Here I am, back in Finland. I came back at the end of May so I have already been here for three weeks. It was really sad to say goodbye to everyone in Troyes, especially to my roomies that have become so important for me. And it was also so sad to leave our French home although I was already looking forward to being back in my own, Finnish home.
When I returned to Finland I immediately felt like I had never really been anywhere else. I kind of thought I would be really happy to be back at home in Jyväskylä but it actually felt very ordinary. Well of course it was really nice to see my friends, family and my boyfriend. And they seemed to be happy to see me, too!
Now that I am back at home I want to give some tips for you; what to do and what not to do when studying in ESC Troyes. And why not in other universities as well.
– DO get an apartment with roomies; the more the merrier! Well some people were living with 11 people, that is too much for me. We were five people in our house and that was very nice. Of course you might have bad luck and get roommates that have totally different habits which might cause some problems but DON’T worry; you only live with them for a very short time of your life.
– DO speak French as much as you can. When you speak with French people, or at least try to speak, you will learn even more and become more and more confident. DON’T care about some locals who seem to be very unimpressed with your efforts. Imagine them trying to speak Finnish when they can’t even speak English nearly as well as you speak French!
– DO go to student parties even if you don’t want to drink. Go to the pre drinks, talk and make friends and then go home when others go to bar. And anyway that going to the bar part is really late in Finns’ opinion, usually around 1 or later.
– DO take care of yourself for your own security. You will hear many scary stories about girls that were pulled to cars and other not nice things like that. And unfortunately these stories are true. I know many girls that bought pepper sprays just in case this would happen to them. I didn’t think that was necessary but that is because I always went home with one of my roomies. DON’T walk alone during the night if you can avoid it. Walk with your friend or at least go by bike.
– DO travel around France and if possible also in other central European countries. Troyes is quite close to Paris and there are good flight and train connections to many interesting places. Also use BlaBla car, train discounts, cheap hotels and Airbnb to save money so you can travel even more! DON’T worry about money. This is maybe your once in a lifetime opportunity to live abroad and travel around. When you return home you have plenty of time to work! Also DON’T make plans and reservation too early; the dates of the courses might change with one day’s warning.
That is it then! I’m done with my semester (well I still have some paper work to do..) and I wish you very good time in Troyes or in where ever you are going. Your exchange will be great as long as you have a good attitude; be social, polite and patient. Enjoy!