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Matěj, Erasmus in Orléans

15 may 2024 Community
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“Studying in France isn't just about academics; it's a transformative journey that broadens horizons and fosters lifelong connections.” Matěj Velat, Erasmus student at Orléans University

Matěj Velat studied civil and geo-environmental engineering at the local Polytechnical department of the Université d’Orléans for the 2022 winter semester.

 

  • Why did you choose to study in France?


I've always had a deep affection for France. I wanted to improve my language skills, to learn more about this country I have only visited shortly on holidays before and to immerse myself in the local culture. Indeed, I had some basic knowledge of French from high school, but I had already forgotten most of what I had learned due to a lack of practice. I thought I would quickly pick up French, but I soon realized it was much more challenging than expected.

 

  • What was your first reaction when you arrived in France?

 

There was a mix of excitement and apprehension. Upon reaching my accommodation, I quickly realized that my level in French wouldn't be good enough for everyday interactions. Being an extroverted person, the prospect of engaging with locals excited me, but the initial language barrier posed a daunting challenge.

 

  • Did you encounter any difficulties when you arrived in France? 

 

The initial week presented some challenges, particularly concerning my accommodation. Arriving before the end of August, I was first told you couldn’t book a university dorm room before September 1st. Therefore, I had to make arrangements to find a place for me to live in for my first two days. I realized afterwards that the whole situation was due to a misunderstanding between the university staff and myself and that it was indeed possible for me to have access to a dorm room earlier than I did.

 

  • How did you finance your mobility to France?

 

My mobility to France was financed through an Erasmus+ grant, supplemented by approximately €200 from my faculty, and supplemented further by around €1000 from my personal savings.

 

  • What have you gained from studying in France? 

 

Academically, I discovered that the educational systems in Central Europe and in France weren’t as different as I thought. One thing that surprised me a lot was my first lecture of the semester. I was used to it being on the students’ health and safety, but in Orléans it was a lecture on sexual harassment, racism and cultural tolerance. At the end of it, we all had to sign an agreement to the rules of the lecture. I was also pleasantly surprised by the university's support in facilitating job placements for students. Personally, I gained invaluable insights into the diverse cultures and perspectives of people from around the world, fostering a greater sense of global camaraderie.

 

  • In your opinion, what are the advantages of studying in France?

 

For me, the foremost advantage lies in the unparalleled opportunity to immerse oneself in the French language. My level improved exponentially during my time in Orléans. Additionally, the prospect of forging new connections with people from diverse backgrounds is a great advantage.

 

  • According to you, what is the most important advantage and the most important drawback of Orléans?

 

The greatest advantage of Orléans lies in its pure beauty and serene ambiance. Unlike bustling tourist hubs like in Paris, Orléans exudes tranquillity and safety, fostering a more relaxed environment. However, its notable drawback is the distance between the university campus and the city centre. Despite the availability of public transportation, the peripheral location poses some inconvenience.

 

  • What is your best memory of this experience?

 

It's difficult to pinpoint a single memory, but one that stands out is a trip to Tours I did with some friends. One of them graciously invited us to spend a weekend in his hometown, giving us an authentic glimpse into local life.

 

  • What advice would you give to future Czech students in France?

 

I would encourage them not to let fear deter them from seizing this opportunity. The apprehension of change, cultural differences, and temporary separation from friends and family may seem daunting, but these challenges pale in comparison to the enriching experiences and personal growth that studying abroad in France offers. Even if it prolongs their studies, the value of the experience far outweighs the temporary extension.

 




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