Celia Hardy

Date: SP5, 2016
Degree Program: Double Degree of Laws and Business (Marketing)
Host University: Toulouse Business School
Host Country: France


Why did you choose your host university?

I chose TBS because I studied French in school and was keen to go and experience the culture for myself! I chose France also because it’s a very central European country and a great place to be in order to travel around in my spare time. I chose TBS over the other French universities because I was interested in experiencing the south of France, rather than being in the big city of Paris. Also, I was recommended by the previous exchange coordinator that the school was great as it is a specialty business school, which is the area of study that I am most interested in.

What was the university like?

It was very different to UniSA! In nearly every way. First of all it is a private business school rather than being a University, which is why it is so different. There are two campuses, the Bachelor campus however is around 45 minutes via public transport from the city centre. The campus is rather small, with just one cafeteria, one computer area, a library and the rest of the rooms classrooms. The school is split into the English Track and French Track, meaning lessons in English or French language. I did 6 subjects in the semester, of which I only had 3 exams at the end of the semester. The other 3 were marked through assignments. The subjects were moderate in difficulty, of all 6 subjects I only struggled slightly with two.

Most if not all of the assignments are done as a group, which was great to get to know everyone in the class. The exchange team and all staff in fact were very helpful to exchange students, and if not a quick trip to the front office could usually answer any burning questions. The public transport to and from the campus is one of the only issues I came across, purely because you have to leave around an hour to get to and from (obviously depending on where your accommodation is). Most if not all of the assignments are done as a group, which was great to get to know everyone in the class.

Student Samantha Leahy - UKWhat did you gain from your exchange experience and has it changed the way you think or altered your approach to life?

The best thing I gained from being on exchange was – as cliché as it sounds – learning so much about myself I didn’t already know. I think living in a foreign, non English speaking country is amazing because it forces you out of your comfort zone and you can learn so much about yourself. I absolutely loved getting to know such a beautiful city, and getting to know some incredible French and international people who will be my friends for life. I have definitely grown up significantly since being away, and that has definitely shaped who I am as a person and the decisions I now make.

I now am very interested in saving my money whilst at uni and planning a trip overseas once or twice a year, as travelling is a new passion of mine. My horizons have been broadened and I now have so much more respect for the people around me, not only at Uni but at my workplace and my family too. It made me realise not only how amazing the world is, but also made me appreciate living in Australia, particularly Adelaide as it really is an amazing country.

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

The Uni didn’t have it’s own student accommodation but there is some attached to the city campus that looked relatively nice compared to other student accommodation I saw. The university, in the lead up to your arrival in Toulouse will send a document with some of their recommended student accommodations and private flats in the area, which is where I found my apartment. It was around the corner from the city campus, and was relatively small but perfect size for two people. I lived there with a fellow UniSA student and we paid €500 each per month. This was around the same price as most accommodation, however it was a lot nicer and included all the relevant insurance and electricity fees etc that many didn’t. Overall I was so happy with the apartment and would definitely recommend using the recommended accommodations from the university.

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

I travelled for exactly a month through Europe before starting the exchange in Toulouse. I went to the UK, Greece, Italy and Spain. Then whilst I was on exchange I visited Paris 3 times by train, and also visited Belgium to see some friends studying there during my mid term break. It is very easy to travel from France, however I found it expensive to travel within France by train. However there are cheaper options for travel such as BlaBla Car (car pooling app) that I didn’t use, but the trip to and from Paris is a bit too long to carpool.

Describe how you adjusted to life in a different country and how you met new people.

The university was great in terms of integrating the international students within themselves but also with the French students. There were so many initial events to get to know everyone which were great, but in the classes its so easy to meet everyone anyway. Their buddy program wasn’t amazing, but it really didn’t matter because the students took it upon themselves to be as accommodating and helpful as they could be. Its easy to be anti social on the weekends when you haven’t met many people yet and it took me a while to get the confidence to plan things with classmates on the weekend but once you do there’s no turning back! It’s a big part of the French culture to have coffee and a drink after school and at night so we did that at least a few times a week with my group of friends. We even went to the beachside town of Hossegor one weekend just for fun!

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

I absolutely can, not only has it inspired me to start studying French this year but it has also inspired me to spend some time overseas working once Uni is finished. That kind of ambition is sure to be very beneficial to my future careers. I also think having this exchange mentioned on my resume will show that I am willing to be pushed outside my comfort zone which is a great trait to have in employment. Hopefully future employers will value that I went on exchange to France, and hopefully it means I may be able to return to the country to work one day!

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

I say every uni student should go on exchange. And I can say that with 100% confidence. I think its one of the most amazing things, to be able to travel and study at the same time, and have all of the amazing experiences I had along the way. My uni experience would never have been as fulfilled without this exchange. Yes, there are ups and downs along the way but they only make you stronger as a person and more ready for the “big wide world”. And if you’re worried about moving to a non-English speaking country, don’t be! As soon as people find out you’re Australian they’ll help you with anything! I was very good at pushing myself to do things that seemed too hard before I left, but now I’m ready for anything you throw at me.

Top Tips:

My top tip is to get organised early, in every sense of the word. Start saving as soon as you think of going on exchange. Speak to your program director about your subjects as soon as you can, this was the major issue for me and if I had got on top of it sooner I would’ve been saved a world of pain! Start getting in contact with your preferred exchange university options to find out their curriculum, and start looking for housing. I was recommended by numerous people to actually wait till I was over there to choose where to live, and stay in a hotel while that was all being sorted out. I absolutely do not recommend doing this, as Toulouse is a student dominant city, everything sells and is rented out so quickly. You must get your accommodation sorted out as soon as the host university has accepted you. Good Luck!

Areas of study and research

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