Bachelor of International Studies, 3rd year
Bachelor of International Studies, 3rd year

Academic experiences

During my semester in Rennes, I studied:

  • French
  • International Relations
  • Post-crisis Humanitarianism
  • African Studies
  • French Politics
  • The European Union and the Eastern Neighbours
  • Cultural Divide

The academic system in Rennes was quite different to what I was used to at UQ.
During the semester there were short intensive courses that would run for roughly two weeks whilst I was already studying four subjects.
At times this was stressful and it took me out of my comfort zone in terms of how I was used to studying and also the workload I was used to dealing with.
In some respects this was good as it mixed up the monotony of courses and the short courses were often more academically stimulating than the constant ones.
One thing that I ended up disliking was that the English program was set and there was no choice involved in the university experience.
I felt this way because the constant courses were designed to be easier for non-native English speakers and as a result were easier and I didn't feel like I learned anything overly interesting.

Overlooking beautiful Barcelona!

Personal experiences

Personally, I gained so much from my exchange.
I made so many great friends which I'm positive will remain so for life and I am already saving to visit some of them as soon as I graduate.
I also did a lot of travel both with friends and on my own and yes, it sounds clichéd, but I honestly did gain a lot of perspective about myself and the world during my travels and I am grateful that I had the opportunity to explore as much of Europe that I did.

Accommodation

For accommodation, I stayed at a student residence hall 10 minutes away from campus that was organised for me by the university prior to my arrival.
Although living in Sevigne wasn't glamorous, I truly did come to love where I lived and this was partly because I was in close proximity to my closest friends.
My advice to future students looking at exchange is that student living is definitely worthwhile.
I knew people who had housing arrangements set up through real estates and from what I saw, the experience wasn't the same for them.
Furthermore, dealing with agents in a foreign language would be rather difficult and I am of the opinion that it just adds an extra layer of unwanted stress!

Budget

Prior to leaving, I was told that having a budget of 12,000 was pretty decent and allowed a good amount of wiggle room for me to fully enjoy my exchange.
I think this is a good amount to have however, if I were to do it again, I would probably like to have around 15 - 16,000 for the seven and a half months that I was overseas.
I definitely made it work with the funds that I had but there were several occasions were finances were dire and I had to borrow.

Academic development and employability

Exchange enhanced my academic development because it threw me into a new academic environment that I had to adapt to and study in.
This adds to my employability in several ways because not only did travel and study abroad give me the opportunity to develop personally, it also gave me the chance to study at a prestigious French university which will look great on my CV.

Highlight

One highlight of my experience abroad was Warsaw.
Warsaw was a beautiful city and at the time was the most Eastern-influenced city that I had seen and there was so much history that I've spent so much time learning about during my studies.
It was also my first holiday destination after university finished.
The city was incredibly different to all the places I had seen up to that point so all of my time spent there really stands out.

Top tips

MY advice to others would be save more than you think you'll need because money can become an issue very quickly and that sort of stress isn't what student exchange is meant to be about.

Additionally, I would say living in student accommodation is one of the best things about exchange and if your host university is happy to set up your living arrangements this can save you a massive headache early on in the process.

On this site

Go to top