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Student Exchange


Uncle Fester

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Hello everyone, my first post.

My Son has been offered the chance to take a year in France to study politics at Lille university. This will be as a student exchange. He is currently a 2nd year politics student at Nottingham Trent university. After the year he will return to Nottingham to complete his degree. I understand one other student will go too.

My son and I speak very little French. We have no experience of renting property or living in France. I understand he will have to rent a flat privately.

As such we don't really know what questions to ask. What we want to know is everything we need know to avoid problems and make his stay as smooth as possible.

What advice can you give us?

 

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Can't the university provide advice about this?  Have other students done this in previous years, for example.  If so, perhaps it could be arranged for your son to take over their accommodation.  My daughter will also be doing a year abroad, but hopes to go as an Assistante in a French school.  We don't yet know where she is going, but she was told that if she was replacing another student, she might be able to acquire their accommodation.  Sorry I can't offer any actual advice - I'll be watching this spot, as information provided to you, may be useful to me too.

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Uncle Fester - I am afraid I cannot offer specific advice about the questions you have asked, but I would like to suggest a bit of general advice...

Presumably your son's year in France will start about September this year? If that is the case, whilst I fully accept he has other studies, I would strongly advice him to get a crash course in French. He has 4 or 5 months and you may be surprised as to how much he will learn in that time. I am in my late 50's and studying French - I would imagine his learning capacity is far greater than mine and, as such, could amass lots of the basics by September.

The reason I suggest this is because I have found, in general, French people are charming and so helpful if they hear you making the effort to speak their language in their country. My wife and I have even received an impromptu lesson from a very helpful French couple in a restaurant whilst we enjoyed meals at adjacent tables!

Very best wishes to your son in his studies.

Mel                

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A friend of mine did this.  She did a year's vetirinary medicine in Paris (and lied about her ability to speak French!) She had a great time, and found shared accommodation with a number of other students through the uni'.  But I'll ask her for a few more details for you (she's now head vet' at Jo'berg zoo, btw.)
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Uncle Fester - I did a university exchange and I admit that it was fraught with problems.  The university did not get involved at all. I was expected to make my own arrangments.  It was a disaster in some aspects - a student allowed me to sleep on her floor but I ran out of money to eat etc.  She then chucked me out when she discovered that my counterpart, who had gone from the French university to my UK one, was being treated badly there.  I was vulnerable and was nearly raped by some Tunisian students, who had befriended me (fortunately someone rescued me but it was a close-run thing).

However, it was life changing. It consolidated my French and it was interesting to compare the systems.  I read geography and the French university geog was the equivalent of my British 'A' level (the bacc only takes students to a lower level of study for each subject).  Some of the French lecturers took pity on me and gave me accommodation and so I saw the sweet nature of some people.

On balance, despite the set backs, I'm glad that I went.

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My goodness Cathy what an awful experience, but i guess you must be one of those people in life that sees the glass half full! Its a good way to be. 

I think placements are a great idea, but they need to be well organised  and it does depend on the nature and resilience of the person that participates. 

Deby

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Interesting to read  as my neighbours daughter has to go the other route, French,speaks fairly good english, has to go to UK,pref London for min 6weeks -12 weeks. on her own steam find a NON-PAYING job and pay her own expenses for accomodation to complete her course for her diploma.  Her main interests are fair-trade and renewable energy. The day she explained about fair-trade in UK there was a fairly negative article in the Mail.   I did sugest that perhaps one of the major stores may give her work experience and pay for accomodation/meals

Any advice,suggestions or help will be passed on. She also speaks German and Italian I believe.

Regards.

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Thanks everyone.

This will be the first year that a student exhange will have taken place between the two Universities. As a result there is no accomodation for him to take over. Nor is there any experience to draw upon from the Universities. We have been told to sort it out ourselves.

There is a list of accredited housing. Basicaly this means its been checked and comes up to a standard. Uni's here do the same.

His uni is sorting out some French lessons and I have leant him my CD's, not that I ever managed to learn from them.

So, I am taking him out to Lille soon to see what I can find out.

Are there any common pitfalls to avoid in renting a flat for a year? I don't know what lease terms are normal in France.

I spoke to a French friend. She advised to try and get a flat share with French girls as they would be easier to get along with than boys.

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Sue, there is Facebook here and Bebo.

One of the Problems with Anglo / French exchanges is the two different systems.

If you are in France and you are on a course run by ANPE you have to find your own Stage Practical, No one does it for you.

At Uni you find your own accomadation , buy your own books etc, and inter react with the others within your subjects.

And of course France being bigger most of the people within the class will most probably not even be from the same region nor mind the same department.

My daughter has been French educated since 7 years old and is reading English at Uni, she is having some difficulties because she still has an English mind set.

The Logic of the French Education System even in English is different, she gets some of her completely French Educated Friends to explain how certain English idioms are.

I am at a loss to understand it when she explains it to me.

The only advice I can give is that if you do not have a competent command of French do not come to Uni here, you will lose to much to warrant it.

Michael

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Hello

Students from the UK regularly spend a year in Poitiers university studying european law etc..  The ones I met  level of french varied considerably but it didn't seem to hinder them.  They lived in the same accomadation as the other first year students so near or on campus, can you not apply to be allocated such accomodation? 

Panda

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