Gather round people and listen up. If you’re tossing up whether to go on exchange and where to go – go on exchange, you will not regret it no matter where you go. You will never be in this same situation in your life again where you’re just a student and don’t really have any real responsibilities and even if you do (have real responsibilities), stuff ’em. Go see the world and see it as a local student in Bordeaux or whichever city because it will be one of the greatest decisions you ever make.
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let me tell you a little bit about what I’ve been getting up to since I made one of the greatest decisions of my life.
I left Sydney in mid july, almost two months before uni in Bordeaux (at Kedge Business School) was to start. I went on a crazy 34 day european tour with Topdeck which went from London to Paris down and around in a circle all the way back up to Amsterdam. We walked, hiked, sailed and sky dived. We hit up 18 countries and 22 cities. It. Was. Awesome. (Just going to shamelessly plug the video I made here). After that we stayed in London for a week for some much needed R&R and then flew to Ireland and went on a mini tour there. GO TO IRELAND IT IS AMAZING I LOVE IT TAKE ME BACK.
Like every other person who has written a post on this blog, I am now writing this post in my little apartment looking out of my cute french windows. I have just finished my first cycle* at Kedge and am loving it here in Bordeaux. It is a quaint little city, bustling with students. It really is a student town, with at least 3 other universities that I know of. There are so many great restaurants and there’s always something going on whether its a boat party or a sporting event.
I have yet to visit a chateau and go wine tasting but its on the list. I have, however, been to San Sebastian and Madrid in Spain, Biarritz which is south of Bordeaux and flew to Marrakech in Morocco since settling here. Oh and I casually flew to Lisbon in Portugal for my birthday last month.
My apartment is rented through airbnb and is a small but cozy space located in Gambetta which is basically the city centre. I am literally 5 minutes walk from all the important things you would need e.g. a huge shopping strip, the bank, the tram card office, french visa admin office, a few supermarkets, cinema and eleventy billion restaurants. Kedge is about 30 minutes away, door to door, but its worth the mini trek.
Although I am renting through airbnb, it doesn’t mean we aren’t given options for accommodation. Melting Potes, a super helpful association at Kedge, did offer to find us an apartment as well as student dorms near the university and around the city. They also helped with things like creating bank accounts, acquiring sim cards and other administrative things. As long as we ask, they will try their best to solve any issues we are having. They also host a bunch of events and outings for all the international students. On top of that, everyone here is just really friendly, local or international!
At Kedge, the students are really into their associations. Like really into them. They have societies for everything from sport to arts to wine tasting and of course one especially for international students, Melting Potes. They are all mainly student run. Here, they also focus a lot on group work and participation, more so than UTS does. In saying that, I think it is a really good experience to have as we are working with and meeting people from all over the world and can truly experience how others think as well as just other ways of life in general. I wouldn’t say that the work is hard but if you go to the classes and complete the work given to you, it should be an easy pass (at the very least). I am also taking french language classes which has been a huge help as I had an extremely basic knowledge of the language before I left. If I had the choice to go back and start again, I would have probably taken a crash course in French before coming over here. However, most people can speak english, especially the younger people and since it is a student town they aren’t too hard to find.
*Cue corny bit* This has honestly been a life changing experience. I now know that there is a lot that I don’t know. I have learnt so so much and have so much more to learn. From every bad thing to every good thing that has happened, from every place to every person I have seen and met, not one thing has made me wish I had not come on exchange.
I would recommend going on exchange in the beautiful city of Bordeaux to everyone. But if getting to know the ins and outs of a city in a matter of weeks is not for you, going on exchange anywhere in the world will be one heck of an experience.
Levina Wong 11690397
* Kedge does this thing where the classes are in ‘cycles’. There are 8 cycles (one month each) in a year and you can do a maximum of 2 subjects in one cycle. We only have to do 3 if you choose to do two subjects per cycle and are only doing one full time semester on exchange. That is what I am doing so I’ll be done by early december.