Samuel Armstrong, an Australian from the University of Sydney, is currently studying in the Master’s of Global Management program in GEM. He is certainly enjoying the city, the ski stations, all while maintaining his workout routine, learning about the value of group projects, and really gaining a lot from his French exchange.
Grenoble, being a top-ranked business school in France, definitely attracted Sam, but it was also because of the city’s skiing and mountain environment that he selected this school as a top choice. However, the location of the school campus exceeded his expectations when he realized just how close it is to the city center of Victor Hugo. Although initially disappointed that there was not as much of a campus/housing community at first, it became a positive as it provided more of an incentive for Sam to socialize with GEM students outside of campus and get exposure to the Grenoble city itself.
Grenoble is a small city, he finds, but one that is vibrant, with a handful of bars. Even though Grenoble is not like other bigger European cities, it is thoroughly enjoyable and is a fun, student environment. Plus, there is the skiing to be done! Although there are lots of student clubs at GEM, the value for joining any of them wasn’t as high a priority for Sam- except for the student ski club. It made economic sense to join that club, as Sam discovered that it provided discounts for round-trip transport and ski passes for ski stations in the area. The ski trips have certainly been a highlight for Sam, as the centrality of Grenoble within the Alps region allows for day trips proximity to Grenoble, as well as longer, weekend trips.
For the day trips, he prefers to go skiing in Alpes d’Huez, one and a half hours from the city by bus, and Sept Laux, a 45 minute bus ride away, but only at a cost of 10 euros with the ski club membership. His ideal ski station for a weekend away would be La Clusaz, as one could explore Annecy for a day and then go skiing afterwards.
However, besides Grenoble’s proximity to ski stations, Sam has his haunts within the city as well. Le Tord-Boyaux is a popular bar amongst many GEM students, and he goes there often with his group of friends- a key hub for Grenoble locals. However, one of the best opportunities to meet new people, he finds, is surprisingly at the gym. While maintaining his workout routine at Espace Viking, the most affordable gym in Grenoble, at 117 euros per three months, he has met many other international and exchange students, as well as French students.
Speaking of students, Sam has really liked working with his classmates at GEM in the numerous team projects and presentations in his classes. He says, “it is nice how it is the same class, thus same group, for every subject in group work, which simulates a project and team environment. This enhances interpersonal project teams and work groups, a reality for working in multinational corporations.” Sam clearly is thriving from the academic experience in his Master of Management program.
As for the rest of his routine compared to Sydney, GEM has one notable difference. Although the lively, student environment is pretty similar to his home university, he misses being able to sit outside in the sun and enjoy a light, casual beer on the patio. This is not a problem though, as he certainly plans on doing this when the weather gets sunnier!
When culminating the entire experience, Sam would have to say that his time at GEM so far has been a “great, launching pad to explore Europe whilst advancing my career.” He definitely plans on coming back in the future after the exchange, but not as a student. It will be neat to see the city with a different income (he sincerely hopes six figures- one can envision) and through a different lens. “I’m sure that would be a vastly different experience,” he concludes.
Sam stresses how potential exchange students interested in attending GEM should not let roadblocks, such as administrative processes to fill out and sign for instance, deter them from applying. “It may seem daunting at first, but just submit stuff, because it all works out in the end.” He also adds that, no matter where one goes for one’s exchange, the location of an exchange is not ultimately critical, as one can meet interesting people and great friends in any location with the right mindset. However, it is this mindset that has really brought forth a good experience from GEM for Sam, and he will certainly carry this on for the next two months left of his exchange.
Two students from GEM, Dyveke and Andrea, are currently studying business at Bentley University for a semester, an experience they both describe as “American, but with European aspects.” They are really enjoying their exchange in the United States, especially living on campus in Waltham, just a half an hour shuttle ride away from Boston.
Charlène Daubenfeld, a graduate management student from Grenoble EM, talks about her experiences at Queensland University of Technology.
Run Steph Run: “Being in France has taught me something very important about my relationship with running and with myself. Homesickness tends to sneak up on me. It catches me by surprise every time, smothering me, and I’m defenseless against it.”
A Year in Europe: “You’re probably wondering why I chose to name it a green city if it is known precisely for mediocre air quality.
Well Grenoble is also home to the first French écoquartier – green neighbourhood – a planning project supposedly abiding by the holy Trinity of sustainable development: equal attention to economical, social and environmental development.”
Grenobloise: “A New Yorker on her way to becoming a “grenobloise”. I moved to Grenoble in June 2011 from Manhattan. I studied Fine Art in NYC and I want to travel, perfect my French, work and make paintings in France. Here I share my experiences.”
Gallivance: “After living in the Sahara Desert for two years, the lush greenery of Paris was positively blinding. The Seine looked nothing like the Nile. The Eiffel Tower dazzled. I walked through my first rainstorm in years – quite different from the desert sandstorms I’d experienced.”
QGOSS: “I love traveling light. The lighter, the better. Next month I will be traveling through Europe for a month and a half with nothing but my backpack. Note: I’m a college student, a recent college graduate who enjoys couch surfing and hostels. This isn’t for everyone. So how does one go about traveling light?”