EDHEC Business School – Lille France

It is now day 4 of week 1 of the summer prgram in Lille, France. The EDHEC Business School has a modern campus with a similar feel to QUT but set in very leafy surrounds. All the staff have been extremely helpful and welcoming to our diverse international group.

Had the opportunity to visit the European Commission in Brussels yesterday and listen to different perspectives on the current Euro zone crisis, which was facinating. The afternoon was spent sightseeing the beautiful centre of Brussels and of course enjoyng a Belgian beer and waffels.

 

First 24 hours in France

Well after 2 long flights of 8 hours and a brutal 12 hours from Singapore to Paris (business class passengers I envy you) we have finally arrived safe and sound at our first destination, Lille (1 hour north east of Paris by train). Bravo on the train system in France!

Lille is exactly as imagined, a mix of old buildings, cobblestone lane ways and squares, alongside a newer, edgier industrial style. The weather on arrival was glorious and quite hot but the nights are very cold and today is overcast and quite chilly, which is what we were expecting and should continue for the next couple of weeks.

We are staying in a clean, comfortable, and spacious by European standards, 2 bed apartment right near transport links and a short walk to the old part of town.

Struggling a little with the language difference but everyone has been really accommodating so far. I think we will spend most days with confused looks on our faces, lots of pardons and parlez-vous anglais?

Ended up at a lovely little restaurant on our first night in Lille called La Petite Table. Meal was cheap as chips (about 12 euro) and tasty.

Anyway, that is just a little snippet of our first 24 hours. I will be off to uni tomorrow to start classes but looking forward to the next few weeks.

Au revoir for now!

First Blog in a Gajillion Years + Educational Differences.

I’m pretty sure I did say I was lying when I’d put more effort into blogging. To be honest, I sort of gave up on the idea. As you’re probably all aware (via reading between the lines and the lack of my overall enthusiasm), I no longer have any desire to remain in this country. I’m emotionally done with it. Once I do my exams, I’ve got no qualms rushing home and proceeding to rush outside and sing the national anthem. Unfortunately, I may not get the opportunity to leave as soon as I wish to, nor may I get to go to the music festival I’ve so been looking forward to, because a big something has come up, which is more or less going to dominate the remainder of my time here *cough* legal *cough*. Unfortunately, its not something I can discuss. I’ll say this: I’m probably going to suffer because of another’s actions. Well done for ruining the last amount of tolerance I had. Well done! It’s one thing to ruin my day, but a completely different thing to potentially threaten one of the things I most enjoy in my life, the sound of amazing music. If I am unable to attend Download music festival, the one thing I’ve been holding out for, for 5 months, because as a result of your actions. Ok, vent over.

Now, as I promised last time, I’d like to point out some of the educational differences you should expect if you choose University of Westminster. This is completely objective. I will start off simple.

Assignment Minder – They don’t have that here. Instead, there are three holes in the wall. You must place your assignment in one of them (depending on unit code) before 6 ‘o’ clock on the day it is due. Whilst you may say that doesn’t seem very different, you aren’t notified as to whether or not the right person has received your assignment. Also, the assignments themselves aren’t secure; you don’t hand them in with folders, you have to have a single staple in the corner. This increases the chance of your work being damaged, because its just dumped into a bin with other assignments. No guarantee it’ll make it into that bin either. It’s up to gravity. In short, you don’t have the same security and peace of mind that comes with assignment minder.

Grading scale – 40% over here is a pass mark. a 7 is 70%. Essentially, 70% is apparently very hard to get (I haven’t had this issue yet), and is our equivalent of a 7 (which at QUT is 85%). Basically, you could get a 70% and achieve a High Distinction, but be left wondering what exactly is the remaining 30% of knowledge that you aren’t demonstrating. Because of this scale, it also means even a slight reduction in marks puts you in a lower ranking bracket. Furthermore, I’ve done 15 minute orals in two subjects here. One was worth 10% of my grade, the other was worth 40%. Consistency?

Assessment Load – Generally, the assessment load here is 2 per module a semester. That is generally one assignment, one exam. Sounds easy compared to the standard QUT assessment load yes? Well, I thought so too. It’s not that the work isn’t hard, it’s just there really isn’t enough of it to warrant a challenge (if you’re into that sort of thing). At QUT, especially in business, you’ll have reasons to go to tutorials, because the homework is generally enforced or contributing to your grade, counting as part of your assessment. Over here, for example, lets say one assessment item is an assignment due week 9, and then the final assignment is due in the exam period at some time. Done. You’ve beaten the module, without having to have done any real work at all. You don’t have to demonstrate your knowledge on a weekly basis, the assessment is spread out so spectacularly that you never have any pressure to do anything except for the last moment, and if your fortunate enough to get a module here that’s just two assignments, your basically guaranteed your pass so long as you can just get those two things done in due time. HOWEVER if you have a module with an exam. The weighting of the exam is usually 70% of the grade. You’ll spend the first 8 weeks of the semester writing up this massive report that may only be worth 30% (i.e. 3500 words, that followed on from a 15 minute oral presentation), then wait 2 months for an exam worth 70%. In short, there doesn’t seem to be consistency in assignment policy, but that is of my own opinion. Furthermore, there isn’t much incentive to go to tutorials. I’ve found the tutorials here really baby me too much and don’t invoke independent thought at the end of the day. Still, UoW do their best, and their teaching staff are more than qualified. I’d like to point out, I usually have 4 assessment items per semester for each unit at QUT. Big difference. I’ll say this now, I’ve felt pretty underworked since I’ve been here, and I NEVER thought I’d say that. So far I’ve gotten “British 7’s” across the board too. I won’t lie, I’ve more or less last minute bludged here.

Facilities – Gotta give the award to QUT on this one. If anything, it’s not to difficult to find what you need on campus, from the 15 minute timed computers at S block to handle minor things like printing, or a library full of multiple floors of computers, and various computer labs around. At Marylebone campus at UoW, the library is more or less the only place with PC’s (with the exception of a few computer labs that are underground and seemingly always in use). The issue with this is, if you desperately need to print, you can’t access the printers using your own laptop like you can at QUT. There’s very few places you can charge your laptop on campus, and half the time, people seem to be on Facebook and are reluctant to move in case you need to print something at the last minute. Also, not a lot of room in the library, the building is probably 100 or so years old, and as I may have said before, every building here seems to have the narrowest hallways possible. Also, not a lot of activity on campus (like, fun stuff), but that’s due to lack of room. The only place to get food on campus currently is the coffee shop. No Subway etc. It’s thankfully located close to other food places in London, but you need to swipe in and out of Uni to get anywhere, so good luck dealing with congestion.

Also in regards to facilities, there isn’t really an environment for students to socialise. QUT is spacious and has a number of places you can just relax. Here, compact, all study oriented, and because of refurbishment, you more or less need to leave campus if you want to have a good time between classes. Hopefully this all changes when the renovation is done.

Timetables – Yeah, you don’t have a lot of input over that here due to course structure and your status as an international. You will probably have massive gaps between classes, and one class a day. Have fun being a prisoner of campus for most of the week 😀

Staff – I’d like to stress that the University of Westminster Staff are very good. If you’re going to be worried about inefficiencies, I’d be more concerned with transport. My God, if theirs anything transportation does consistently, it’s sucking.

Other than these things, I can’t think of any more differences that stand out. Campuses are small, contained, and you’ll likely bump into someone multiple times a day. Few vending machines and food options on campus. More or less anything you take for granted at QUT, you’ll miss here. Oh yes. Forgot to mention most lectures are done in rooms the size of our tutorial rooms. Pretty hard to distinguish them from one another sometimes, they sometimes pretty much just follow the same format. They also don’t record lectures. They do put stuff of Blackboard though. Oh yes, did I mention they use Blackboard? FUN FUN FUN! Oh yeah, the Library website is a pain to use. Easier to access databases though. Harvard referencing? Complete joke. QUT APA for the win.

Alright, I think that’s all I have to say. Sorry for the beginning rant. As you can probably tell, I’m a little home sick. One can only take convict jokes, word slurring and other social ills so much. When I get home, feel free to ask me about the state of society and politics here. I could go on for hours! You people back home, you don’t realise how lucky you are to live in Australia. I won’t say its the best country in the world, but we certainly have a lot of advantages. Space, relative stability in politics, and less societal problems than here. If you have time, Google the European Union in relation to England. That’ll give you something to chuckle about.

Alright. Stay Classy Australia,

Tom