Rhône-Alpes CMIRA Grant: 4 grant recipients share their experiences about international life in France

Four students who are currently benefiting from the CMIRA grant provided by the Région Rhône-Alpes share their experiences about life at Grenoble with the help of the monthly grant. Here they explain their personal benefits of the supplementary income and how it has made their experience at GEM and in France one of the best in their life.

Ling Zhao

Ling is a double-degree student in the Masters in Management from Sun Yat-Sen Business School in China. Her experience at GEM has also been very successful, partly thanks to the support from the CMIRA grant. She said that she had a few options when choosing to study abroad, but with some contemplation and advice from her colleagues, she found that she made the right decision.

Life and Study at GEM:
When I began my studies in Grenoble, I found my choice was exactly correct. GEM is a very good business school. I had courses taught by professors from France, Germany, India, America, Ireland and China, which helped increase my professional knowledge and ability. And GEM offered great French courses in each week, which improved my French. On the other hand, I enjoyed a lot working with GEM’s students, both in and out of classes. There were a lot of activities organized by the GEM’s clubs. For example, Aloha organized the Bastille hiking at the beginning of each semester. I met my best friend Kata there.

AlpexpoLing also has found she really enjoys the city and the people she has met at GEM:
Grenoble is a very great city to live and study, which with high globalization and friendly environment. First, Grenoble has good infrastructure and convenient transportation. It is located in the south-east of France, about two hours by train to Geneva, Switzerland, and four hours by bus to Milan, Italy. It is easy to find anything necessary in the city center of Grenoble. Second, it is international and academic. There are many research institutions and universities in Grenoble, which leads to hundreds of students visiting. One of fifth population of Grenoble are students. So I met students from all over the world here, including Germany, America, Italy, Spain, Mexico, Czech Republic, Sweden, India and others. I learned a lot by talking and working with them. We shared stories, culture and ideas, which enriched my life after school. It is a truly international university town.
You will never feel bored because there are so much activities can do at free time, such as museums, local markets, Christmas markets, Le Millesime (wine tasting event) and so on. The best event I liked was the Grenoble Expo, which was held in November. I saw many local products, food, games during the event, and the local companies, farmers and restaurants allowed visitors to visit their exhibits freely. It was very a wonderful event to learn more about Grenoble.

Her grant experience:
“The CMIRA Grant perfected my French dream.”
First, I was able to buy more study materials. The study materials are of much higher price than they are in China. For the useful and practical books, I prefer to purchase them instead of borrowing from library. It contributed highly to my study.
Second, it supported me to experience more of France and to spend time with new friends. By attending the social activities, I learned much about culture of France and other nations. Now I have a much deeper understanding of Europeans, who are quite different from Asians. I joined them after the class, and I found how the French way to make friends and network. By doing this, I met many nice people both from France and all over the world.

Mai Yanping

Mai, who also goes by Michelle, is also a double-degree from Sun Yat-Sen University in Guangzhou, China. When asked why she chose GEM, she said that Grenoble is a perfect city to study, and GEM is an excellent school for business and management.

“As a student who’s major is tourism management, I am very happy to come here to improve my personal skills and gain more international experience.”

Michelle says that the supplementary income from the grant has helped her most with her school success because the grant has released much of the financial burden.

The grant helped her to adapt and live a more normal life:

Adapting to foreign life was a big challenge. Because we were not familiar with French, we needed to acquire French communication skills initially. So the most important part of the grant was used to learn French. And to be honest, we could also eat better when we got the grant, because the food here is much more expensive than in China.

Favorite Anecdote: Chinese Spring Festival with International Friends

We made dumplings for the Spring Festival last week. Getting together with friends to celebrate the Spring Festival is really a good way to look back at the past and into the future. We reflected on the foreign life in France and made wishes that everyone`s dream would come true. We were glad because we all have different backgrounds and cross cultural experiences to share with each other.

Our topics included geography, culture, study and life along with our future internships. We shared our experience on how to find an internship and what kind of qualities we need as a student from management school. It was a good way to make self assessment before we design our CV, and plan how to perfect the interview.

Living in France has given Mai a positive outlook on life:

And of course, when we have difficulties in the future, we will address the issues and cultivate a good attitude to deal with them – just like with learning French – in order to shape a better way of life!

Ruan Huanhuan

Huanhuan Ruan is a third student from Sun Yat-Sen Business School. Huanhuan had been dreaming of living in France so as soon as she learned of the exchange program, she jumped at the opportunity. Even with the known difficulties of moving and adapting to a totally new country, she immediately made the decision to spend a year in France.

She chose GEM for its prestige and Grenoble for its small town feel:

Among all the exchange programs of our school, I think GEM is the best one. Firstly, it’s the sixth ranking business school in France so I believed I could definitely learn something interesting and new by coming here. The second reason is that I prefer Grenoble rather than other big cities such as Paris, since living in a small city makes it easier to integrate into local life.

Although she loves Grenoble, Tour Eiffel has her heart:

Ruan HuanhuanMy favorite place in France has always been the Eiffel Tower. It’s means a lot to me. I’ve seen the picture of it thousands of times in many different contexts, and I am always fascinated by its beauty. So it was really thrilling to see it in person. In my eye, and maybe in many Chinese’s eyes, Eiffel Tower is the symbol of France and romance.

Constant growth and adaptation is the name of the game at GEM:

The French life style and studying at GEM are totally different from what I’ve experienced in my first 24 years of life. These all give me a new and fresh way to look at other people and the world. I have learned to accept new things and prepare myself to adapt to them. It was a little bit challenging for me at the beginning but now it’s much easier. I can say this is the most valuable thing I’ve gained during these days.

The grant: to be able to study without distraction, live a French lifestyle and explore new cultures:

CMIRA grant releases the pressure of my parents and can also allows me to focus more on studying and enjoying French lifestyle. It also gives me more chance to travel to other European countries which really broadened my horizon. I have met many new people and learned about many new cultures – two of the most exciting parts since I came here.

Yi Zhang

Yi is a double-degree student in the Masters of Management program from Tongii University in Shanghai, China. Yi said that she chose GEM because of the exchange program with her home university, and because of its reputation as a business school in France.

Another deciding factor was that GEM has a great international atmosphere. I can experience the French culture in GEM while meeting friends from all over the world. The school encourages us to work with students from different cultures and encourages innovation which attracted me a lot.

Was moving to France an easy decision for you?

Moving to France was not an easy decision for me. The first challenge I met was the language. French is an elegant language and is one of the most widely used languages in the world, however, it’s quite difficult to master. I studied French for about two years in China before I came to France, but when I first arrived in France, I found it hard to understand what others were talking about and I could not understand the announcements in the airport and train station. Moving to a country where the language is not the one you are familiar with is always challenging. What’s more is I had never been away from my home country for more than three months before. Moving to France meant that I needed cook Chinese food myself. So far I still prefer Chinese food to French food.

Although at first moving to France was not an easy decision for me, I have begun to enjoy the life here in Grenoble.

How has the CMIRA grant helped you to be successful living and studying in France?

With the help of CMIRA, I can travel around Europe and have a better quality of life here. Also it can help to cover part of the accommodation. The price of commodities in France is quite high. Compared with other countries in Europe, life in France costs more. With the help of CMIRA, I can sometimes go to a restaurant to improve my quality of life and hang out with my friends more.

It also affected many aspects of her daily life:

I think it mostly affected my daily life. Without CMIRA, I spend most of my monthly living expenses on accommodation and purchasing from supermarket. With the help of CMIRA, it covers my accommodation in Grenoble so that in my spare time, I can go skiing with my friends to benefit from the skiing resorts in Grenoble. With the help of CMIRA, I can buy more books I am interested in and go to the cinema to see French movies. I also have the chance to go to cafes to experience French-style living.

Favorite Anecdote: Yi’s new-found love for skiing:

Life in France is very different from China. During the past one year I have experienced lots of new things. So far, what I like most is skiing. I grew up in Shanghai where it seldom snows, therefore, I never went skiing before I came to France. Grenoble is a great skiing city. Since I’ve learned how to ski, I go nearly once per week. From a beginner who cannot stop the ski to one who can enjoy skiing, I have fallen in love with this sport. So my favorite place for me so far is L’Alpe d’Huez. I think that all the international students in Grenoble should take advantage of the skiing resorts here to learn skiing and enjoy it.

The CMIRA Grant

The Région Rhône-Alpes offers a scholarship to incoming international students who wish to enroll for their Master 2 Program in Management at GEM (either one semester or one year). The aim of the scholarship is to promote international cooperation between the universities. Although the grant applications are sent to the local government to be awarded, Priya Srinivasan, Grants Administer, manages the grant processing for incoming and outgoing students within the Center for International Affairs. She is available to assist with the application process and to answer questions about the CMIRA grant specifically.

Studying abroad in France gives you the chance to learn and integrate into the French life. Taking part in a program at GEM will not only give you an appreciation for French culture, but it will also allow you to gain a renewed appreciation and outlook on your own culture.


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