Our two MCiT Bachelor students, Anna Stock and Jasmin Steiner, did not want to miss out on spending their semester abroad in France despite the worldwide pandemic. In the interview they talk about the exciting time in Nantes, the challenges they have had to overcome so far and tell us about their favorite places.
Interview participants: J: Jasmin Steiner; A: Anna Stock
Anna and Jasmin, why did you choose Audencia Business School?
A: Jasmin and I both had the intention to go to France to brush up our French. We chose Nantes and Audencia Business School because Audencia has a good reputation in France and throughout Europe. Also, the pictures of Nantes already impressed us, so the decision was not that difficult. Of course, we were very pleased that we both got the study place.
Where do you see the biggest differences between your host university and the MCI?
J: The two universities are very similar in their structure. Both have a very practice-oriented learning approach. Theoretical content is consolidated by working on practical tasks in groups. This year the situation is certainly different from previous years due to COVID-19. While the MCI gives clear indications of lecture and exam dates at the beginning of the semester, the planning procedure at Audencia is more spontaneous. However, the syllabus of the courses is clearly defined at both universities right from the start.
What is it like to spend a semester abroad in France during COVID-19?
A: Let's say: special! Of course, we would also have preferred to spend a COVID-19-free semester abroad. Many things that usually characterize such a semester were unfortunately not possible or more difficult for us in this form: For example, the exchange with other students was only possible to a limited extent. We spent a total of three weeks directly at Audencia, apart from this the lessons took place exclusively online. And, of course it is also easier to improve one's own language skills if the others do not wear masks. But nevertheless, we are so grateful that the semester came about at all and that we were able to experience so many beautiful things. Given the state of emergency, this is a true privilege.
How do you like Nantes?
Très bien! The city is very impressive, especially the combination of the old with the new, both in architecture and art. Nantes is extremely livable with its numerous green spaces and recreational areas. The entire city is spotted with beautiful parks and wooded areas. And of course not to forget the French haute cuisine and the numerous cafés and crêperies. By now, we could make a crêpe ranking in Nantes, with quite a few crêperies sharing the first place. The people here are extremely friendly. Even if we put our foot in it with our poor knowledge of French, they have always tried to help us. Insider tip for all hobby historians: Apart from Nantes, the entire Loire valley with its numerous beautiful castles and chateaux is truly a paradise for those interested in history.
What has been the biggest challenge during your semester abroad so far?
A: For me, I think it was the lockdown, which is stricter in France than in Austria - it can make you go a bit crazy … Thank goodness my great flatmates were available for any nonsense!
J: For me it was the language barrier at the beginning. Of course, there were a lot of funny moments because of my lack of French, but it was a real challenge to express myself and sometimes difficult. But thanks to Anna and my French course I was able to overcome the language barrier - there's still a lot of laughter.
Dear Anna, dear Jasmin! Many thanks for your travel report. You have given us some really nice reading moments!