I study International Business at TAMK. I completed a double degree in France which means I did two semesters instead of one. I lived in Bordeaux which is located in the southwest of France and known for its spectacular wines. The experience was enriching and memorable. I got to travel to many countries (e.g. Morocco, Italy, Belgium, Portugal), learn new things regarding my field of study, meet amazing people and make lifelong friends.
Studying was quite the same as at TAMK – a lot of group work and presentations. The first semester I studied with mostly French students as opposed to the second semester when all students in my class were international. A lot of emphasis was placed on the final exams and it was a bit harder to get good grades compared to TAMK – at least in the first semester when everything was new and unfamiliar. My favorite course was Luxury Marketing because I’m interested in the topic. Other favorites were International Marketing and Corporate Strategy because the teachers were very inspiring. I also took a Wine Business course and had a wine tasting in class which was unique and interesting. I got to learn a lot about wines since it’s a big part of Bordeaux’s identity.
I spent most of my free time with my new friends having dinners or picnics or going to museums. Bordeaux is a very beautiful and lively city so there’s always something to do. I also tried spinning aka indoor cycling classes for the first time in my life which I ended up enjoying a lot and continued that as a hobby throughout my stay. There were a lot of opportunities and clubs/societies in the university but I didn’t join them since they required committing and I wanted to be able to travel whenever possible.
The weather in Bordeaux was quite hot in the fall but rainy during the winter. I enjoyed not having to experience Finnish winter and all the snow, haha. People were very nice and welcoming. Even though not all spoke fluent English, they still tried to help out however they could. My French language skills definitely developed during my stay there.
Overall, the experience was unforgettable and special. I learned and evolved a lot as a person. I can’t recommend enough for everyone to go to a study exchange. Just go and travel to new places and remember to keep an open mind.
(all photos are mine)