Flying into Nice, France, and seeing the beautiful blue waters and grand mountains of the French Riviera was incredible, to say the least. I was welcomed to the city with friendly faces and warm weather. My first time at my new business school was for the orientation day, where I met tons of new people from all around the world and listened to all the opportunities the school has to offer. To describe the global business program: it is one that is filled with great professors and an expansive network of alumni from across the world. The course descriptions are similar to those at Mays Business School, but the structure differs with some courses not beginning until mid-October. As for the cultural differences, people here take their time to enjoy the little things, such as taking a leisurely stroll on the Promenade des Anglaise or continuing to chat long after they finish a meal at a restaurant. People here really respect the quality of time with others, unlike in America where we are constantly on the go. The change of pace here has some getting used to but I know it will be worthwhile. I hope to learn French, international business dynamics, and make long-lasting global friendships while here. I can’t wait to report back at the end of my trip to see how much I have grown from this experience.
As I reach the end of my time in Nice, it is time to reflect on what I have learned and how I have grown. When I first arrived in Nice, I was completely alone and wondering if I had made the right choice. Now, five months later, I have had the experience of a lifetime and learned so much.
EDHEC Business School was quite different than Mays. The three-hour-long classes were rough but allowed many long weekends to travel. The grades were based only on a midterm and final exam, mostly a 30/70 split. I was lucky enough to have at least one fellow exchange student in every course, as the French students are indeed difficult to get to know. The classes there were high-level, and I really enjoyed the electives, which were taught by professors with incredible real-world experience and unique teaching styles. I will miss the campus itself. Many of the classrooms and the various decks had views of the ocean and the private planes at the airport. It was easy to start planning my walk to the beach when I was two hours into a derivatives class.
My favorite part of the exchange was all the people I got to meet. I was the only American in the M1 program, so I was truly out of my comfort zone. I met people from places I never thought I would and loved learning about how their cultures and all their languages. I also got to live with people from England and The Netherlands and see the differences in how they live. I especially enjoyed the authentic Stroopwafels my roommate’s family brought.
I was able to travel to five countries during my time in Monaco. My favorite was Portugal, and I spent the most time in Switzerland with four trips. I was also incredibly lucky to attend some of the world’s most iconic events. I went to the Cannes Film Festival and saw celebrities walk the red carpet. I also extended my trip to go to the Monaco Grand Prix, something I never thought I would do.
Although there is much to see in all of Europe, I feel that Nice is one of the best cities for a long stay. The weather there is great, with a milder winter I especially appreciated and much cooler summers than Texas. The Côte d’Azur is truly beautiful, and I grew to love Nice’s rock beaches. There are sand ones nearby though if you can’t get used to it. There is so much to see in a close radius as well. I took trains to Cannes, Antibes, Marseilles, Monaco, and many more places. You can even take an hour-long train to Ventimiglia, Italy. Nice also offers a direct bus to three different ski resorts for a mere six euros each way. I made four different day trips out to Isola 2000 in my time there.
My time in Nice taught me a lot. I had to deal with many challenges there such as the language barrier, opening a bank account, and luggage lost for five days that was only saved by a French-speaking friend. It is a time I wouldn’t change for anything, and I hope to return soon.
I have been in Nice, France for two weeks now and am loving it! EDHEC Business School Nice is quite different from Texas A&M and Mays. EDHEC is housed entirely in one building right on the Promenade des Anglais, and I have a view of the Mediterranean from many of my classes. The building itself is very modern and has a lot of amenities for students such as a restaurant. There are also many terraces around the building to eat lunch at and watch the planes take off from the nearby airport. The classes here are once a week for three hours, and a few of the courses begin at different points in the semester. I have some electives that do not begin until March. The schedule can also change from week to week, which I am not used to. One aspect of the courses that I feel will have the biggest impact is that most of the courses are based solely off one final exam. I will have to adjust my studying and learning style, as I am used to frequent midterms, quizzes, and homework.
I have noticed many differences between the lifestyle here and back at home in Texas. I have become used to walking everywhere or using the tram/bus system to get around. Many of the restaurants and businesses here will close in the middle of the day and on Sundays, which I was not used to. The food here is also different, and there are bakeries everywhere to get a baguette, pastry, or sandwich. Nice is also known for having excellent seafood, especially mussels. The language barrier has been difficult, as many people here do not speak English. Navigating things like the grocery self-checkout in French and some other tasks have been a little difficult but I am starting to recognize more. Luckily, my French course here begins this week.
I was able to meet a lot of my fellow exchange students at our orientation before school started. I found out that I am the only American exchange student in my program, and it has been fascinating to meet people from all over the world. They speak so many different languages and bring parts of all their cultures. We have been trying to make the most of our time here and have begun already exploring the Cote D’azur with trips to Cannes and Monaco already! While in Cannes we took a ferry to the nearby island of Sainte-Marguerite, where there was a royal fort and a small prison that housed the infamous “Man in the Iron Mask.” I have also been spending a lot of time on the beaches near me, especially during sunset as it is always spectacular. I am looking forward to the rest of my time here and hope to make the most of it!