Brad S., Bachelor of Business and Engineering Toulouse Business School, France (Semester 1, 2017)
My name is Brad Saunders and I spent a semester at Toulouse Business School (TBS) in the South of France. This is was one of the best decisions I have made in my life and I have created memories that will last a lifetime.
LIFE IN TOULOUSE
I first arrived in Toulouse on the 30th of August 2016, unsure of what to expect. I felt nervous stepping off the plane from Toulouse-Blagnac Aeroport. A few things passed through my mind; including how I would make friends, and whether I would adjust to a foreign language and culture. This was the first time I had moved out of home. Moving into a student residence with a fellow QUT student Peter, was a liberating experience as it allowed me to live a French lifestyle.
I was immediately shocked about how slow the people do things in France, it was more laid back than even Australia! They summed it up perfectly for me while I was there, “It’ll get done when it gets done.” A helpful hint would be to always be prepared for the fact that this is a French speaking country and English comes second. Even if you aren’t proficient in French, just try, effort can get you a long way with the people.
Making friends in the residence and checking out the nightlife at the famous St Pierre really put France into perspective for me. The French are socialites, even on a Tuesday night; people of all ages would be out socialising with food and drink. This night really set the tone for the rest of my experience in Toulouse. There are three things you must do: eat cheese, drink wine and socialise as often as possible.
A few days later my true university experience was going to start, it was time to start classes. I was immediately shocked by the amount of international students and how small the classes were at TBS. Coming from QUT, where I sat in grand lecture halls such as Z411, I was suddenly in a classroom with 40 other people for the whole semester. There was no hiding, no looking at your phone or not socialising with other students. These classmates would later become my social group at TBS, some of which were French, but the majority being international students like myself.
The best part of my exchange can be summed up simply; by the connections you make along the way. My best recommendation for any student on exchange, is to talk to everyone you can at your host university. Memories are best shared with the others you meet along the way, it is tough to leave them behind when it is time to return home; but it is motivation for you to return again and continue your travels.
I urge you to take the plunge and give an exchange a go. It will be a memory that you will take with you forever.