Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Communications and a Diploma in Languages (French)
Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Communications and a Diploma in Languages (French)

I am enrolled in a Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Communications and a Diploma in Languages (French) here at UQ. I decided to go on exchange in the first semester of my fourth year, and it was honestly the best thing I’ve ever done in my life!

I really wanted to go to France and after looking at all the options available I chose Université Lumière Lyon 2. I couldn’t be happier that I made that decision! Lyon is a fantastic city. It was initially a Roman settlement, and there’re still ruins all around town – I used to do my afternoon run through an old Roman amphitheatre. It’s also only an hour or so from the Alps – my two snowboarding trips were definitely a highlight of the semester! Lyon also has an amazing cultural scene with so many theatres and museums, and of course, incredible food – its France’s food capital and the ‘bouchons’ (Lyonnais restaurants) are surprisingly cheap. We ate out almost twice a week!

Sophie Lyon

The university was so welcoming and easy to settle in to. Their department for international students gives you a welcome seminar and a guidebook with information on everything you could possibly need to know about living in Lyon, and their door is always open if you’re having any problems. It wasn’t a walk in the park – there is still a certain amount of paper-chasing to get enrolled, etc., but there’re tons of other exchange students in the same boat as you and you can make new friends trying to figure it out together!

I was able to study a really broad range of subjects in Lyon to credit to my French Diploma back home. I studied SLM (the language course), Europe in the 21st century, Modern Literature, History of Cinema, French Civilisation and French Literature (both for exchange students). My favourite was the history of cinema course – and what better place to study it than Lyon, home to the Lumière brothers? I was able to do both subjects intended for regular French students and also special exchange student subjects. They were all in French, so you need to have quite a good level before you come, but you very quickly improve. This was a good course mix though, as I was able to make both French and foreign friends in class. I also joined an indoor hockey team (which is joint between a few of the universities in the Lyon) and this was a great decision! Made some fantastic friends, and had so much fun. Sport was such a good way to get people to open up to you and become one of the group, and Lyon 2 has quite a good range of clubs to get involved in, so I would definitely recommend getting involved!

Sophie Lyon 2

I stayed in a student residence organised by Lyon 2 (you’ll get this option if you enrol, or you can make your own living arrangements), and overall I was happy with my experience. I stayed in a ‘chambre simple’, which is basically a little bedroom with shared kitchen and bathroom facilities. The shared facilities were a bit of a downside, they were always dirty, but living in a student residence was easily the cheapest and most social option. I made loads of new friends there, both French and exchange students, and even got invited to a ball at another university!

While over there, make the effort to get out of your comfort zone. Say ‘yes’ to everything, and you’ll make some unforgettable memories. Make the most of the exchange network – some of the friends I made in Lyon are like my family now, and I have places to stay all over the world whenever I want to visit. And of course, TRAVEL! There’s so much to see in France and they have a fantastic rail network, with good discounts for students. Also there are always cheap flights to various destinations around Europe, and Lyon even has its own airport only 30 minutes away by train.

Sophie Lyon France

To anyone debating whether or not to go on exchange – just do it! I was so nervous about going to live in a foreign country where I knew no one, and when I got there, it all just fell into place. I now can’t wait to graduate and go live abroad again – hopefully in Lyon!

Top Tips:

1. Go on exchange. You won’t regret it!
2. Budget more than you need to. Unforeseen costs and adventures will pop up and you want to be ready for all of them.
3. Immerse yourself in the local culture – food, music, festivals etc. Make the most of the amazing place you’re in!
4. Keep a journal of your experience so you can remember all the exciting things you did.
5. Travel! Europe is an incredible place and everything is so close.

Sophie Lumiere

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