See Daniel and 3 other students talk about their exchange on Vimeo.

Like most UQ students going to France, I first looked into going to Science Po, Paris. But, having already completed an exchange, I was at the bottom of a long list for a very popular destination. So, without much thought, I chose Lyon and I haven’t regretted it for a moment. Despite a wealth of history, and being the second largest city in France, Lyon has somehow escaped the mass tourism which has plagued Paris and the Riviera. Situated on two rivers with a large student population, Lyon is a perfect place to find that elusive French authenticity

Lyon 2 has two campuses with classes being split between a beautiful building on the Rhône and another resembling an abandoned airport hangar about 25 minutes out of town in Bron. Although you are on exchange at Lyon 2, you have the opportunity to take classes at Lyon 3 and Science Po, Lyon. Do not expect to be able to organise your classes before arriving. Students are not afforded luxuries such as online course profiles or even online class sign-on. Instead, you have to turn up to the university and pick from a list of courses on a faculty noticeboard. The process makes the first two weeks of semester difficult, but it’s worth persevering. I would recommend taking at least one or two courses designed for French students. Although the workload is greater, you will notice a drastic improvement in your French.

Accommodation in Lyon is quite cheap and relatively easy to find, particularly in comparison to Paris. Avoid applying to stay in the residence offered by Lyon 2; it’s worth spending that little bit extra. The most exciting neighbourhoods to live in are Hôtel de Ville and Croix-Rousse. Although student residences are plentiful in Lyon, I would recommend staying in a hostel and searching for a colocation.

If you plan on travelling, buy an SNCF 12-25 card for cheaper train travel. Lyon is a travel hub, being only two hours away from Paris, Marseille, Nice and Geneva. If you like the snow, the French, Swiss and Italian Alps are only 45 minutes from Lyon.

If you are going to study abroad in France, I would happily recommend an exchange at Lyon 2.

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