Gabriella Pricop – Business Management (Fast Track) – Level 2

ESCE International Business School, France

I still remember sitting in the front row at the exchange meeting held by Laura, one and a half year ago, listening about the opportunities to study abroad. I remember so vividly getting shivers down my spine as soon as I saw the pictures of Paris on the board, I instinctively knew that that was where I wanted to go. And that’s how it started.

The City

I arrived in Paris mid-August, a couple weeks before the start of classes. I wanted to have a bit more time to explore the city by myself, to just stroll along the Seine, discover a new spot just by being lost, and just feel so tiny standing in front of the Eiffel Tour and the Cathedral of Notre-Dame. I had all these, very stereotypical and movie-like experiences that I was dreaming about, like visiting all the hot spots of Paris: Notre-Dame, the Tour Eiffel, the Arc de Triomphe, the Sacre-Coeur, the Louvre and so on.  I have to say I wasn’t disappointed one bit, by any of them. Those places for me were just as magical as I was hoping they would be.

The School

Paris taught me so many different things and I am so grateful for this opportunity that really pushed me to step out from my comfort zone, challenge myself  and re-evaluate what are my boundaries. A lot of these realisations came actually from a few eye-opening classes I took at ESCE International Business School. I had to follow 9 classes in a semester, which I’m not going to lie, consisted of a huge amount of work, with 12 hours of back to back classes.  Nonetheless, they were so challenging, inspirational and full of life-related things.  Once I started familiarising myself with the routine I didn’t mind the amount of hours spent in class.

As an Italian, whose school system is not that different from the French one, adjusting to the school and the French-way of doing things was not that hard. It was actually easier compared to when I moved from Italy to Scotland. The tough part was learning how to relate and work in groups with other international students from all over the world. There were people from Norway, Denmark, Spain, Czech Republic, Mexico, U.S., Columbia, China, Korea just to name a few. It was very challenging for sure but also so interesting getting to learn their culture and their way of doing things. It gave me a new and true insight into different cultures and I feel like I’ve gained so much knowledge in the geographical and cultural field.

The People

I was also lucky enough to live in a student hall with amazing people, again, from all over the world. We would socialise together, learn about each other, our countries and our languages. What made those moments so great was that in each conversation we would have a mix of English, French, Italian and Spanish etc and it made me realise how language is not a barrier when the intentions are pure, in one way or another we would understand exactly what the other person was trying to say. And because of those moments and many others, I know we have bonded and created such strong friendships and I am now looking forward to be able to go and visit my friends from across the ocean.

The Culture

I find the French culture to be so fascinating and it didn’t take me long to embrace it and make it my own. The way French people are living la vie en rose, meaning that everything around you is a source of joy and that you should take your time to enjoy life at its fullest. Sipping a cup of coffee at a Bistrò, enjoying a macaron at Ladurée, relaxing while reading a book in a park (and there are so many breathtaking parks in Paris, my personal favourite is the Jardins du Luxembourg), enjoying a nice meal in a typical French restaurant, French people really make the time for these things, they are a huge part of their culture.

The Experience

I couldn’t be more grateful and satisfied about the whole experience. I’ve learnt so much about a new country, about other cultures, and most importantly about myself. I believe taking part in an exchange during your twenties is definitely a great experience that will shape you as a person, and you will always look back at it in the future. Moreover, doing it in Paris for me was totally magical. This city really knows how to initiate a sparkle in you, a very unique feeling for which, wherever you’ll go from there, you will always be drawn back to Paris.

Semester Abroad Experiences

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