The Experience

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009

The study abroad program at Audencia School of Management in Nantes, France has been amazing. Not only did I learn a lot from this trip in terms of school, but I learned a lot from my host family and the people that I met on this trip.

loc1.JPGBeing the only person from the University of Washington on this summer program was quite nerve racking. However, all of this changed on the first day of school as I learned that there were other people who were also here by themselves. I knew that the only way to not be uncomfortable for the upcoming six weeks was to throw myself into the crowd and meet as many people as possible. Now, I know almost everyone in this summer program because we hang out with each other in and out of class.

Another great thing about this program was getting the chance to interact with the French students. Interacting with them outside of class has allowed me to learn a lot about the French people and culture in such a short amount of time. It was a great opportunity for me as I get a chance to improve my French speaking skills.

As a student, this exchange program has been great, and every minute of it has been a learning experience for me whether it was good or bad. I would encourage everyone to participate in this study abroad program or any other abroad program that they are interested in because of the vast knowledge you will acquire in such a short time.

A Normal Week at School

Monday, July 6th, 2009

loc.JPGSummer classes at Audencia are very similar to that back at UW going from Monday to Thursday. Each class is two hours long with 5-10 minutes breaks in between. My day starts at 9 AM and ends at 1PM. After that, students usually go for lunch around campus or take the train to downtown. Lunch usually last from 1-2 hours every day because French people like to take their time to eat and enjoy. After lunch, there is French class for those students who are taking French. The class is broken into three levels: Beginner, Intermediate, and Advance.

The professors at this school are very energetic and full of enthusiasm.  I enjoy their lectures because what they talk about is interesting. I learn so much everyday going to class, especially about the European Union.

During the weekend, many students travel around to different places such as Bordeaux, Barcelona, Interlaken, Munich, London, Marseille, and etc. Then when all of us meet again for class on Monday, people tell each other stories their weekend activities and all of the great things they did or see. However, at the same time there are many students who choose to stay in town and do sightseeing because Nantes is rich and full of amazing medieval buildings and artworks.

Getting Settled into Nantes

Wednesday, June 24th, 2009

I’m Loc Nguyen, a senior at the Foster School, and I decided to study abroad this summer on a Foster School exchange. I’m participating in a six week program at Audencia Ecole de Management and will do some traveling following the program.

loc1.JPGToday was a very fun day. My host mom cooked muscles for dinner with French fries and salad. Then, later in the evening, the French students invited the American students to hang out with them and get to know them a little bit more. It was a fun night as it gives me an opportunity to know other American kids and at the same time the French students. The French students took us to a bar “le lieu unique”. It was not new to me, but it was still a good time to hang out.

The group that I hang out with seems to be the most diverse out of all the groups. We have an Asian guy, a gay guy, white guy, European guy, European girl, black girl, black guy, and a farm boy. Haha. It’s nice hanging around with these people because we are so different from each other.

From Friends to Family in Three Months

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009

p2241327.JPGAfter spending almost three months in France, I have learned so much about my career, my relationships with people, and myself. First, group projects are just as encouraged at Audencia here as they are back at UW. Before studying abroad, I would feel comfortable in saying that I am a strong team player. I had no idea how much my teamwork skills would grow after being in a group of five people from four different countries. Learning from my teammates’ unique perspectives concerning how to approach and solve problems has been priceless. Also, I’ve learned how different a phone interview is between a live one. It only took me to absolutely embarrass myself and completely blow two phone screenings. Oh well. I now know that accurate preparation is essential and self creation of an interview atmosphere can be vital to your performance.

p2241338.JPGAs you can imagine, being away from home has made me appreciate my family and friends more in Seattle. Also, I’ve learned how quickly newly made friends can become family. A month ago, I spent my first birthday without my family and friends at home. After spending 10 hours at school, I was jamming to my Ipod as I walked home from the tram looking forward to a Nutella sandwich and my bed. As I walked into the residence, I turned to the lobby to see all of my international friends singing to me in front of a table covered with desserts, candy, Spanish hot chocolate, and Candle-topped cake especially for me. It was so touching to see so many people taking the time to make sure my day is special.

p2241339.JPGFor me, travelling abroad has opened my eyes to so many things in the world. Putting it straight, simple, and grammatically incorrect, I’ve learned that “Distance makes the heart go fonder” conquers over “out of sight, out of mind,” Time isn’t borrowed – rather given for a purpose, hot dogs and corn can be a good replacement for expensive veggies and meat when you are experimenting in the kitchen, and a simple change of your attitude can change your whole day.

Start of Spring time

Tuesday, March 24th, 2009

The official start of spring is tomorrow, yet summer time weather is already here! These past few days have been blazing with temperatures around 16C, or 64F. I have been wearing shorts, as back home this weather is quite a pleasant surprise, and getting plenty of looks. Nobody else wears shorts, and when I showed up at school, everyone asked me why I was. I did not think the question was worth answering, so I shrugged it off. I mean 64F, that’s pretty nice.

St. Patty’s Day was Tuesday and the town was rocking. The main Irish pub (where you can watch English Premier League Soccer matches) was packed. The crowd overflowed into the streets around and they even opened a bar outside to serve the customers. Many people from school, Irish and not, came to the gathering to talk and celebrate the patron saint of Ireland, Patrick, who banished all the snakes from the island with his staff.

Oh, and then there are classes. Unfortunately, I have had class all day, everyday this week so there are only sparing moments to enjoy the beautiful weather. But, the two hour lunches do help! More projects are coming and I am meeting more people in my major. It is interesting because you every class with the same people, much different from back at UW.

Now, if you will excuse me, I am going to go enjoy the beautiful weather.

Figuring Out Audencia

Thursday, February 12th, 2009

Hello! I am David Johansson, a senior Business major studying in Nantes, France at the Audencia Nantes Ecole de Management. I am 19 years old and originally from Ferndale, Washington but now reside in Sammamish. I have always wanted to learn about new cultures and travel to another place where people do not have the same view of the world—so I decided to study abroad. Not only do I get to travel, which I love, but I also get to learn about a different culture and get other perspectives on world issues.

My first day in Nantes was interesting. I had no idea what to do, but that made it exciting. First, I went for a walk around the city. I was walking around for about two hours exploring the city and stumbled upon some pretty neat places. The first was Place Royal, a nice open area surrounded by shops and in the middle is a large fountain decorated with royal figures. But the real fun didn’t begin until the first day of school.

At the first day of school, I met many cool people. I had no idea that so many other exchange students lived in the same apartment building that I live in! The first day of school was quite interesting because many of the other exchange students were just as lost around town as I was. But the IC (International Connection) team welcomed us with open arms. The team is comprised of Audencia students who greet us on our first day and are a resource for us to use if we need help with something at school. They showed us around the school and also let us know about the school parties.

The schools here are very unique. The schedule is much different than UW; instead of choosing the classes based upon the time schedule, you choose a major and are assigned the appropriate classes, called “modules.” Classes are divided into three hour sessions, usually twice a day, for most of the week, except Thursdays. Schedules are updated every week or two—most of the time you do not know what classes you will have two weeks later. It is an interesting schedule, something I definitely had to get used to.

Suprises in France

Monday, February 9th, 2009

buddy1.jpgMy name is Buddy Waddington, and I am originally from Renton, Washington. I’m a junior at the Foster School, and I’m studying Marketing. Right now I’m studying abroad at the Audencia Ecole de Management in Nantes, France. The city is in Western France, only 30 minutes away from the Atlantic coast and a two hour train ride from Paris. I’ve been here only a month, and I have already experienced much more than I expected to encounter for my entire stay.

First, living in a place where the first language isn’t your own is an incredibly humbling experience. Taking the first train from Paris to Nantes was surreal. Upon arriving to my studio, I knew that the next six months of my life were going to be incredibly different.

I’ll sum up the atmosphere of Nantes by describing my trip to class. I have to walk out of my apartment, onto the cobblestone streets, and walk about a block to the tram station by the Loire River that runs through town. After waiting 0-2 minutes (the public transportation system here is very nice), I ride into the center of town to switch into the tram that will take me to the college (because if I stayed buddy2.JPGon for two more stops I would arrive at the castle of Duchess Anne, and it’s a school day, so no chateau visits today). Once I’m on the second line, I have about a 12 minute ride through the city filled with bakeries, French windows, and a handful of churches/cathedrals that could be older than the United States. Once I get off at my appropriate stop, I walk into the school, walk under the fountain that shoots water over the walkway in between the library and the café, and head into my classroom.

The students at Audencia are very welcoming. The school is comprised of only around 2000 students, which is just a tad different to the size of UW. The classes are structured very differently, and, like Foster, group work is emphasized. As classes go on, I’ll elaborate on school life here.

In all, my first month in France has been quite the learning experience for me. My other UW counterpart and I have made many friends from all around the world, including Paris, the French Riviera, Tunisia, Ireland, England, Germany, Austria, Colombia, Quebec, Ontario, Mexico, and Sweden. This first month has already made me so appreciative of this opportunity to stretch myself. Time is already zooming by, so I better go and get some things done around here.

Blog finale de la France…

Friday, December 14th, 2007

Joyeux décembre tout le monde!

I hope everyone is doing well and getting ready for Christmas soon! Everything is going well in Nantes but I’m seriously craving some snow. The last month has been very busy with lots of family visiting, exams coming up very soon, and still so bordeaux.jpgmany things I want to see / do/ eat in France.

At the end of October, I made my way down to meet Ellie in Nice for a week of traveling the Côte d’Azur. The coast was absolutely beautiful but I actually preferred the life once we got further into the heart of Provence. Never having truly wine toured before, I had the pleasure of learning all about wine from the experts at Chateauneuf du Pape and other renowned wineries in the region surrounding Avignon. Being that I was with the chef of the family, Ellie and I enjoyed one amazing meal after another… often shutting down the restaurant, which in France means eating until 11 or 12 at night, so I was quite proud of us. (more…)


Thursday, November 8th, 2007

Salut! The last few weeks here have gone really well! In the last month I have been to Bordeaux- which is famous for its wineries, an island called Noirmoutier- known for a particular type of salt called “fleur de sel,” Mont St. Michelle- an astounding chateau built on the top of this rocky island in the northern part of France, right between the borders of Bretagne et Normandie, and took a random day trip to Paris with the Dad in my host family who works there often during the week. (more…)

Paris, Part Deux

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2007

The weekend before last I had the privilege to visit Paris once again, passing by a few quartiers for the second time and exploring some new scenes as well. Not getting out of class until five Friday night, I caught the evening train and arrived in Paris around 9:30… just in time for the end of the France v Ireland rugby match- for those of you who aren’t aware, the Rugby World Cup is currently taking place in France. I met up with my two American friends Ricara and Shay and we found the streets covered people screaming, everyone decked out in their country’s colors, waving flags, some only wearing a flag, etc. Since the World Cup started, I have found this to be the norm on game nights and accept the bleu, blanc, et rouge painted fans screaming in the streets gratefully as they never cease to provide entertainment!