Bachelor of Arts/Laws
Bachelor of Arts/Laws

I am a UQ student enrolled in Arts/Law and undertook exchange to Lyon in semester 1 2014. I cannot recommend Lyon highly enough for an exchange experience. To me Lyon is the perfect size giving you all the opportunities of a big city but combined with a warmth and friendliness that you don’t find so much in capital cities. The rivers that run through Lyon provide the city with so much green space and are a real hangout spot in the evening and full of joggers and walkers during the day.

The university itself has some good aspects and some negative aspects. The office dedicated to exchange students (DRI) is really helpful and friendly. There are constantly events organised for exchange students that provide you with an opportunity to see parts of the country that you wouldn’t otherwise see- skiing, trips to other towns and cooking classes for example. Although you really need to sign up for these very quickly as spaces fill up fast! Academically I studied a combination of literature, cinema and cultural subjects and SLM (a French language course for exchange students). The system for enrolling is a bit of a nightmare; everything is done on paper and requires a lot of trial and error and patience. Don’t expect to have a confirmed timetable before about week 4 of classes. All the subjects that I took were in French and I didn’t find them to be overly challenging- once I was enrolled the lecturers were very willing to help exchange students by modifying the assessment. For example in one that had a 30 minute oral for assessment exchange students were given the option of either doing the oral or a written piece. If I were to do exchange again however, I think I would take less literature subjects and would enroll in some of the grammar subjects- which have smaller class sizes and are much less theoretical- although a bit more challenging. I also did the French language preparation class- I didn’t find this very useful but it was a great way to meet people. Most of my closest friends I met in this class. Lyon 2 also offers a massive range of sports, I did yoga and swimming, and this was also a great way to meet local students and really fun too!

I got so much out of exchange and met so many wonderful people, including exchange students from all over the world and many French students as well! As long as you say yes to everything then it is impossible not to make friends! In my semester I was also really lucky to have 3 other UQ students also at Lyon 2. This was fantastic as, while we all had our own lives and interests we also got together regularly for dinners and helped each other out with assignments!
I lived in a share house with one other French girl near place Jean Macé in the 7th arrondissement. I loved it! I got on so well with housemate, she became one of my best friends in Lyon and living with a French student meant that all of my daily interactions were in French, which was a bonus for language skills. I was close to everything and walked or rode a bike most places. The cons were that this option was more expensive than the accommodation provided by Lyon 2 and is also really quite hard to organise ahead of time. If you are arriving in September then this option can be a bit of a nightmare as every single French and international student is looking for somewhere at the same time. It is easier if you are looking around December/January time. I tried a lot of the free collocation websites and had no luck- but then I can across a FB group (Erasmus & International Students Lyon 2013-2014- I think there would be an equivalent each year) and found an ad on there. Please feel free to contact me if you want help with this option or for advice on good locations.

The nightlife in Lyon is also great, there is an Irish pub that has a pub quiz every Tuesday night, we had a big group that would all meet up there every week. There are also boats all along the river which are as cafes during the day, bars during the evening and nightclubs during the nights. And of course some great jazz bars and live music venues! And the food in Lyon is simply fantastic- Lyon is not the Gastronomical capital of France for nothing.

In terms of expenses, I found Lyon to be quite on par with expenses in Brisbane some things are cheaper, for example, wine, cheeses and French fruit and veggies from the markets. Other things are cheaper. I found Lyon to be significantly cheaper than Paris. I would definitely recommend everyone to embrace the market culture. There are markets everywhere in Lyon it’s just a matter of working out which days they are on!

Top Tips:
- Don’t stress about subject selection, everyone is in the same boat- just talk to other students and work it out together
- If you are going to apply to the CAF (rent assistance in France)- do it early. It can take a few months to process
- Eat at least once at a Bouchon (typical Lyonaise restaurant)
- Enroll in a sport
- If you want to live in share house it can be difficult to organize from Australia but access the Facebook groups to meet people and make connections
 

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