How to survive in a French university!

You are questioning yourself of your course choice for next year? You’re in the period of all the subscriptions? Or you have simply already subscribed to a French university? You’re many to come each year in France to study.  Whether your courses count towards your overall degree grade or not, it can be a challenge to choose which subjects to take at your new French university…

30, Aug, 2018 | Your Stay

Choose your courses carefully when you are in exchange

If you are studying business or law, for example, it is likely that you will not have much of a choice as to which modules you can choose on your year abroad.  Although this may seem slightly restrictive, it can save you from struggling with making selections throughout the first few weeks of your placement. On the other hand, if you do have the choice, you can have a great experience if you make the right decisions.

At most French universities, you will have a short period of time during which to try any modules that appeal to you before making your final decision.  At University “Jean Moulin Lyon III” for example, this is usually 4 weeks. Make sure you attend as many classes as possible and ensure that none of your subjects will clash on your timetable. Try to get courses which follow each other to avoid long waiting into two classes.

Although it may be tempting to study interesting subjects that you have never been exposed to before, remember that if you are on the DEUF program, all of the classes are taught and assessed in French. Therefore being very adventurous may prove too challenging.  Instead, study subjects that you are relatively familiar. This way you will be able to spend more time socialising and travelling as opposed to catching up on class material throughout the course of the year.

Passing your semester in mobility

You’re on an exchange program? Tell your teacher!

It is advisable to inform your lecturer or seminar leader at the beginning of the semester that you are on an Erasmus or exchange program. They will take in into account and they will be more patient with you if you don’t understand something.  If there is a group of you, your teacher may give you an alternate method of assessment, for example, an essay or project instead of an exam. Don’t take too much advantage of this! Teachers will see if you’re not working.

Exam preparation

 French universities are not renowned for their organisation.  Therefore, exam dates are not always published far in advance.  If your teacher has given you another form of assessment, this will mean that you may be able to organise your return home for Christmas sooner rather than later.  It is also important to check that there are no clashes in your exam timetable.  In case of any mistakes or queries, ask your coordinator in the international department for help.

Want to make an exchange?

Remember that this exchange year is about learning a new language and having fun in a new environment, so don’t hesitate to join associations, talk to local students. And enjoy it even more by linving in a shared apartment!


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