MARSEILLE KEDGE Business School Exchange Report 2014

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1 MARSEILLE KEDGE Business School Exchange Report 2014

2 TABLE OF CONTENTS TABLE OF CONTENTS... 2 A SEMESTER IN MARSEILLE... 3 Background to Exchange... 3 Marseille... 3 The School... 3 My Courses... 4 Contacting Host University... 4 Cost of Living... 5 Personal Development... 6 Advice... 6

3 A SEMESTER IN MARSEILLE Background to Exchange Before applying for my exchange I had since long been thinking of spending parts of my life abroad. As a child, my parents took me out travelling and I think that was what gave me this interest in, and yearn for, new cultural experiences, seeing people do things differently and hearing them speak other languages. At the gymnasium in Sweden I took the international profile with education in English. At the university I picked an English programme with a compulsory exchange semester. I was internationally headed all from the start. I was open-minded, experienced I thought until I moved to Marseille. Marseille Marseille is for real not a place like any other in France. It is a city governing on its own, even though it is by the rules not supposed to do so. Walking down the main street Rue Canebière you probably pass by people from a wider range of countries than you ever thought was possible. You will pass by luxury shops with expensive brands, not longer after markets with fruits and vegetables. A block away from the big galleria selling your most well known luxury brands you find sellers of the black market doing their business visibly in the street without police intervening. The School During my exchange in Marseille I attended KEDGE Business School, former known as Euromed Management. The school is well known in France and has campuses in other cities as well, for example in Bordeaux and Toulon. The facilities of the school where very

4 nice, however seemingly not nicely located. To get to the campus from the city centre takes approximately 45 minutes, but can also vary to an additional or less 15 minutes depending on the traffic. There is however a possibility to live close to the school for those who prefer. Several student housings are located around the main campus Luminy. My Courses At KEDGE Business School I took six courses. I took four marketing courses; Marketing Communication, Luxury Goods Marketing, International Marketing Cases as well as two courses in management; Project Management and The Euro-Mediterranean Management Approach. I signed up for the voluntary French course, when I came to Marseille, but quitted it because of the tight schedule. Contacting Host University Contacting the host university for the first time was not without problems since the administration of KEDGE s international office had problems with their online application forum and was at the moment overthrown by s from worried exchange students. After some calls to the KEDGE administration in Bordeaux and some minutes waiting on the line, I finally reached the administration and they gave me the information I needed for the moment. This process had to be repeated at several occasions during the process of my application. To be honest I was never really sure whether I had a place as an exchange student at the host university or not until the very day I put my foot in there and got to hear my name called at my first petition. Housing Regarding housing I was lucky to get a place at a state-owned student housing called SOGIMA. Before getting a placement at this housing, I had been patiently waiting for a reply from the schools own online application for housing without any reply telling me they had a place for me. I know some people got

5 housing in this way, through school, but I was not lucky enough. If you choose to search for housing on your own I would strongly recommend you to go for public student housing and not private. Organisations providing student housing that are state owned are bund to follow special regulations set by the state regarding how to treat students upon arrival and checkout as well as several minimum guarantees such as guarantee for electricity, water etc. You may think that things like water and electricity are obvious things to include in a student housing but if you choose to go private you may find yourself wrong regarding that matter. Cost of Living Living in Marseille is relatively cheap if being compared with a semester s stay in any other big city. However one must not forget that going on an exchange, especially as a student, nevertheless will bring you additional living costs compared to your standard way of living at home. Whilst being on exchange you go out more, you spend more money on travelling and of course, most of us also want to buy some souvenirs to bring back home! There is no doubt you will need to plan for an extra exchange budget. Language Skills Regarding my language skills I have developed my English further but would however not say that my stay in Marseille gave me much more knowledge in the French language. Before leaving for Marseille I already had good knowledge in the French language, and since my stay in Marseille did not involve more French speaking than a hello at the local supermarket, or smalltalk at the housing reception, I did not get much room for practising the language in a way that made room for real progression. Also worth mentioning is that in Marseille the

6 population speak with a strong accent called Maeseillaise. It is French, although it does not sound much like it. At least not if you are used to the Parisian form of French they teach in schools here in Sweden and at most French language schools abroad. Although being a very southern-grumpy accent, it is understandable, but nevertheless not the perfect choice for someone wanting to improve his or her French speaking since the rest of France seem not to like the Marseillan way of speaking. Personal Development I chose Marseille because I wanted to practise my French. Whilst arriving in Marseille with one main goal in sight to get to speak more French I came home realizing that I had accomplished everything but just that. I m not saying I did not get to speak French at all in Marseille, but that I did not get to speak it to such an extent that it made much difference for me. What I expected to be a travel all about practising French became a travel about selfrealizing, exploring culture, and gaining new perspectives on the world and myself. As a person Marseille changed me a lot. It made me more tolerant and more open-minded. Before leaving for Marseille I though I knew what multiculturalism was, but clearly I didn t. Marseille is a huge blend of all cultures there is in the world, and that, in combination with the experience of being on exchange, meeting people from all over the world, really gave me a multicultural experience beyond borders! From Marseille I brought with me home a wider perspective on life and myself as a person. Advice My advice to anyone who wishes to go on exchange is to go for the gut feeling. What feels best? Where do you want to go? It might be a good start to consider which places you have been thinking of visiting lately, why did you want to go there? Another thing you could think of is what type of person you are. What place would fit your personality? Perhaps there is something you want to change about who you are? If so, challenge yourself and go for the place that you would expect would be the one fitting you the least. Perhaps you would then even gain more out of your exchange.

7 A final advice is not to choose your destination by language. While being on exchange you are placed in a completely different context than if you would visit another country on any other premises, such as on travel or for work. Being on exchange is all about sharing the exchange experience with other exchange students from all parts of the world, and no matter which country you go to the language you will speak will predominantly be English. If you are looking to improve your language skills in any other language but English, then you should go for a whole other concept of travelling such as a language course or take on a job offer abroad later on in life. Going on exchange is an opportunity you do not want to miss out on, so take the chance to go where you want to go the most and enjoy your time abroad! But be prepared! It is going to change you!

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