First and foremost, I would like to thank the Center for International Affairs as well as the people from the Welcome Desk for providing us so much help regarding the formalities, integration, student life etc.
I chose GEM for several reasons: First of all, I wanted to study in France because I learned French in school and wanted to deepen my knowledge in this language. I preferred to choose a rather small city since I am not a big fan of big cities like Paris, for example. In my opinion, one of the biggest advantages of Grenoble is that everything is quite near and that you do not have to cover huge distances if you want to go to school or to the city. Grenoble and GEM were very interesting to me because the school has a very good reputation (all three major accreditations, #6 among French Business Schools) and the city and its surroundings are very different from where I live in Germany. I grew up in a very flat region, therefore, I really enjoy having the mountains so close by and being able to hike or run there.
How was the integration?
Since I am German and been to France before, the integration process has not been that hard for me, however, there are still stark differences between France and Germany both inside and outside school, of course. Luckily the people from the Center for International Affairs as well as the students from the Welcome Desk have always taken care of us Internationals. This definitely helped a lot to deal with the formalities at the beginning of the semester and to integrate into the student life here at GEM. Speaking of integration, there are always a lot of events going on in the international community, so you definitely do not have to be bored. It has been a very interesting and enriching time for me because here you have the opportunity to meet so many people from different countries and cultures. It is always nice to talk to people having a different background than you in order to learn something new and extend your cultural understanding.
How is life at GEM?
At first, I found it a bit hard to adapt to the way of instruction at GEM (mandatory presence, homework, continuous assessment) because it differs a lot from the program I do in Germany, but now I got used to it and I appreciate having a different style here compared to at home.
What I like most about GEM is the mix of French and International influences. Following courses in English and French I get to know both locals and Internationals which enables you to get a more concise idea of both sides. The same is valid for the professors which are French and International, so you get input not only from France, but also from other countries.
In what way has the grant helped me?
The CMIRA grant has definitely helped me to deal with the cost of living here in Grenoble because compared to Germany it is way more expensive to live here. Apart from that, it permits me to afford luxuries such as buying books, travelling and going out in the evening which is nice to get a better understanding of Grenoble, the French way of life and your fellow students from all over the world.
To sum everything up, I definitely do not regret having chosen Grenoble for my exchange and the CMIRA grant makes my stay here even nicer, of course.
(By Janos Koch)