Outgoing Experiences - Joanne B.

Name: Joanne B.
Diploma program before the BBA: General Insurance and Risk Management
Exchange Partner: Toulouse Business School
Duration: 1 semester, September – December

What was a typical school day was like?
The schedule would change every week. It took a while to get used to, but once you got in the habit of checking ahead it felt normal. Every class lasts for 3 hours with a break halfway through. I usually had 1 or 2 classes a day, 2-3 times per week (some weeks more and some less).

What is the campus like?
The campus for the Bachelor program was quite a trek from the city center where I lived. It generally took 30 to 40 minutes and I had to take both the metro and a bus. There is student housing closer to the school but then you sacrifice being close to the core of the city (which I would highly recommend!). The Masters program had a great location right in the middle of the city, which is very easy to get too.

What did you do to have fun?
Toulouse is known for being a student city so there was a lot to do! There are a lot of student deals at restaurants and bars, which made it more affordable to go out. Speaking of bars, the city is full of both them and clubs - you are pretty much guaranteed to find something going on any night of the week. The riverbank of the Garonne is also a famous gathering spot in the city where people of all ages go to hang out and socialize with a beautiful view. The school also had a great welcome team that put on numerous events and nights out for exchange students. Toulouse has numerous parks, museums and churches throughout the city to visit and the shopping is great. I also found Toulouse to be a great central point for traveling – there are a lot of Ryan Air and Easy Jet flights to and from Toulouse. It is also close to the Pyrenees Mountains for hiking and skiing and only an hour and a half from Bordeaux – the city of wine.

Why would you recommend exchange to others?

I would HIGHLY recommend doing an exchange. It was the best 5 months I’ve ever had. It seems scary at first but you meet the most amazing people and connect with them so fast. They are all like-minded, open to adventure and become your family very fast. I was able to do a bunch of trips (Barcelona, Berlin, London, Geneva, Paris and the list only goes on from there…) while completing my degree. It was so amazing to experience another culture and adapt to a French lifestyle. I definitely feel like I have learned more about myself and grown as an individual in the past 5 months then I have my entire life.

What one tip would you give to students preparing for exchange?
I know for me, and for so many people I met, the most daunting thought was meeting people and making friends. Everyone is in the same position when you arrive and you will meet people very quickly. Immerse yourself in any school or exchange student event that is going on and put yourself out there. Also, try to adapt to the culture and embrace the differences from Vancouver. Learn the language, wander the city, shop at the markets and get out for the nightlife!