Going Places – Students’ #GEMove journey, before and after

On y va !
That’s what many gemiens/gemiennes are saying after receiving their study abroad allocations last month at the GEMove International Allocation Day. Five students have shared their allocation journey and details about their choice of destination for next year. One of the great things about studying abroad at GEM is that the options are nearly endless with the variety of programs and large number of partner schools to choose from all over the world. Here, students recap their allocation experience and share insights on their upcoming adventures.

A semester in Canada during Year 2:

Louise Chapuis

Louise is currently in the first year in the Grand École program. She selected Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada. She will study there during the spring semester of 2017.
During the day of the allocation, she was stressed because she wasn’t sure she would get her top choice, which was Simon Fraser. As she waited for her appointment, she knew there was one spot left and if someone before her selected it before it was her turn, there would have been a disappointment. Much to her relief that didn’t happen and in the end she was awarded her top pick.

English on her mind:

Louise knew that she wanted to study in an English speaking country so she researched and chose universities in places as such, including Canada, the US and Australia. She chose schools from all three destinations in her application, however, Canada was her top destination. It will be her first time to Canada, but she says she’s just always been attracted to the country.

Options and decisions:

Louise says she’s happy that GEM offers so many opportunities to study in foreign country in different program, but she also pointed out that at times, these options make it difficult to decide between; in her case, it was making the decision between the traditional program which has less places or the Transcontinental Track, which is a specialized program for a group of GEM students. However, both programs are offered at Simon Fraser in Vancouver. In the end, she chose the traditional program because she thinks it will allow her to branch-out more in terms of English and meeting students from other places.

A double degree in the UK:

Charlotte Lanza

Charlotte is currently in the internship gap year between Years 2 and 3 within the Grand École program. She has selected a double degree program at Exeter University in the United Kingdom for her final year of study.
On the day of the allocation, Charlotte was experiencing feelings of excitement and impatience. She was ranked 2nd overall so she knew she would probably get her first choice, but she was excited to make it official. She was also happy to see her friends who are also on their gap year. They all received their top destinations too so she got to celebrate with them that day. She also represented one friend who couldn’t attend due to her internship – which meant constant checking in and a second round of emotions when her friend’s rendez-vous arrived.
Charlotte knew that she wanted to go to the UK and she also knew that she wanted to do the whole year so she decided that a double-degree was right for her. She studied all of the universities with double-degrees in the UK and finally chose Exeter as her top choice because of its high ranking. She would like to work in an international company after her studies (she’s currently interning at one, too!) so she believes studying at Exeter will help her achieve that goal.

Planning and preparations:

So far, Charlotte has prepared her entry documents and spoken with her academic advisor about her application – she’s nearly finished with it and has even started to look for accommodations (it’s never too early to prepare for things like this!). As for her allocation journey, so far it has been a positive experience. She says there’s a lot of information available on the multiple website so she encourages applicants to dig deeper to get all of it. She said it was also nice that international students from some of the partner universities were present on the allocation day. Although no one from Exeter was there, she has received some contacts and she plans to get in touch with them soon.

A Wild Adventure in Cape Town, South Africa

Antoine Colpaert

Antoine is currently a GEM student in the Grand École Programme in his internship/gap year. He has been allocated to attend the University of Cape Town in Cape Town, South Africa in the spring of 2017.

Allocation from afar:

I was first relieved when I saw my ranking for the allocation day. I knew that my first or second choice would be ensured. However, this event became quite stressful to me since I understood that my current internship abroad in Tahiti would not allow me to physically attend the Allocation Day. Therefore, I asked one of my best friends to carry my voice and he said yes, no matter what. It was the middle of the night, my roommate was snoring, and I knew that it would be an enriching day professionally, but I was not there to share the joy with my friends.


I knew that by the time I would get to South Africa, I would already have experienced the 3 transcontinental programs in three major countries (China, Canada, USA). I selected Africa to seize the opportunity to do something different and to embark on one of the wildest adventures I could opt for. Simply put, I wanted to immerse myself into a country and culture that I knew I would not get to discover or experience that deeply through another channel.

Preparations and a Decision:

I spent a lot of time and energy on choosing the right destination for me by reading some ‘experience reports’, by reaching out to students who are or went to my preferred destinations, and by researching on my own. Today, I am now waiting for my letter of acceptance to start the administrative process and push my plans further.

Fine-tuning his multicultural background:

I feel humbled by this experience and those ahead. I am not only glad that I was accepted to my first choice but also to know that I got the opportunity to combine this exchange with the new program in New York at Columbia University. Together, these programs have allowed me to live abroad throughout the whole year, which perfectly aligns my personal quest for adventure with my professional ambitions towards multicultural management.

On a funnier note, I would like to stress that after failing the TOEFL’s written exam two weeks before the deadline, I had no other choice than to travel to London to take the IELTS exam and thereby reach the 7.5 required for Cape Town University – London was in fact the only spot available by that time. There is no doubt to me: it was all worth it!!!

A semester of design in Scandinavia

Marie-Claire Nicot

Marie-Claire is student at GEM who has been allocated to study at Aalto University in Helsinki, Finland within the School of Art, Design and Architecture during the spring of 2017. She has chosen Aalto’s program as it aligns perfectly with the double degree program that GEM offers with Strate School of Design in Paris.

Stress then Relief from outside the Amphi:

As anyone may guess, I was feeling very anxious. Even if I had a good ranking, I couldn’t help but fear not to have my first wish: Aalto University in Helsinki, Finland.
I called my friend, who was in the amphi, every two minutes. The “funny” thing has been that I broke my mobile phone the day before so I had to ask people on the street or on the bus (on my way to work) to lend me their phones! I was the 7th person to be called, so it was pretty quick, but this little time (from the first to the sixth), seemed very long to me.

Afterwards, my friend told me that I was allocated to Finland I felt a big relief. Less than an hour later, another great friend of mine called to announce me that he was also accepted in Helsinki. I was so happy!

A Double-degree and the Nordic Cultural Experience:

It’s an academic exchange that is a bit special: only the students who have done the double degree with Strate (school of design) can apply to it. Aalto is a business school but it also has a branch specialized in art, design and architecture. I really hope that it will enable me to complete my process by crossing management and design studies.

Furthermore, it is located in a part of the world that I really don’t know. I’m so excited to go there next year and to discover the Nordic culture!

Preparations prior to the Amphi:

To be honest, I wasn’t prepared to be a candidate for study abroad until the last day of the online campaign. Because first, according to the administration rules, I thought I couldn’t apply. Only three hours before the campaign closing, I decided to choose 8 destinations, but my objective was Aalto.
I thought it would be impossible to sit for the TOEFL exam (which is compulsory to go in the majority of countries) because normally, you have to ask for a place several months before January (the deadline to enter your score online). I’ve been very lucky to find a place in Toulouse. There wasn’t any left in Paris until February and we were in November … As I said, I feel like I’ve been very lucky … it was a bit risky. When I knew that I had a score that was high enough, I just crossed my finger until the amphi!

School Spirit and a semester in the USA

Laurie Carotenuto

Laurie is currently a student in the Grand École Programme and has been allocated to Bentley University in Massachusetts, United States to study during the spring of 2017.
Before the allocation, I was very nervous. It was difficult because you didn’t know where you would be next year. It could be anywhere from India to the US, Australia..But it depends on other students’ choices who are before you.

I saw my ranking on the school website two days before the Allocation day. Being in the top 10 of my promo, I knew that I would have my first or second choice, but surprisingly I was still very anxious about the allocation day. After the allocation, I felt both relieved and excited. I am about to discover a new country and a new way of life!

I think after the allocation day I did not realize right away what was happening. And I am convinced that I don’t still fully realize it today.

Experiencing life at an American university:

Technically, I chose 10 universities. But Bentley was on the top of my list choice.
Indeed, I want to discover the American culture, especially in an American university. It is incredible for me to imagine that I will study in the United States for a semester.
I chose Bentley because this university was attractive to me for different reasons:

1. The location, next to Boston, in Massachusetts
2. The university classes (business program)
3. The campus life: great sport facilities, bookstore, multicultural center, etc.

To be frank, I really want to wear the school colors!

Supporting Friends:

The allocation is for each student a day of hope, but for some students, it is also a day of disappointment.
I am aware that this experience is an incredible fortune for me. And thanks to GEM, I can have this opportunity.

I also participated to this allocation to support my friends and to know where my classmates will go. It is important to know where I will spend my holidays to visit my friends!

(by Katie Tebbe)


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