“You’re never alone here!” Jan, Erasmus Exchange Student at Montpellier Business School

A German student from the European University Viadrina Frankfurt (Oder) on exchange for 1 year, Jan is part of a group of 300 international students on academic exchange at Montpellier Business School.

What was your vision of Montpellier Business School before you began your exchange?

I knew about the Grandes Écoles system in France and I was pleased that my university in Germany had such a good partner. Some friends who were here last year recommended Montpellier Business School to me, the possibility of doing a double-degree was very attractive for the next step of my career. Also I like France, especially the South. Montpellier is a super city for young people, you can tell just by walking through the town, it’s a stunning environment.  

How did you find the French welcome? And how about the relationships with students in Montpellier?

At the start, I thought France was a great nation that didn’t particularly like Germany…given the history. But it’s the opposite; each time I say I’m German (because people still can’t tell my accent), the French are very welcoming and very positive, and that’s a huge surprise and I really didn’t expect it. With regards to the students, there’s a great vibe and a real solidarity between the exchange students, maybe a bit too much of one though seeing as we always seem to be together.

What’s changed since you got here?

[Laughs] I think I do things a little slower; I take my time while walking: when I left Germany it was 15°C and when I arrived here it was above 25°C so you’re pretty much forced to walk slower here if you don’t want to sweat too much, it’s a different lifestyle. Finally, with hindsight I believe I would’ve coped with the courses in French but I opted to do them in English, which was sort of my fault…

With regards to the lessons, what do you think of the academic lifestyle at Montpellier Business School?

What I like here is that the teachers are always helping us; we have personal contact with them. It’s a type of student-teacher relationship that I haven’t seen before in Germany. I really like the French Culture and Society module with Beverly Leligois and the Théorie des Organisations module with Lucas Dufour! You don’t get bored because you’re working in groups throughout the semester.

Do you have any advice for exchange students who have just arrived for the second semester?

You need to live among the French and make some local friends! That’s the choice I made when I chose to live with 2 people from the region. It’s the best way to improve your level of French and to take in the culture. My other bit of advice would be to not worry if you run into any difficulties, whatever they may be (accommodation, health, etc.), the international services at Montpellier Business School will look after you. It’s good because it makes you feel like you’re never alone.

Thank you to Jan for his interview, and we wish him the best in his second semester.