Ryan Whitaker

Date: SP2, 2014
Degree Program: Bachelor of Management (Marketing), Bachelor of International Relations
Host University: KEDGE Bordeaux
Host Country: France


Why did you choose your host university?

I chose my host university because I am interested in pursuing a career in wine marketing and I believed that Bordeaux would offer the best relative experience in order to achieve what I wanted to achieve.

What was the university like?

The university was different to back home, especially in the way that the courses were structured. You only study one class at a time, rather than 3 or 4, and you do that intensively for three weeks and then you have completed that component. Assessment was based on what you had learnt throughout the three weeks. KEDGE was in the process of transitioning into a new building upon my arrival, which meant that I wasn’t able to access the library as commonly as I would have liked, but there are a great deal of other resources (people/computer labs)

Student Ryan Whitaker - FranceWhat did you gain from your exchange experience and has it changed the way you think or altered your approach to life?

I think that my exchange has definitely helped me to grow as an individual and I believe that I have more commitment and passion to follow my dreams and achieve all of my goals, I also have much more worldly understanding coming from the way in which I was constantly surrounded by such a diverse mix of cultures!

What accommodation options were available to you?  How affordable was accommodation and would you recommend the same option to others?

There was the choice of government accommodation which is offered to students with low budgets (was not supported very well by KEDGE administration), but I was told to look for a ‘colocation’ or a room-mate to rent private accommodation. I ended up renting a separate room in a house with an older French lady who was very accommodating and friendly; however accommodation in France isn’t particularly cheap for students on a tight budget.

Describe your travel experiences; did you travel locally or to neighbouring countries? 

Having already visited Europe a few times I had not many places left to visit, so I decided to revisit a few places between class, and also managed to find the time to go on a road trip through Spain and Portugal with a car full of newly made friends. Local travel was also an exciting prospect, with visits to revered wine locations such as Saint-Emilion and also visits to the largest dunes in Europe, the Dune du Pyla.

Student Ryan Whitaker - FranceDescribe how you adjusted to life in a different country and how you met new people.

Adjusting to using a different language every day was challenging, even after two years of studying French at university I still found myself nervous to leave the house in the first week, but after I had met my other international buddies I had more confidence and will to use the new language, therefore challenging myself and improving my French level substantially.

Can you see any benefits from this exchange to your future career?

Certainly, I made many acquaintances and good friends on exchange who are all considerably career driven and excited about new ways of achieving their goals. I believe that being in business with a scope for movement into international business, this international network of people will be incredibly beneficial to my career if I decide to move overseas.

What advice would you give to a student who was hesitant or considering joining the exchange program?

Hesitation is your worst enemy, if you doubt yourself now think about all of the things you will be hesitating about when you are in a completely foreign country, throw away all of your doubts and open yourself up to a whole new world of experiences. 

Top Tips:

Make new friends, learn new languages, fall in love (with cities/people), don’t hesitate, take risks and don’t be boring and stay at your accommodation!

Areas of study and research

+ Click to minimise