joanne

Why did you want to study abroad?

On a personal level I wanted to broaden my horizons, and become more independent by living and travelling on my own. Academically, I was excited to learn about new cultures and working methods.

How was studying abroad different?

Studying at ESCE in Paris was very different to Glasgow Caledonian. Even though the subjects taught are similar, the method of teaching was very different. The students, who spoke at least three languages, showed me just how competitive the international business world is. The whole environment was very competitive, but I enjoyed the challenges that this provided.

What did you learn?

Studying abroad allowed me to connect with a new learning environment and meet a diverse group of people to exchange cultural experiences with. The experience of living and studying in another country has also been magnificent preparation for working abroad, which is what I plan to do when I finish my studies. Since returning from Paris I have constantly felt this urgency to continue to experience new things, meet new people and see new places. I envisage covering all corners of the globe!

What did you gain academically?

Academically, I improved a lot and became a better student. At ESCE the coursework was very practical, with presentations in every class rather than the essays or reports that are regular requirements at my home university. I have been taught how to give a better presentation, and overcame my nerves with all the practice. I have even perfected my time management skills due to the fact of having ten modules instead of my usual three modules per semester.

What else did you enjoy about being abroad?

I loved feeling integrated with the French. Beforehand it had surprised me how exotic they found me with continual questions on what my own country is like, but as the weeks went on I began to feel very European. I realised that I could easily move to another country, learn a new culture and communicate in a shared language. The culture you are born into is not the only culture you can belong to.

What have you done since you came back?

Since coming back in Glasgow, I have been talking to other people about their own Erasmus experiences and how much they enjoyed it. This has made me get involved in welcoming the International students to my home university. On their induction week I took a crowd of Erasmus students on a ‘Glasgow Tour’ to show them around the city and make them feel welcome. Along with a few other students who took part in Erasmus last semester, I have helped set up a society in university to organise fun events for the international students. I feel like I am re-living Erasmus all over again in my own country, and I’m certainly not complaining!

Did studying abroad change you in any way?

I could not recommend the Erasmus experience enough to other students. The year in Paris has changed my outlook on study and work completely. Family and friends have noticed a huge difference in me - my confidence and independence have soared, and I now feel completely mature and ready to get back out into the world when I finish my degree!