ONE SEMESTER IN FRANCE
It was the morning of 25th August, 2016 when I landed in The Charles De Gaulle Airport at Paris. As opposed to my expectations the weather was pretty humid and all the jackets and sweaters I had worn seemed like wearing a fireball. I, along with 3 other classmates decided to explore the city of love before we went to our final destination, which led us to a small apartment (pre-booked by Airbnb) in the most happening streets of Notredame, Paris. The first day we slept through for 16 hours and visited the city one day after our arrival. We were amazed at the beauty of the museums, monuments, huge buildings and the breath-taking night view of The Eiffel Tower. This beautiful structure stood twinkling in front of me, making my heart pound in my chest. What a sight!
Talking about how amazing the touristic views in Paris were, I had completely forgotten to mention how I did not get food for 3 days being a vegetarian and being an Indian vegetarian did not help at all. Post 3 days we managed to find a falafel shop that served vegetarian kebabs wrapped in a roti with different sauces and salads. Luckily we had carried enough Indian spices to cook ourselves food for the next 5 months. We also further went on to discover an Indian Street at La Chappelle in Paris providing us Indian cuisine and spices for survival as French food usually consists of Salads and semi – cooked meat that does not appeal to a tongue that has been dipped in wonderful flavors all its life. To point out a few drawbacks of that – The rice is extremely sticky and thick, the choice of vegetables is limited to Brinjals, Cabbage and Cauliflower, the tomatoes and potatoes are sweet, the onions are small and white, the milk is heavy, so on and so forth.
Coming back to the day we arrived at Troyes, France to start our educational journey, we had a French student (Erasmus Buddy) to come pick us up from the train station and drop us off to our respective apartments we had registered on the college website. He helped us go through all the bits and pieces of the city before he left us to ourselves.
Next day we began our journey at Groupe ESC Troyes. We met our fellow international students that were a mix of Spanish, Mexicans, Germans, Moroccans, Russians, Turkish, French, etc. They were all a nice energetic bunch of students, many of whom became good friends with us a few weeks later. I had a Turkish roommate with me in my 2bhk fully furnished flat, she was short and sweet, less interactive and a hygiene freak. Living with her pushed me out of my comfort zone to make her feel homely as that’s how we have been brought up back at home. It was a new experience and a good one! We had a pleasant time together.
The teaching style was similar to the one in India but syllabus was a lot easier and the exam consisted only of case studies, multiple choice questions and presentations which made it a cake walk for us to crack. Nothing ever came out of portion. Subjects we had taken – International Marketing, Product Manager Functions, Brand and Community Management, Luxury Product Marketing, Luxury Tourism and Sales Management. In every class we felt a lot ahead of the rest and lectures were conducted only twice a week giving us the whole week free to explore different countries in Europe.
We started off with visiting the beautiful cities of Nice and Cannes along the south of France indulging ourselves in some sun and sand. Further, we visited Amsterdam, the city that literally lights up at night giving you so much to do. Then came, Belgium with its lustful chocolates and historic figures. Italy made me go on a shopping spree, having a huge variety of brands in scenic places. Germany seemed technical and boring but Prague was heart touchingly gorgeous and had the nicest people ever. Budapest is a dream especially for Indians as 1 rupee equals to 4 HUF, giving us more spending power in Hungary that had warm spring baths in the cold weather. Every place we visited had beautiful scenery but yet none of it felt like it could beat the wonders of India.
Post December the climate had gone down to -7 and we were curled up against our heaters at home unable to cope with the weather. We also had the pleasure to experience snowfall and it was wonderful experience in itself.
All in all it was a different experience; the culture shock gave us something new to learn and broadened our network internationally, giving us brighter future opportunities and a lifetime of amazing memories.
– Ms. Pallavi Gupte
Ms. Pallavi Gupte is currently pursuing PGDM ( 2015-2017) at ISBR B School.