Greetings from Paris! My name is Christine Lin, and I’m currently a junior in the Stern Undergraduate College studying abroad at HEC Paris School of Management. My concentrations are in finance and marketing with a minor in computer science. I’m participating in the International Business Exchange (IBEX) program, which sends Stern students to 20 partner schools around the world.
A Very Different Campus Experience
As I type this from my dorm room, I’m well into my third week at HEC and really enjoying the experience so far! The school is located about 45 minutes outside of Paris in a town called Jouy-en-Josas, so it’s a bit removed from the hustle and bustle we’re used to at a city school. The campus includes student dorms, a gym, buildings with classrooms as well as a beautiful lake surrounded by trees. After spending two years living in the heart of Manhattan, coming to HEC is quite a different experience from our bustling campus.
Exploring Around Paris
However, this is not to say I don’t plan on doing my fair share of sightseeing! If you are as obsessed with art history, architecture and diving into new cultures as I am, Paris is a treat for the senses. During my first week, I was able to visit many historical landmarks such as the Arc de Triomphe, the Eiffel Tower, the Catacombs, the Palace at Versailles and the Louvre Museum. At the Louvre, I was excited to see so many famous pieces of artwork such as the Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci and Liberty Leading the People by Eugène Delacroix. My exploration of Paris culminated in a fantastic boat trip on the Seine River that was planned as part of HEC’s Welcome Week festivities.
Class Is In Session: Academics on Exchange
This semester, I am taking six courses that will all transfer back towards my Stern degree. The finance courses I’m enrolled in include Mergers & Acquisitions and Project & Export Finance, which count as advanced electives; in addition, I am taking beginner French, French Culture Studies and a few business electives including Luxury Wine Marketing (can you get a more French-themed class than that?). I like the classes I’ve attended so far, but a few are structured as seminars that happen in six-to-seven intensive blocks so I have yet to experience them. Prioritizing a class schedule that would transfer credits back to Stern as well as fulfilling my interest in deep cultural immersion was definitely a big advantage I considered when choosing my IBEX school.
Pardon My French: Learning the French Customs and Lifestyle
Something you may have heard about France is that you’re nearly expected to speak French when you are here – as a non-French speaker, I can confirm that Parisians are indeed proud of their culture but most are perfectly happy to help out foreigners! Bonjours and cheek kisses aside, I believe the most important rule of thumb for studying abroad in any country is to be humble, be open to learning from new experiences and to show respect to locals by brushing up on norms and basic phrases beforehand. I’m glad to be taking French through HEC because it will definitely help me get around and hear more authentic perspectives. Also, I have made a number of fellow international friends from such diverse countries as Morocco, Germany, Japan and Mexico who are equally excited to experience France for the first time.
That’s all I have to share for now! This weekend, I am taking a trip to Barcelona, Spain with friends, which kicks off my cross-country travel plans for the semester. Stay tuned for updates and thanks for reading!
Until next time!