A Study Abroad in France

Recently, I had a chance to chat with one of my friends, Grace, who had the chance to study abroad earlier this year. One of the things I really wish I had the chance to do during university is go on a Learning Abroad program. So if you are like me, take this as your sign to study abroad!

Photo of a person sitting near the edge of a cliff with water in the background
Photo of Grace at Étretat, France

Name: Grace

Year of Study: 4th

Program of study: Rotman Commerce

Where did you go? I visited Lyon, France and attended Université Jean Moulin Lyon 3. My exchange was 4 months long, from January to April.

Photo of a person standing on stone steps with buildings in the background
Photo of Grace in Spain

There are so many places U of T offers exchanges to — how did you decide? Growing up, I was in French Immersion, and I’ve always wanted to engage with the French language and culture and thought it would be the perfect opportunity to do so.

Photo of two people standing with trees on either side
Photo of Grace with a friend

What was the biggest culture shock moment? In France, when you bump into someone, people say tend to say "pardon" a lot. I also learned that the term “désolée" (sorry in English) is generally used in more serious situations. Having to pay to use the washroom was a bit of a shock as well.

In what ways did your travels impact your personal growth or self-discovery? I think one of the biggest skills I had to learn is independence, specifically when it came to navigating challenges due to language barriers. I also learned to embrace spontaneity and to go with the flow, as things may not always go how we wish them to.

What was the highlight of your exchange? The freedom of being able to travel spontaneously was definitely the highlight. Because of how close the countries are in Europe, I could go to a totally new country and be back for classes on Monday.

Best food you got to try? All of the pastries in France were heavenly!🥐Other than that, I really enjoyed the paella in Spain and the schnitzel from Germany and Austria.

Photo of a plate with schnitzel
Photo of a schnitzel dinner

Favourite place you got to visit? I got to travel to 19 countries, so that is a VERY difficult question to answer. My top though would have to be Claude Monet’s House, Lucern in Switzerland and Étretat.

Photo of mountains and valleys with trees
Photo of Mt Pilatus, Switzerland

What advice would you give to someone looking to study abroad? I think it's very important to be aware and make sure you take the time to learn about the political and social norms of the place you are visiting.

Use one word to describe your overall experience: Introspective.

Photo of a group of people smiling
Photo of Grace with friends from her exchange

To learn more about studying abroad at U of T, visit the Learning Abroad website.

– Bolu 🫶🏾

0 comments on “A Study Abroad in France

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *