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I’m James Fort, I study on the Marketing and Management programme and am currently spending a year studying and working in France.  So far I’ve been studying at ESSEC Business School in Paris.


Why did you apply for the Erasmus+/non EU study abroad programme?

It’s an amazing chance to try out living in a country, or city, that you think you may want to live in in the future without having too much commitment. I also wanted to improve my French skills of course, as well as pushing myself a bit out of my comfort zone to see how I could cope with the change of lifestyle.


Describe a typical day for you as a study abroad student:

I’m in university 4 days a week so on those days I would usually take the train from central Paris out to the suburb where the University is. I’d have 3-6 hours of class per day usually, which were quite relaxed but very different to a typical lecture in the UK. Most of the day would be spent with a really international group of people which was great. In the evenings I often meet with my friends in Paris for drinks or food and then I would go to my new Badminton club for some free play for a couple of hours.


What skills have you developed during your period of study abroad and how? (these do not have to be directly related to your studies!):

University in general teaches you to go more out of your comfort zone and be as sociable as possible but I feel like an Erasmus semester enhances this even further. Meeting so many new people in a foreign city with a foreign language, making friends is really important to enjoying your time away so putting yourself out there and taking every opportunity you’re given is something I have definitely improved at.

I feel have become massively more independent since arriving here. I actually feel like an adult now.


What do you wish you had known before coming out on your study placement abroad?

I wish I would have known how fun it would be so I wouldn’t have been nervous before coming!


How do you think this experience has made you more employable? What will you be able to demonstrate to graduate employers?

Beyond having improved my foreign language skills and being educated in a world class university, I think it has given me masses of challenges and everyday experiences which have helped me grow which I could easily explain to employers in interviews or in a cover letter.


Part of the year abroad experience is all about adapting yourself to a new culture and new lifestyle and sometimes this means finding difficulties which you have to find a way around. For example, I have found myself an internship for second semester as the cost of living in Paris without a job was too much. This search for an internship has been extremely rewarding and helped my confidence massively.

Interested in doing an Erasmus year abroad? Click here for more information

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