Taking International Business to the French Alps
Having already completed a placement at IMB, BSc (Hons) International Business student Anna Nguyenova gained the experience of a lifetime when she embarked on a study abroad opportunity at the University of Grenoble in the French Alps. Anna told us about her time studying in France and soaking up the French culture...
Why did you decide to study abroad?
Coming from a very diverse background, I have always been interested in getting to know different cultures and passionate about learning different languages. I had previously learnt French language in school, which was one of the reasons why I was very happy to undertake a study semester at the University of Grenoble in the French Alps.
Did you receive support from the staff at Salford?
I had various 1-2-1 sessions with the International Exchange Programme Coordinator with whom I could discuss what my study abroad options were and who gave me a lot of support throughout the process of deciding where I wanted to go and how I could get there. I also appreciated the pre-departure briefing session for all outgoing students that was organised by the International Opportunities Team. The session was very informative and helped me feel more prepared for my departure.
How was studying at your host institution different?
The exchange programme at the Grenoble University is very well organised and, moreover, it is directly planned for the University’s incoming students. I could select the classes I wanted to take (as long as they were part of the curriculum) and the classes were all taught in English, except for the French language class during which the teacher spoke French.
The grading system is also very different from the one in the UK, but nothing was too complicated to understand as we received a lot of support from the hosting institution.
What was your favourite experience while abroad?
It is very difficult to have only one thing that I loved about my study abroad as the whole semester was my favourite experience. I enjoyed learning about the French culture, speaking French on a daily basis, meeting and talking to people from different backgrounds, travelling around the country, experiencing a different teaching system, the incredible nature of the French Alps and more.
Being able to live in a different country for some time is an invaluable experience which everyone can only benefit from. I learnt to be more independent, open minded, interested in getting to know different people, cultures and places, and I made a lot of new friends who I have stayed friends with even now.
What challenges have you faced?
Of course every new beginning is a bit tough and moving to a different country by myself was not the easiest thing to do. I felt lonely the first couple weeks as I did not know anyone and I felt very unfamiliar with the local culture. But the teachers at the hosting university were very supportive and once I met other students who I made friends with, the initial feelings I felt sad about went away.
What have you gained from this experience?
I improved my French language skills, learnt a lot about the local culture and habits, made many new friends, got to have my mind more open and became more independent.
What would you say to someone considering studying or working abroad?
I completely understand why undertaking an exchange programme abroad might sound very scary, but I would advise everyone considering it that it truly is an invaluable experience that you will not forget about. Our university gives a great support to all outgoing students and from my experience, the hosting university is very friendly, too. Every student I know who has experienced studying abroad agrees with me on one thing – that they had the time of their lives.
What are your future plans?
I have just completed a one year placement experience as part of my course and now I am ready for my final year at the university. As I am very passionate about languages, I would like to have my focus directed to an international level and work outside the country or even Europe once I have finished my studies.