GLOBAL CONNECT

A window to the wide world

Angad Singh Chaudhary

Undergraduate Student

FLAME University

Semester Abroad @ IESEG School of business, France

 
The thought of spending a semester abroad always fascinated me. when my roommate came back from Indiana University and shared his experiences, I realised what a great learning experience it would be for me if given the chance. The semester abroad program always appealed to me as I always felt that business could be understood best in changing environments. Business being of very dynamic nature, new opinions and perspectives are always welcomed.

I joined IESEG school of management for a semester (approximately 4 months). IESEG is located in the city of Lille, which is right at the Belgium border, around an hour away from Brussels. It is known to be a student city, and most of the people living there are from other parts of the country. I had gone with three other Post Graduate students from FLAME. Before I reached Lille, I had mixed emotions in me. I was very excited and anxious at the same time. I had never spoken to these PG students before, the thought of spending the entire semester with them in an unknown country made me very anxious.

I reached Lille a week before the orientation week was scheduled. This gave me a chance to explore the new city and the people. Before the week started, all of us decided to travel to the nearby cities and explore the beauty of Europe more. One of the major advantages of living in Europe was the fact that it was so well connected. Changing countries was as easy as taking a bus for as low as 7 euros.

Once the orientation week started, I was introduced to our international coordinator, faculties and the set of academic guidelines that the university followed. During the orientation week, I was also introduced to the international committee, who organised many ice breaking sessions and Europe trips to make exchange students feel at ease. Once the orientation week got over, I felt more comfortable and at home.

Once the classes started, I was introduced to a new style of teaching altogether. Even the way the courses were structured were very different. Each course consisted of 16 hours which were spread over 4 days with a final examination or presentation on the 5th day. I was told that I was supposed to do 15 courses or 30 ECTS. I had to choose Marketing courses. Unfortunately, IESEG, being a purely management-oriented school, no courses in theatre were offered. I found the style of teaching and the way the courses were taught very interesting. The style of teaching was highly interactive, so much so that all the courses had twenty percent of its grading based on class participation. This was surprising as the course was only 4 days long. The courses were very also very interesting also since they were so culturally diverse. Students had come from countries like Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Japan, China, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Philippines etc. Almost all the courses had group work and we were asked not to group with the people from the same country. This made working a lot more interesting and taught me to appreciate and understand other cultures better.

Courses in IESEG were very demanding and practical based. Most of the courses had a case study to solve. Since the environment was so diverse, almost all the courses were taught in English. I was at a certain advantage, as I was fluent in English so participating and presenting in class was a breeze for me. Often, I used to be the sole group presenter if the professor allowed. This gave me great exposure and was great for my confident as well.

Another thing that added to my knowledge in being a more capable person was the fact that I could take Master level courses. Out of the 15 courses, 7 courses that I took were master level courses. These courses introduced me to a more practical and industry-based approach. Suddenly I was solving case studies which were 50 pages long or analysing an industry, something I had never done in FLAME.

The semester exchange also made me more much responsible as a person. I wasn’t left with any other choice but to live a disciplined life. Without any domestic help, I had to maintain my studio apartment and cook my own food. This also provided me with a sense of independence, which further added to my exposure.

Throughout the semester, the international committee ensured the international students were active and engaged. From the very first week till the last, the international club kept organising many events from Wine tasting to Pub crawl. This also enabled to us meet different people from different cultures and make new friends. They also kept organising short 2-day trips to places like Strasbourg, Mt. Abu, Amsterdam etc.

This semester abroad also enabled me to travel all by myself in a continent as beautiful as Europe. Throughout these 4 months, I travelled to approximately 6 countries all rich in culture and tradition. It was a great experience understanding their history, way of living, architecture etc. it made me very open minded and appreciative. Also, to see people respond to your culture and tradition so respectfully and kindly also was a great learning.

All in all, my experience in Lille was very fruitful. The kind of exposure I, got made me a much more capable candidate in the rat race. The kind of learnings I inculcated, the people I met, experiences I had, have all been very enriching. I want to take this opportunity to thank FLAME University to provide me with this wonderful experience that made me a more capable and complete person.