STUDY ABROAD : Peng Chen talks about coming to Grenoble from Beijing (Beida) University

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Peng Chen talks about coming to Grenoble from Beijing

Peng Chen, of Peking University in China, had options to study abroad in the United States, Singapore, and all around Europe, but he chose Grenoble, France for its diverse cultural factors. Peng had always wanted to see Europe, experience the unique teaching style that came along with the continent, and live like a typical Frenchman. Needless to say, when he first arrived in France, Peng was pleasantly surprised with how accurate his expectations for France were.

Courses at Grenoble Ecole de Management

Classes in Grenoble require some degree of interaction between professors and students.

Coming from China, Peng was really able to embrace the different teaching styles that Grenoble Ecole de Management had to offer him. In his classes in China, there are at least 50 students in the classroom along with him, and there are hardly any interactions with one another or the teacher. The classes are mostly given lecture-style, which is much different than his experiences at G.E.M. Within the Bachelor 2nd year Program that Peng is currently participating in, the students are usually split into smaller classes so that interaction between colleagues and professors is more feasible. Peng enjoys the fact that this teaching style allows students to express their opinions at any time, and he learns more because of the many unique opinions of his diverse classroom setting.

Courses at Grenoble Ecole de Management

Classes taught in English might be sometimes tricky even for native English speakers.

Among his favorite classes, Geopolitics has proven to be one of the most rewarding for Peng because there are no classes similar to this subject in China. This course has given him a broader horizon of global politics and opinions from around the world. Politics, economics, and finance are all interrelated subjects, so this course gives him a new perspective on the business world. Although he enjoys his classes thoroughly, the course materials are all in English, which can prove to be challenging for international students whose first language is not English. Some of the course materials use difficult jargon that even a native English speaker would have difficulty with, so reading assignments can be a struggle to complete.

Grenoble hospitality

During his walks around the city, Peng has shaped a positive attitude towards Grenoble and its citizens.

The city of Grenoble is more than enough to keep Peng satisfied and immersed in French culture. “The climate is good, the air is clean, and the people are nice!” In his spare time, he takes long walks around the city of Grenoble with his friends, as there is still so much about the city that he has yet to discover. Contrary to popular stereotypes of the French, Peng has found the people in France to some of the nicest he has met. Although the French language barrier proves to be very difficult when shopping or speaking with people in the street, G.E.M. is very international, with students from all over the world, so Peng believes it is relatively easier to communicate with them, as they are all very open.

Grenoble hospitality

The hospitality of local people during his tramway ride will be stuck in Peng´s mind forever.

Even outside of the school environment, the people in Grenoble tend to be very helpful and friendly. On one of Peng’s trips to the local Ikea store, he encountered a friendly French woman on the tram back home. She spent the entire tram ride talking to Peng about everything he needed to know about living in Grenoble and providing him with helpful bits of advice. This left a lasting impression on Peng about the French and their never-ending friendliness.

Although Peng will only be in Grenoble for one semester, the experiences and knowledge he gained during this time will stay with him forever. G.E.M is very different from Peking University in China, but Peng states that he uncovered some very interesting ideas and people because of how international the university is.

“France is a good country. You can study, you can travel, you can have a lot of fun!”

Overall, this study abroad experience has given Peng some very unique perspectives, and after graduating in China, he will be looking to study abroad in Europe again.

Grenoble night view

After graduating in China, Peng will be looking to study abroad in Europe again!

Interview and write up completed by Anuja Parikh

See also:

An American View of Studying in France: Anuja Parikh, a student from University of Florida talks about her international exchange at Grenoble EM

CoveSince my first year of high school, when I took my first French language class, I knew I had to study abroad in France. Having lived in Florida my whole life and only traveling within the United States, France seemed like a whole other world to me. Every year for the next five years, I told my parents that I was coming to France for college so they would get used to the idea. Choosing to come to Grenoble was as easy as decisions can get. My mentor at the University of Florida had come to Grenoble Ecole de Management to study a year before my arrival, and she had nothing but amazing things to say about the city and its people. Most students at my school chose more popular, tourist locations to study, especially Paris, but I knew that I would get a more balanced and true French environment in the city of Grenoble.

“It All Works Out In The End”- An Australian’s account of studying in Grenoble

AustralianSamuel 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.


Lucie RozintheLucie Rozinthe, has been studying at the National Chengchi University in Taipei since January. She describes to us the differences she has seen there in the education, the way of life and also how it compares to France.


Hong Kong
City University of Hong Kong Sun Yat-Sen Business School Singapore Management University


Filed under Business Schools, China, Europe, France, Higher Education, Study Abroad, Travel

5 responses to “STUDY ABROAD : Peng Chen talks about coming to Grenoble from Beijing (Beida) University

  1. Gordon Ray

    Hello Mark,

    Hope summer was good for you and your family.

    Just wanted to drop a short note to say how much I am enjoying your blog–the content speaks directly to my interests.

    Kind regards,


    >________________________________ > From: GlobalEd >To: >Sent: Thursday, August 29, 2013 11:40 AM >Subject: [New post] STUDY ABROAD : Peng Chen talks about coming to Grenoble from Beijing (Beida) University > > > > >Mark Thomas posted: ” Peng Chen, of Peking University in China, had options to study abroad in the United States, Singapore, and all around Europe, but he chose Grenoble, France for its diverse cultural factors. Peng had always wanted to see Europe, experience the unique t” >

    • Mark Thomas

      Thank you very much, Gordon. It is great to have a fan!

      In fact, from Monday you will have 2 blogs for the price of one. I will be on sabbatical leave in the USA for 2 months. I will continue writing, but with a slightly different angle.

      We have therefore set up another blog, which Marie Laure will oversee. She starts posting on Monday.

      Here is the address:

      I wish you a great start to the academic year and I hope we get chance to meet up when I get back in November.

      Best wishes,


    • Mark Thomas


      PS: If ever you would like to write a short piece, I am always looking for interesting contributions!

      Let me know.


  2. This was again very good reader information! I Am your second fan, Mark!

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