In the hot summer of August 2012, I arrived in Grenoble with plenty of hopes and expectations. Even though the fatigue from the 12-hour flight had not faded out, I could not wait to discover my new school and city. The moment I entered the hallway of the school, I quickly found directions to the welcome desk. A multicultural team of bilingual students was there to help me out with almost all the necessary procedures.
They provided a one-stop service for setting up a bank account and visa, getting to the post office, and finding city information, etc. They even organized a small trip on Saturday to visit the most famous landmark – the Bastille, which offered the best view of the city. As the capital of the Alps, mountains appear at the end of every street. It is not a big city from a Chinese point of view, but it is such an amazing city to study abroad that you will never regret your choice in coming here.
As I follow a series of Management courses in the GEM French track, it is indispensable to take up the Semaine d’intégration (week of preparatory courses). The schedule is overloaded with a variety of courses and activities from 8am to 6pm every day. Needless to say, they are all taught in the French language. However, this transition period is very useful in that I have gotten used to the fast-paced business school rhythm and have made many friends with French classmates and some international students. What’s more, we got a one-week vacation between the Semaine d’intégration and the new semester so that we could wrap up and finish all the administrative procedure effectively.
My favorite extracurricular activity is exploring French life by promenading around the city center. The sun and un espresso café are both vital to French people.My first recommendation is to take a sunbath alone in the Jardin de Ville or enjoy a cup of tea with a group of friends at the Jardin du thé.
If you are looking for something particular to kill time, Grenoble is never removed from culture. The Musée de Grenoble, le Magasin, and the Maisonde la Culture all fill up all your expectations for Grenoble’s arts and culture. As for night life, Grenoble is full of places to find restaurants, brasseries, pubs and so much more. One of my favorite restaurants is situated on the grand terrace behind Lafayette which is called Au bureau. It serves excellent local dishes with an inexpensive price. If you are dazzled in choosing something from French gastronomy, take the Magret de canard, a decision you will never regret! In the winter, my French classmates showed me one typical recipe – la Raclette, which is served in a warm ambiance and has a wonderful taste.
At school, there are different organizations that one can join. Here, I would like to introduce to all of you an excellent association in the region of Rhône-Alpes, called les Jeune Ambassadeurs. It is a quality global network of foreign students from top colleges and universities in contact with companies that are very open to different cultures and countries. 146 international students from Grenoble, Lyon and Saint-Etienne participated in the promotion with me from October 2012 to April 2013. With such a vast number of people, one can meet friends who may have similar goals in the future and exchange with business leaders in various activities each month.
Being a member of Jeunes Amabassadeurs gives one the opportunity to discover the cultural treasures of the city and the region, to integrate and to understand the French way of life, to become familiar with activities from different businesses, and to realize my personal ambitions of running an international project between France and China. Each student is paired with a business coach. The coach will help the student get to know their company, to attend international conferences and forums, and to support their project by introducing them to some of the key people in their work environment.
During President François Holland’s visit in Grenoble, I was honored to attend his Speech to Youth at the Maison de la culture with another 7 international students on behalf of Jeunes Ambassadeurs. It was such a precious experience that I could feel the French political life emitted from among the youth representatives from all levels and backgrounds. In my promotion, 60 international projects were submitted in favor of promoting the relations between the Rhône-Alpes region and their country of origin. My project Du vin rouge au vin vert aimed to improve the Chinese wine industry from a sustainable development point of view. This was done by promoting an exchange of wine culture and business opportunities for the region of Rhône-Alpes in the grand project of the International City of Wine in Yantai in 2016. To my surprise, my project won the second prize trophy.
Nowadays, I maintain contact with my coach, other members and relevant partners to launch this project into reality. Time flies fast. After one year living in Grenoble, I am convinced that I h
ave learned so much from all of these amazing experiences. Aside from learning specialist knowledge at my school, I profited from all aspects of Grenoble life and got a much clearer direction into my future.