Bachelor of Commerce
Bachelor of Commerce

Never did I imagine when I started at UQ that I would be presented with the amazing opportunity to spend my last semester studying abroad in Paris! I was lucky enough to be accepted in to ESSEC Business School – a prestigious 'Grand Ecole’ just outside of Paris, and it definitely lived up to its prestige, the professors were all very knowledgeable and helpful which gave a perfect opportunity to improve business knowledge but also brush up on your French. I studied a Bachelor of Business Administration at ESSEC which was close-fitting to the courses I had left to study in my UQ program which is a Bachelor of Commerce.

Due to the European university system requiring you to study 30 ECTS in one semester I found myself taking on board 8 different subjects throughout the semester, these subjects were all very diverse ranging from international marketing to studies of art and religion. The professors always made these subjects relevant and inspiring for their students' future career aspirations. A downside to the academic experience however was the administration of the program, maybe I’m just accustomed to UQ’s organised and structured nature so I was a bit shocked when it took almost a month for the administration to finalise our timetable among other problems that arose.

A massive plus to ESSEC Business School is that it is extremely international even though it is not a very large university, in the Exchange program I met life-long friends from countries from Finland to Tanzania, Germany to Korea and of course Australia. This location also served as a perfect base for travelling and exploring Europe and you're bound do meet other travel-obsessed exchange students that are willing to adventure with you as well which just makes it that much more enjoyable. However there are also some treasures to find closer to home such as the place where Van Gogh was buried! Paris is also an almost endless city filled with secrets waiting to be discovered.

I chose to live in Les Linandes – one of the residences offered by ESSEC and while it was convenient and significantly cheaper than alternatives I would strongly recommend living in Paris. Although it may be more expensive it really gives a better vantage point to enhance your experience abroad. A big plus side however to living in the residences is that all of your friends and fellow exchange students were a stones-throw away which was great for late night chills or last minute study.

Regarding expenses I think UQ Abroad's estimate of about $12000 per semester is adequate, this would still allow for plenty of travel and weekends out in Paris. The big killer however is train fairs; it costs almost $20 to get to and from Paris from Cergy on weekdays so I would recommend applying for an Imagine-R travel card regardless of what residence you are staying at as in the long run it will save you a lot of money!

All in all the only this I can say about my semester abroad was that it was honestly one of the best opportunities of my life and I will strongly recommend it to anyone who is looking for a change, or wants to gain some international experience!

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