From the 4 corners of the world...Témoignages des étudiants.
ERASMUS 2015-2016 :
Dans le cadre du programme d'échanges de l'UCO, les étudiants ont la possibilité de partir dans une université à l'étranger. Le responsable pédagogique des différentes filières d'enseignements de l'UCO BN est seul habilité à proposer un séjour d'études aux étudiants inscrits dans sa formation.
William MESSERLY - Allemagne William PAUGAM - Allemagne Fiona CAUSO - Argentine Blandine GUEGAN - Écosse Cécile LE BESCOND - Manon GOIC - Chloé DALIBOT - Juliette GAGNIAGE - Espagne Manuel GAUBERT - Japon Victor GOURDIN - Lettonie Lucie LE LOUARGANT - Gwendoline LE BAIL - Pologne Léa PHILIPPE - Danick MEHEUST - Slovénie Emmanuel BARRE - USA Hugo LE COZ - USA
William MESSERLY - Germersheim [Allemagne]
Germersheim, a nice place to visit
So I went to the city of Germersheim for my Erasmus journey. I could also look for aspects of German culture compared to France, despite the fact that I was located nearly close to the French border.
Germersheim is a very small city within a lot of archeological monuments which are the witnesses of a rich historical culture. Especially with the old military ramparts which are bordering a large part of the city and the old "Wehrmart " jail ( which is today a museum ). It includes the rests of old fortification from the Middle-Ages including " Fronte Lamotte" and "Fronte Beckers"
Germany is very famous for its food and Germersheim was a nice place for tasting some specialties of "Rhineland-Palatinate" Länder and from the country in general ( including "flammenküchen", " Schnitzell"... ). There were also a lot of Erasmus Students from many different nationalities, so that we could exchange different cultural aspects from our respective homeland ( for example in my class were we 13 Spanish, 2 Italians, 2 Americans from the USA, and two French including me of course ). The university is located in the old military casern, in a very old ( and large ) rectangular building dated from the year 1500. If you like hiking, there are also many trails for pedestrians so that they could walk or cycle in the nearby cities or along the Rhine river.
William PAUGAM - Osnabrück [Allemagne]
My Semester in Osnabrück, Germany
I had the chance to spend my 5th LEA semester in Germany. I studied from October to early March in Osnabruck, at the town's university. Osnabruck is in the North West of Germany, in the state of Lower-Saxony. It's about 200 km north of Cologne. The city has about 150.000 inhabitants and there is about 14.000 students studying at the university.
Tourism: Cool stuffs to do Osnabrück is rather well located, geographically speaking. Thanks to the campus card provided by the university, students can travel by train for free in the whole state of Lower-Saxony. So I was able to visit the following cities for free: Münster, Oldenburg, Hanover, Bremen, and Hamburg. The first two are historically interesting: they were relatively spared by the 2nd W.W, one can see old houses or medieval buildings. Hanover is worth visiting for its many state museums. The two lasts are typical Hanse cities: the Hanse were a group of merchant cities of Northern Europe. These two are the biggest in North Germany and are characterized by a different architecture than other cities in Germany. I also went to Cologne, as well as Amsterdam, for a cheap price, since taking the train is globally cheaper in Germany than in France. Regarding Osnabrück, there is not much to visit except a few churches and some typical houses. I would advise the Christmas Market though, since it's very typical and because Germans are all about Christmas.
Culture change in Germany, how to get Germanized? If you want to be a typical German, here is some advice for you, though there is lots more: - Dress in a practical way! No fancy stuff! - No crossing the street when the "Ampelmännchen" (man on light signal) is red! - Get ready to sort your garbage like you never did before! Green glass, Black glass, Yellow glass, cartons, plastic: Each of them has its own place. Add a compost if you want. - Arrive on time! Being unpunctual isn't as well excused as in France, especially professionally. - I hope you love potatoes, sausages, as well as cabbage! Because these are the three foods you find the most in typical German food. - Be direct and honest! Germans like to go straight to the point and being honest when talking. No chit chat and be honest, even if it hurts! - Spend your vacation abroad: Germans love going abroad during their vacation. - You'd better like soda water, because when asking for water in a restaurant, you have a 90% chance of getting soda water, rather than mineral water. You'll have to be precise. - Order is key! German love when things are in order. One of the common ways in German to ask if everything is alright is to literally ask if "everything is in order:"Alles in Ordnung?"
Fiona CAUSO - Mendoza [Argentine]
I was in Mendoza in the region of Cuyo in Argentina. I was located in the central Andes, which corresponds to the three provinces of Mendoza, San Luis and San Juan. This is the region which has the highest point (with Aconcagua: 6960 meters). My university was the « Universidad Nacional de Cuyo ». During my experience I have known two different seasons. I arrived on August the 5th during the Argentinian winter (The temperature was around 5 to 15°C) and I left Argentina on November the 29th during the Argentinian spring (The temperature was around 20 to 32°C).
The University: I was in the « Facultad de Filosofía y Letras », I had to choose four courses for my semester, I finally had only three with an English course which was called « Idioma inglés V » and the other that I had in this faculty was called « Civilización de los pueblos angloparlantes » which was a history course about Britain. My third course was in the « Facultad de economía » and it was called « Gestión de la calidad » that deals with the quality management. In France when we are in the first semester in Argentina they are in their second semester because all the seasons are shifting contrary to ours, in fact they also have summer vacation.
The travels and activities: I was with another student of foreign languages of Guingamp who is Elodie PRIDO. Our travels were amazing and beautiful. We started with a week-end in « Las lleñas » the famous ski resort in Argentina (which where at 4 hours of Mendoza but the continent is so big that 4 hours is nothing!), we were with Canadian friends that we have met on Facebook, thanks to a page which is called «movilidad » (all the Mendocinos students are on this page and thanks to it, you can do a lot of activities and meet good people). This week-end was an incredible one; it was the funniest week-end ever of our studies experience. Our first travel was in Santiago de Chile, the capital of Chili. Mendoza to Santiago de Chile was by bus (which is not really expensive). To go to Santiago de Chile, the bus needs to drive on the Andes' roads, the landscapes were fabulous! Santiago de Chile is a really cool city where we can do a lot of stuff. Our second and last travel was in Guarujà in Brazil (at 2 hours from Saõ Paolo). The beaches are completely breathtaking !!
Blandine GUEGAN - Aberdeen [Ecosse]
Aberdeen, Scotland, live the « Aberdream »
From the 5th of September to the 22nd of December, I was in Aberdeen, a city located in Eastern Scotland, at 5 minutes from the sea. It was the second time I was going there, and let me tell you that I will never forget this experience.
I studied Management, Economics, the culture in Latin America and English literature. That was really interesting, especially because most of the time I was the only French girl so they were not any temptation ! And don't worry : Scottish accent is not that bad !! We also have sessions in small groups so you can enjoy this moment in order to ask all the questions you want. My advice : prepare quite a lot of money for the books as they really are expensive !!
The University of Aberdeen is in the top 100 of the best university in the entire world. 12,000 students study there in 42 buildings. Some buildings look like Hogwarts and the Unicorn is the emblem of the establishment. I never saw such a clean place. You have everything you need : stores, Starbucks, the official store ... You will love spending your money there !!
Going abroad is not just about studying. Everything is about discoveries and learn more about yourself. I met amazing people I spent a lot of time with. I went to Glasgow, the Isle of Skye (the best trip I have ever done in my life). Life in Aberdeen is really pleasant and I would love to work or live there in my future life. I love it !! Scottish people are always ready to help you but be careful : life there is really expensive and you really have to be aware of that.
Cécile LE BESCOND - Manon GOIC - Chloé DALIBOT - Juliette GAGNIAGE - [Espagne]
Our Erasmus experience in Vitoria-Gasteiz
The Basque culture
The Basque culture is very important in the Basque region and particularly in Vitoria-Gasteiz, which is the capital city of the Basque Country. When we first arrived in the city, we saw that everything was written in Basque language (called Euskara in this same language) and we were very astonished to see that almost every people knew how to speak Basque. In the university, when we were with other native pupils, during the courses, the question of the independence of the Basque Country was set. I think that many young people know or try to learn the Basque language and, contrary to our region, we ear much people speaking the Basque language in the streets. It seems to be something more natural.
The other aspects of the Basque culture are also very presents in this city: when we went to the « Basque » supermarket named « Eroski », we were used to hear Basque music and songs very often. The traditional dances are also part of this culture even if we haven't seen any traditional show during our Erasmus, we feel that this is also another very important aspect of this culture. During the Basque language course, that we took, some other Basque students from the university came during a special day called « el día del euskera » (the « Basque language day ») in order to make us (the Erasmus) know and support the Basque language and culture. So, if you want to discover a culture that can be close to our in Brittany, you have to choose to go to Vitoria-Gasteiz!
The city offers different places to visit
For people who prefer "green spaces", peaceful and not far from the city centre but enough not to hear the city's noises, you can spend a good time in Salburua Park. There are animals in this place such as deer, elk, fawns and a kind of observatory to see the birds on the pond. You can also visit Armentia Park in the centre not far from El Boulevard, a big enough mall with three floors and a wild range of clothes. If you are in the centre of the city you can go to the Corte Inglés which is a commercial centre too. Also you can go to Anillo Verde, a green space with a kind of natural reserve like in Salburua Park. Concerning the monuments and the cultural activities, I advise you to go to the Santa Maria Cathedral but don't forget to buy a ticket before to go. If you have missed your turn to visit this cathedral don't panic you can go to the Cathedral of Mary
Immaculate which is the second bigger cathedral of the city (as the first is Santa Maria). This religious monument was created during the twentieth century that is why it is considered as the new Cathedral. And you can take advantage of the proximity of the city walls in order to cast a glance at it. For the museum, you should go to the Artium that offers the possibility to go to different exhibitions. Nevertheless, you have to know that it is a museum dedicated to the modern art. You should go to the museum of the beautiful arts, the one of the weapons and the archeological too. Concerning the outside activity, Vitoria-Gasteiz is a town surrounded by the mountains. It offers you the possibility to get up earlier than usual, put on your best trainers and set off on an adventure on path! And after having walked some hours, let's have a break in a bar with pintxo and tapas, local specialities!
The ingredients of the Basque cuisine are abundant and varied thanks to the richness and fish farming variety of the Cantabrian sea and the abundance of pastures in its mountains, which are favoured by the abundant rains, which facilitates cattle of good quality. The soft climate of the interior favours the culturing of vegetables, as well as the proliferation of abundant cattle.
In the mountains of the Basque Country, more or less about May, there are gathered the perretxicos, mushrooms that are not suitable for all the pockets.
A little down below, in the valleys of the Basque mountains we find the beans of Tolosa and Guernica, their colour is a very dark red that are characterized by its creamy taste when you eat them.
But in the typical garden of the Basque Country also we find other products, such as the green beans or cabbage. And if we like more sea food, Basque Country offers us a wide range of possibilities. It is impossible not to speak about the cod, hake or the small squid that are very traditional. Neither can we forget the tuna which is the nicest one.
The cattle also contributes its meat and especially cheeses known worldwide as the Idiazábal or the Gaztazarra.
Some local dishes ● The Pintxos The Pintxo is very typical of the Basque gastronomy, is in the habit of being taken as an appetizer, accompanied habitually by a glass of red wine or a beer. A pintxo is traditionally a small slice of bread on which a small portion of food is placed. The pintxo must be asked for separately. Given the reputation that is being acquiried by this way of eating, every time there are more people who decide to eat their food or dinner based on pintxo, alternating from bar to bar.
● Fish The most traditional fish dish is the cod to the Biscayan, the cod is cooked by a sauce of red peppers and tomatoes, there is also the marmitako that is a mixed dish, with tuna, peppers, tomatoes, garlic, onions and potatoes.
● Meat The Axoa is a mixed dish with breast of beef or lamb, onions, peppers, garlic, potatoes and aromatic herbs.
● Dessert And finally we have to speak about his confectionary, with plates as the goxua or the Basque cake. The goxua is a dessert with scum, sponge cake, candy and cream. The Basque cake is a cake with inside jam of cherry or cream.
The University of the Basque Country is divided into 3 campuses: one in Bilbao, another in San Sebastian and the last in Vitoria-Gasteiz. We studied in the last one, in the Faculty of Letters. The whole university welcomes about 50 000 students on its different campuses. We studied Economic History of Spain, Translation from French to Spanish, Basque, English and History and Culture of English speaking countries. We had 18 hours of class per week.
Manuel GAUBERT - Hirakata [Japon]
I went to Kansai Gaidai University in Japan for study abroad. The university is located in Hirakata, in the Kansai area, between the two bigger cities of Kyoto and Osaka. Whenever westerners think about Japan, they mainly think about knowledge and culture. Of course, there is the "Japanese culture". People expect me to talk about Japanese cuisine, work, religion and pop culture. All of those are without doubt interesting as study subjects. They are what I'm expected to "bring back".
What I also got from Japan is a greater sense of investment. People do work a lot. They have part-time jobs, good degrees and prospects. It's not the same everywhere, but being purposeless in society, is seen as a failure in Japan. As for me, I invested myself so much more in activities in Japan that I would have done usually: I was a member of the Spanish Conversation Club (we even sold hot dogs together at the school festival ), the Soft Ball Circle, the Debate Club, and went several times to other clubs and circles. I tended to be more active in Japan and happier about my work. I was happy to meet and work with my marketing and entrepreneurship teams and made good friends with some of my teammates. We learned how to share ideas and work towards success together, respecting everyone. I was nicer to others and stricter with myself in Japan than I used to be before.When someone comes to you and you know they're using the only free time they have with you or for you, you truly understand how precious the relationship between you is. Japan allows having a lot of fun but it does so it in a way where you realize the people you're doing it with matter.
Victor GOURDIN - Riga [Lettonie]
y own cultural experience in Latvia
I arrived in Riga on Tuesday 25th of August, in order to have time to discover the city before the beginning of classes. I directly felt a specific atmosphere in the streets, the same one that I felt in Helsinki, a strange feeling of comfort and security. A feeling that I only had in the northern countries, no car horns, no shouting.
On the 26th I spent hours walking in the streets without any goal just to admire the architecture of this city. What I appreciated about this place is that you can walk hundreds of times in the same street and one day just by looking up notice something new, something beautiful, and this city has a lot of those things. A heritage from the nineteenth century that has been kept and cherished by the Latvians. There followed days of losing myself in the streets...
What surprised me a lot is that I expected just a few people would speak English, which now seems really stupid, as pretty much everyone there is able to speak English.
Next step in my discovery of the Latvian Culture has been the Baltā Nakts, I met my Latvian buddy from the university and went to the events, starting with an Orchestra: "Endures One Who Transforms" at the Great Guild Hall.
Followed by a traditional concert in the streets of the old town, which reminded me of the traditional songs from Brittany. The atmosphere was cheerful, despite the rain and the amount of people gathered in this narrow street. We then moved to an Anglican Church in order to listen to innovative music. That night allowed me to see the whole spectrum of the Latvian music and proved to me how open-minded these people were.
In September the European Basketball championship took place and I experienced a game of the Latvian national team on a giant screen just in front of the 'Freedom Monument.' It was quite a strange feeling as the people were calm, there was not a demonstration of joy during the whole game just at the end when Latvia won. It surprised me a lot coming from France where during the whole game people are shouting, singing, showing their emotions.
Maybe it was the fact that we were not in the stadium that influenced the people that way, but they seemed closed. This feeling changed a bit when I went to watch an Ice Hockey game, which is considered to be the Latvian national sport, once again a heritage of the Soviet Union. In the stadium the atmosphere was way different than the one in front of the Freedom Monument, people were singing and showing their passion without restrictions, which was nice to see.
At the end of October I had the chance to attend the 'Riga International Film Festival'. It was another opportunity to watch another example of the Latvian culture, the movies being displayed at the Splendid Palace Grand Theatre, the paintings inside this building were a representation of Art Nouveau.
On the 4th November I went to the National Opera to watch a ballet. The building was impressive from the outside, sober and beautiful but even more inside the building, the dome is one of the most beautiful and finest piece of art I've been able to see in Riga.
Gwendoline LE BAIL et Lucie LE LOUARGANT - Lodz [Pologne]
From September until February, we have been in Poland for the Erasmus Programm and more precisely in Łódż (pronounced "woutch"). There is almost 750 000 inhabitants in Łódż and it is the capital city of the polish cinema. It's an active city being renovated, particularly on the main street "Pietrkowska" and the new train station builded in the centre of the city. Not far from the city-centre, there is "Manufaktura", the biggest mall of Poland, 10 minutes by car from the city-centre, there is an airport and you can have fun looking for the impressive graffiti of Łódż. You can also take part of the city events, especially the "Light Move Festival", who attracts the polish crowd. During this weekend, at night, the city is full of projections of different kinds.
We have been at the university of Łódż who proposes all kinds of courses. We are sure that you will find what you are looking for in the 12 faculties. We were in the faculty of International and Political Studies and what pleased us the most was the availability of the teaching staff. At any moment, we could contact the professors or the administrative staff if we had any problem. The student association was also very well organized. The Facebook group is very active and each erasmus student can have a Polish mentor whom he can refer to. It is very comforting when we go in a country where you know nothing of the culture or the language.
The Polish culture and history is very rich. While walking in Łódż or Warsaw, you will notice that a big part of the buildings have been renovated since the second world war. You will also have the occasion to learn how to say Dzien Dobry (hello), Do Widzenia (goodbye) or Dzienkuje (thank you). You will also try the Polish specialty at a low price. In Poland, one euro equals 4 zloty, the local monetary. While eating at different places, you will try "Pierogis" (big ravioli), different kinds of soups, "Babka" (Polish pastry who tastes like french brioche), "Zapiekanka" (a baguette covered with different garnish) and obviously different kinds of Vodkas.
In short, the Erasmus experience we lived in Poland was very enriching and pleasant. The city is very active and prices are low compared to France, which allows to take the best advantage of the stay.
Léa PHILIPPE - Maribor [Slovénie]
After the independence of 1991, Slovenia, erstwhile member of the ex-Yugoslavia, has grown up and developed on its own and then within Europe from 2004. I did my Erasmus experience in this newly developed country and especially in Maribor, the second biggest city of the country. I was attracted by the sumptuousness of the architectural heritage of several big cities which shows a truly diverse culture from the Middle Ages to the XXI century including the baroque period. The country is also diversified by its landscapes; ski-resort, caves, forests, sea, ports, mountains, gorges, and rivers.
I can easily say that Slovenia has grown up economically through its landscapes by tourism, with around 2, 100, 000 visitors each year. Nowadays, Slovenia is a country well-integrated in Europe and exports many products around the world, thanks to its integration in the European zone it has won many partnerships.
I studied at the University of Arts; I had three English courses that were really interesting. Professors were available and made their courses with humour. Unfortunately, at the University of Arts Slovenian students cannot have their courses in English, courses have to be in Slovenian language, consequently, I met some difficulties in finding my lessons. However, you can try to have some courses in the Economic and Business Faculty, they have courses linked to our LEA degree.
Regarding the city of Maribor, it is a nice city, I studied in front of the mountains, it is a wonderful surrounding to study in; just ten minutes by bus and you can easily access the highest mountains and the ski resorts. It is a young and modern city with 30, 000 students, many bars, especially located in the old centre and on the verge of the Drava River. Therefore, I can say Slovenia is a green and healthy country where it feels good to live.
Danick MEHEUST - Maribor [Slovénie]
Last September I took a flight to Slovenia for my Erasmus experience. This country is special because of its history. Indeed, Slovenia has a common history with Italy, Austria and Yugoslavia. I spent five months in Maribor, the second biggest city of the country. Around 28 000 students are divided into 15 faculties all around the city.
I was in the Art faculty and I had five subjects in my schedule: Syntax, Vocabulary, Grammar, Economic History and Geography. What a program! My favourite one was the guided writing in English course, the teacher was very interesting and I learnt many things.
It was an incredible experience for several reasons. Firstly, I met incredible people during my journey, secondly, I discovered beautiful landscapes. Slovenia is a country full of surprises.
Now let's talk about the country. As I mentioned before, Slovenia has a relation with Austria, Italia and Yugoslavia. Indeed, the country was divided several times through centuries. It's not a surprise to discover things in the Slovenian culture which belongs to the Italian or the Austrian culture. For instance the language. When we have a look at the Slovene language, we "heard" Italian sounds. Second, the "style". Indeed when you are in cities like Piran you can observe the Italian architecture.
In other words, Slovenia is a country full of surprises, with a rich culture and history.
Emmanuel BARRE - Austin [USA]
My fall semester took place in the United States, in the capital city of Texas: Austin. With nearly two million inhabitants in the city's area with a lot of students among them, a large downtown area, many live venues and many places to visit, Austin is a great city to live in.In my opinion, this trip to the USA was a true adventure from the day I left France until I came back here. I had never taken a plane before, nor a taxi on my own or anything like that, and living more than 8000 kilometers away from home was something I never had the chance to experience. And what a better way to start off this trip than to arrive there without my baggage that got stuck in Atlanta on its way there, and nowhere to stay. But these two first problems were solved very quick and my first days turned out to be very peaceful. I was lucky to be given the opportunity to study in an university that organized a lot of events for students, and one thing that impressed me the most in that was the integration week, which was designed to welcome both international students and students coming from other American universities. The staff members organized many activities for us during the first week and kept welcoming us to the other events that occurred during the semester (barbecues, festivals, venues, visits, meetings...).
Something that also surprised me there was the way the campus was equipped and its size: we had many computer labs, a huge library, 6 residences, auditoriums, tracks, fields, gyms.. and 5000 students to use all of these facilities ! The university provides a great level of education to its students and is ranked 13# as one of the best universities in the west part of the United Sates and has been for 12 years in a row.During this semester abroad, I had the opportunity to live with three other people: one of them was from Mexico and the two others came from Texas. This allowed me to speak in English most of time, which is something I really wanted to do. I met a lot of other French students there, and one of the main problems what most of them were staying together most of the time, and did not go often with other foreign students. I intentionally avoided to hang out with them too much because I felt like that meeting other French people was not really the reason why I came there. I spent most of my time with my Mexican roommate and mainly students coming from Latin America.
We did a lot of things there and it would be difficult to describe everything we did, but we had the opportunity to go to many concerts, places and beautiful places that I will always remember. The thing that was on top of all these things was the time me and my Mexican roommate decided to go on a trip to New Orleans immediately. We decided to take a bus that would take us from Austin to Houston, and then to take another one for more than 10 hours and go through Southern states until Louisiana. We started our trip at 5:00AM and had nowhere to stay there nor did we know how to come back ! After three days spent walking around New Orleans, meeting a lot of people, visiting the city and having a great time, we finally headed back there.. and took our final exams !It was difficult to leave all these people and places behind me and I already miss a lot of things, I cannot wait to go back there and hopefully meet some of my friends again !
Hugo LE COZ
The american clichés from a french student
For the longest time, I've dreamed about living in America. All this time, I've been waiting to see "the land of the Free". To wear cowboy hats, enjoy some rodeos and experience every aspect of the "American way of life", the one I've always seen in the movies. Last summer, I went for the first time to the US, and I wasn't really sure what to expect.Growing up as a rather realistic person, I was getting ready and embraced myself to have all my dreams and expectations crushed by the merciless reality. "Don't kid yourself, I thought. Real life is nothing like the movies". Long story short, I was wrong.Here are some things I was told about Americans before leaving.
Americans are rude people."
When you ask French people about how they perceive American tourists, they will probably answer that Americans are a rude bunch. Americans are, by far, the nicest people I have ever met. In the 6 months I stayed in this country, I have never once met someone I would call rude. Americans are always trying to give you a helping hand, even in situations where they have nothing to gain. When my mobile phone accidently fell to the ground and broke into pieces, at least 5 of my friends proposed to drive me to the appropriate store, which was situated 200 kilometers away. The Americans I met were always happy to discuss with a complete stranger like me, even when we were both just waiting for the bus.
"Everything in the US is huge."
From cars to buildings, everything is massive. Big cars, big towns, big parking... Anything big in France is bigger in the US. But the feeling that you get when you arrive at the airport is the same as an 8 year old child, lost in a supermarket (at least for me). They have enough room to build, and they make good use of it. "I'm going to get lost really fast", I thought. I was right. I got lost a lot, but every single time was a lot of fun.
"Americans love money."
Everybody loves money. But Americans like to spend. The relation they have with money is different from the French; they don't feel ashamed to spend the money they have to have fun. They are also less reluctant to treat you, because you will most likely treat them in return. This atmosphere brings people together, since you will have to trust people you maybe don't even know. Americans love money, but I think they like having fun together even more.