Durham University, research and Harry Potter!


Last week, I had the pleasure of meeting up with two GEM students currently studying at Durham University in the north of England and my colleague and good friend, Philip Warwick. As well as being a regular contributor to Global Ed, Philip has done some excellent research on strategy and the internationalization of British universities and we are currently working on a research project together in the same field. While I was there though, I asked the two students, Margot Stokes  and Janhaëlle Ribeiro-Storm to give their perspective on studying in the UK and life as an international student. 

Why did you choose to come and study at Durham University?

Margot: I chose Durham because it is the typical English school, a bit like “Harry Potter” style; Durham is a historical city, it has a nice cathedral. Also, there are a lot of students living here therefore it’s a nice and friendly town to live in and also to study.IMG_5948

Janhaëlle: From what I’ve seen in the pictures Durham is a lovely city, it’s very historical, the cathedral is magnificent: it is a really nice setting.


What are the differences between studying in the UK and studying in France?

Margot: That’s a difficult one. Of course you have the language difference, even though in Grenoble I also had courses in English. There are fewer lecture hours per week but you have to work more at home, on your own; whereas in France you have more hours per week, but you do most of your work in class. So when you’ve finished your lectures you don’t need to do much else.

Janhaëlle: The teaching is different. You have more individual workload so when you go back home you still have to study. You have seminars so it’s a good way to practice the theory that you’ve learnt during the lectures.

What do you enjoy about studying here?

Janhaëlle:  I was interested in strategy and it is a module that I love here. The teachers are really good. I think we have the chance to work with very professional professors.

What do you think you’ve learnt whistle you’ve been studying here?

Margot: I’ve learnt to work with English students. That’s quite new even though I’ve already been working with foreign students in Grenoble.

What advice would you give to students coming to study here?

Margot: The advice I would give them is not to live on their own but to find roommates.  So they could go out and meet more people, which is a good thing. Also I would advise them to join as many societies as they can and try to get integrated with other because you’re only here for one year so you’ve got to make the most of it. I have joined the drawing society and the dancing society. There are a lot of societies in Durham and also in Stockton. If you are interested in sports, arts or even archeology, you can find something to join. There’s even a cooking society!

Janhaëlle: Integration is really important when you arrive. It helps to take part in societies. Also living with other students, English or not it doesn’t matter, is important to be integrated from the beginning.


See also:

A French view of the new Franco-Canadian programme in Entrepreneurship and Innovation in Vancouver


Last week, I was in Vancouver to open the new programme in Entrepreneurship & Innovation that we have set up with Simon Fraser University. Like many programmes of this type, this has taken several years to get started. The Dean of SFU, Daniel Shapiro, and I initiated the idea several years ago so it was great to finally see the Canadian and French students getting to know each other. Whilst I was there I asked some of the students their reasons for selecting the programme. This second post gives the French perspective.


Main photo2014 has brought a New Year in Vancouver, Canada for 30 students from Grenoble EM. Over the next semester they will taking part in Grenoble EM Transcontinental Programme set up with Simon Fraser University. This is the third programme of this type created in the last two years by the Centre for International Affairs and comes on the back of the two highly successful programmes in Finance in New York and Asia Business at Beihang University, Beijing.

First class at Pace University

First class at Pace UniversityWe have been literally wowed by this first class!   January 23rd was our first day as American college students at Pace University. We, the 25 students in Finance from the GEM Transcontinental program, were put in a class amongst 28 Marketing students from BI Norwegian Business School in Oslo, Norway.


Filed under Business Schools, Education, Exchange study programs, Great Britain, Intercultural, International studies, Management, Study Abroad

5 responses to “Durham University, research and Harry Potter!

  1. A very interesting post, dear Ed! 🙂 Thank you!

  2. Going to a Harry Potter university sounds fun! Good tips from the students too =) I would also suggest that students should always arrive at the beginning for an Orientation (if there is one) so that they can be there at the time when everyone else is making friends…. it is so important!

    • Mark Thomas

      Thank you Tanny and my apologies for taking so long to reply. The last two weeks have been quite busy! I agree that Orientation Days are important and can help students settle in more quickly. As you say, making friends is also crucial to enjoying your time abroad. Warmest wishes, Mark

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