lyon)

For school we mainly did practical studies, for example we made chocolate pudding in the school’s laboratory to figure out how to decrease food waste in the process. I would also take advantage of Lyon’s position in the map to visit other cities close by. Almost every other weekend I went to a new city to experience a different atmosphere. I had a lot of fun during my exchange and I’m very glad I chose to go to Lyon.

 

(Mount Blanc, seen from the city of Chamonix)

Salutations de Lyon!

I went on a study exchange to Lyon with my friend from the same class. On our course (sustainable development in food industries) we have quite similar classes and assignments (lots of teamwork) as in TAMK. Also we get to take part in a case that is given by a real company in France. Course consisted of a class trip in nothern Italy in the end of September. We visited companies such as Parmigiano Reggiano, Lavazza, Granarolo, Parma Ham and Alpina Savoie. We got to spend the nights in a hostel that used to be monastery, which was cool and different.

There are different choices to move from A to B, you can use public transport (bus, trams, metro + even one funicular) and electric scooters or city bikes. Every now and then there’s some manifestations (mostly calm), so some public transport lines might be cut off because of them. In the beginning of December started a strike which affected a lot on public transport.

Lyon is the food capital of France and you can sense those nice vibes especially in old town. Praline pastries are the specialty and you can find all different kinds of versions of it all around the city. One of the big attractions of Lyon is definitely Parc de la Tête d’Or, which is a very big park that includes a lot of different things: open zoo, normal park area, botanical greenhouses, rose garden, several kiosks etc. On Saturdays there were nice outside markets, where you could buy vegetables, fruits, meat, cheese, fried chicken, clothes, flowers.. and mostly cheaper than in stores. Our place (rented apartment from a private landlord) was located right next to Rhône river, which was very splendid and convenient at the same time.

One weekend in November we visited Nice, Cannes and Monaco. We used cheap Flix buses and trains to travel. Nice was my favourite, with the turquise sea water it was breathtakingly beautiful. It also wasn’t really the turist season, so it wasn’t so packed with people.

Studying methods were mostly familiar, as we use a lot of same ones in TAMK. Teachers and students have a different kind of relationship, feels like it’s a little bit more distant in France. Communication between teachers and students is also not as good as I’m used to, but I think the language barrier is the biggest issue in this case. Eating breaks are longer in France, they could be 1,5-2 hours, so with many other exchange students we asked for small possible change in that (after that we started evening classes about 0,5h earlier if it was possible for the teacher).

Au revoir!

Des moments inoubliables à Bordeaux!

I spent my exchange studies in France, in Bordeaux for this spring. It is a typical French city, the wine capital city of the world and it is like a small Paris. I loved it! All the people are so friendly, buildings are beautiful and Garonne river flows through the city. It is located in the Southwest of France, near to Spain and Atlantic Ocean. The city is perfect size, you can walk almost everywhere or jump into the tram so easily. It is a perfect city for the students.

I studied in a private business school, BBA INSEEC, and I chose the IBM 1 program which consists of three-week modules and it is in English. Studying was pretty much the same kind of as we have at TAMK, including group work and oral presentations. I studied personal development, cross cultural understanding, marketing and leadership modules as well as French for foreigners. The group size was small and it consisted mainly of exchange students. I liked that a lot because when we all were in the same new situation, I got a lot of new friends! The school helped me to find an accommodation too. They had a website in collaboration with “Studapart” and I rent a room from the comfort, renovated flat with roommates.

The weather felt so warm already and Bordeaux really showed its best sides on warm sunny days. I spent my free time with my new friends. We often went to drink coffee, sightseeing, shopping to the Rue Sainte-Catherine shopping street, do a picnic to the garden or for example bowling. I loved the French food: macarons, baguettes, croissants, crêpes and cheese, they were so delicious! We made the trips to Toulouse and near to the Pyrenees, to the city of Lourdes.

I really enjoyed the time I spent over there even thought it was a shorter period because of the coronavirus pandemic. The best things about the exchange studies are that you meet a lot of new people, you can strength your language skills and get courage, as well as see a lot of new beautiful and interesting places alongside studies. It was an unforgettable experience!

The wine city with a lot of offerings

I really like the way Kedge Business School takes the approach on studies and how the professors take their jobs seriously and in the most professional sense, yet providing all sorts of beneficial information and helping students reach their personal goals and also the course objectives.

I love how each professor talks about their experience and linking it to a methodology and explaining how it could work in a real life situation and how they have faced challenges in career because of certain experiences or mindset. Although, strictly speaking this would not be part of the course, however, most of the teachers believe in self-improvements when it comes to students and if their own experiences can provide assistance or something they can relate or learn from that not only gets students to actively participate but also ask more questions and learn about more things in general.

In a double degree program you may be thinking that a lot of stuff would be repetitive, but you would be surprised to learn the same course may have a different approach on the topic and what sort of learning objectives that teacher may set. However, the methodologies may be the same but a different approach on the same topic could raise a lot of questions and sharing of experiences, hence, enhancing the learning.

Moving on, when you have time for yourself Bordeaux and the cities neighboring it could offer very heart-warming site seeing and a great time with friends. Not so far, from Bordeaux is a place called Arcachon which is known for its beaches and breath-taking experiences. Image result for arcachon bay"

It is a great way to spend an afternoon/evening with the friends and just go surfing or sunbathe in this beautiful area and the people are quite welcoming and friendly of tourists and students.

In my experiences, the food is quite expensive comparatively to Finland and if you think the rents in Finland are high wait till you see how much a student accommodation may cost in Bordeaux, France. However, even though it may be expensive but the quality of food is something to die for and certainly offers tastes that you would only experience from a French Kitchen.

Furthermore, in terms of studies Kedge is quite similar to TAMK in many ways, teachers genuinely want to help students and are available for them to clear doubts and provide further feedback on their assignments/work. Nonetheless, it is different in its own way and just the way one can create networks in Kedge is something very interesting and not what you may think or experience in Finland.

However, during my last months I can see the similarities and differences in terms of experiences and the significance of the learning outcome form them. All in all Bordeaux, would be an amazing place to go for an exchange, just if you remember to book an accommodation, WELL ahead of time due to the shortage, other than that you are sure to meet a lot of people with multicultural backgrounds, inevitably creating a very informative and learning environment. A word of advice would be to try as many Macarons and Chocolatines (chocolate pastry) as you can, it is worth treating yourself to that after or before a long day at the university.

Mon printemps à Paris

I spent my study exchange in Paris for almost five months in the spring of 2018. My exchange was at the ESCE International Business School, which is one of the few schools and universities that have their campus in central Paris, located 1 km from the Eiffel Tower. The campus is relatively small with 2500 students and for each semester around 100 exchange students.  

The courses I undertook were a mix of bachelor and master level courses in interesting subjects like international mobility and EU lobbying, with credits mostly ranging from two to four per course. My courses were all in English and mostly with other exchange students, because local students tend to choose the French teaching. Lectures are similar to TAMK, with quite much group work and projects, but that is all dependent on the teacher’s style. Compared to Finland more work is done individually outside school hours and exams are more comprehensive and demanding.  

However, the relaxed schedule at university gave me the opportunity to explore Paris and surrounding areas very well! As a self-proclaimed foodie, I spent my spring eating my way through Paris, and exploring all the corner bistros offering wines sold by the term piscine aka pool, the closer to summer it got. My home area, 11th arrondissement, became very familiar, and nearby Coulée verte René-Dumont is my favourite park in Paris, with Jardin Des Plantes close second.  

Overall, Paris is not all of France, but its own entity with fast pace and endless opportunities. I strongly advice everyone to travel outside of Paris to see the difference in lifestyle and of people’s attitude to life. I would recommend exchange in Paris to anyone, even if your French is not very good, as a simple “Parlez-vous Anglais?” will result in French people actually communicating fully in English after the initial proclamation that they speak “a little” English onlyParis will forever have a  piece of my heart!

 

Photo credit: Emmi Korhonen

Bisous from Paris!

I have now been studying here in Paris for a few months now and I love it. Paris seems to be a place that needs a bit more time to be fully understood and appeciated. A small holiday here just isn’t enought. I am so happy that I got the chance to experience this beautiful city with time and that I could really dive in to the culture. I have enjoyed seeing beautiful architecture, going a round small galleries, all the little book shops as well as eating amazing food.

I have been studying marketing as well as luxury retail and have been pleased with my studies. I enjoy the topics and have made alot of new friends. These courses will help me in the future with my up-coming jobs, for sure. During my spare time I enjoy drinks and good food with my friends, take a lot of pictures and just relax.

Studying here is pretty different when you compare it to studying in Tampere. Tampere is so much more relaxed as a city and you can’t really feel that people are in a hurry or that they are stressed. Paris is very hectic and it seems that the studying culture is too. It is much more fast paced here in France.

I hope it is sunny in Finland!

Best regards from Paris,

 

Milja

Bonjour de Nice!

I started my exchange semester at IPAG Business School, Nice, in the end of August 2018. The time has gone by so fast and now as it is already December, my study exchange has almost come to its end. That’s why, as a tip number one: you should enjoy the exchange while it lasts because time flies when you are having a great time!

And indeed, I have had the time of my life in the French Riviera. Studying at IPAG has been quite nice, although you should be prepared that it is not even closely as organised as in Finland. My favorite courses at IPAG have been French Culture & Civilization and the French classes, and I would definitely recommend them for anyone who is going to study at IPAG. Especially the French classes have been the best language classes that I have ever had in my life – the teacher was extremely entertaining but at the same time I was able to improve my French skills more than ever before. The teacher talked only French during the classes, which was also a very effective way to learn French.

As mentioned before, studying in France is a bit different when compared to Finland. For me it took some time to get used to the French style of the lectures. For instance, when having an exam, some of the teachers expect you to remember everything that they have said in the class, but what cannot be found anywhere written down in the course materials. After I learned this, I started to write everything down that the teachers said during the lectures.

When it comes to free time, the French Riviera has so much to offer. I’ve been enjoying especially the vibrant student life and the beautiful city of Nice in general. During the first two months the weather was unspeakably gorgeous with the temperature of up to +30 (or more) degrees Celsius. Most of this time I spent lying on the beach after school and getting to know the sight-seeings, as well as the lively nightlife of Nice. Something worth to mention too is la cuisine française, which will never let you down. I have tasted the most amazing things in France, and cooked delicious meals together with my roommate. What I have learned is that the French food culture is so much more than wine and cheese, and it will always keep surprising you positively.

In my opinion, it is hard to run out of things to do in the French Riviera. Nice has many beaches and other stunning places to see and it is surrounded by beautiful villages which are easy to get to with paying only 1,50 euros for the bus. So far I have been to Monaco, Antibes, Èze, Villefranche-sur-Mer and Marseille. In addition, it is very easy to travel to other countries from Nice and it is possible to do so even by bus or train. For example, I was in Italy together with some of my classmates (which was awesome). We travelled by bus and train only and visited Venice, Florence and Milan. As Nice has a broad variety of cultural events as well, I went to Maître Gims‘ concert, which was held at Palais Nikaïa. Maître Gims is a Congolese-born French singer and my favorite artist at the moment.

Something that everyone should know who are interested in living in France, is the French culture of protests and strikes. Especially during my exchange semester, there have been many protests in the whole France, including Nice. So far it has been safe in Nice during the protests, but you should take into consideration that the public transportation may not work during those days and furthermore, you should definitely not reserve a trip to Paris when the worst protests are going on (like I did, though couple of weeks beforehand and without the knowledge of the future events).

What I didn’t know before coming to Nice is that it can be a bit rainy and cloudy in November–December. So if you plan to stay here during the autumn or winter, I recommend you to bring an umbrella with you (because I didn’t)! What also surprised me is that there are many type of activities to do in Nice also in the autumn/winter time. For instance, my friends and I have been ice-skating multiple times and there is also a beautiful Christmas market and Christmas lights decorating the streets in December. We have also been swimming in the sea still in December, which is quite unusual for me. The sea water is still quite warm, around +17 degrees Celsius.

All in all, I would definitely recommend exchange studies in Nice. I can guarantee that you will not get bored easily and you will definitely have the best time of your life, as I have. Once you settle to live in Nice, the city will never leave your heart.

 

Bonne chance avec votre expérience étrangère,

Elina Oksanen

Life in Nice

Bonjour!

I have been living in Nice for one month now and I really enjoy life here. It’s still really warm, even  +30 degrees. The sun shines every day and the city is very beautiful. French people are kind and I have settled here well. I study  in IPAG Business School and there are many exchange students here. I have school almost every weekday, Mondays are always free. The classes are quite different compared to TAMK. We have lectures and tutorials. During the tutorials the group is smaller and students make group work, projects and the teaching is more individual than during the lectures. The teachers speak English very well and they are passionate about their subjects. We are going to have midterm exams before the holiday in October and then final exam before Christmas. The classes are mixed with exchange students and French students, which is nice.

During my free-time I go to the gym almost every day, hang out at the beach or go to cafes with my friends. On the weekends we sometimes go to restaurants to eat and spend time. I have also visited other cities near Nice, such as Cannes, Monaco and Antibes. It’s very easy to go from town to town with train or car. I have also went to many other beaches in the area.

I like the French way of living. The sunshine, warm weather and all the great food are making this exchange period amazing and I’ll definitely enjoy my stay in here!