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Céleste in Grenoble

Céleste is studying in Grenoble: 'I am surprised by how close you become within a few months'

Published on 08-11-2023 09:50
Céleste is taking courses in the student city of Grenoble, at the foot of the French Alps. 'It's a lot of stepping out of your comfort zone, but you are here now, so you have to.' Céleste talks about the challenges, what this exchange has already brought her, and what makes Grenoble so enjoyable.
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You are studying at Grenoble Law School. What is the biggest difference compared to the University of Amsterdam?

'I'm more used to discussions in a tutorial. I attend "lectures" with other international students where you mostly receive a lot of information from the lecturer. You can ask a question, but it is less interactive than the tutorials at the University of Amsterdam. The assessment is also different here. At the University of Amsterdam, I had an exam and sometimes a writing assignment. Here, courses run for a whole semester, and you get a lot of writing assignments, group assignments, and presentations in between.'

I am learning more about the development of the French legal system that influences that of the Netherlands.
Céleste MucukBachelor's student

How did you choose your course package?

'I chose to take courses that would bring me both academic and personal interest. For example, I am taking International Property Law and International Contract Law because I think they will be beneficial for my studies and career. The course in French legal history appealed to me because I wanted to know more about the development of law and politics in this country. I am learning about the influence of the French legal system on that of the Netherlands and why it is structured that way.'

You chose France because you wanted to learn French. How's that going?

'The courses I am taking are in English, and I mainly interact with international students. So, learning French isn't happening automatically. During the introduction, it was already mentioned: "The students here are introverted. Speaking with international students is daunting for French students." I also feel that language barrier myself. I took an intensive French course, but the local students I speak to either speak French very quickly or are difficult to approach.'

Everyone here hikes in the mountains, and that is really a must-try
Céleste MucukBachelor's student

What makes Grenoble Law School a great place to study?

'Grenoble is a small student city with many international students, making it easy to connect. What also appealed to me was that communication within the university is good, and they are open to exchange students. There is also a lot to see in the nature surrounding Grenoble. Everyone here hikes in the mountains, and that is really a must-try. Until last week, it was still 26 degrees. That's delightful, but I also hope the temperature will drop a bit for winter sports. I would like to try that.'

Do you have to arrange a lot for an exchange?

'My first impression was that an exchange was beyond my reach, but it wasn't as difficult as I thought. It wasn't unreasonably difficult, and the guidance from the University of Amsterdam is good. I do know that arranging accommodation varies from city to city. In Paris, you have to arrange everything yourself, but here, there is a service from the university to help you find a room. If you stay within Europe, you don't need to arrange a visa, which also helps.'

Céleste in de Alpen
Céleste with other student during a hike in the Belledonne mountains.

You've been there for 2 months now. What has been the most valuable so far?

'The people I have met. Unconsciously, you're always afraid beforehand that you won't find connections. But I am surprised by how close you become within a few months. Everyone is looking for connections, which makes it easy to find people you resonate with.'

Are there also things that you find challenging?

'I remember during an information session, they said that an exchange is good for your self-confidence. At the time, I thought, "How come?" But now I understand what they meant. You learn to reach out, express yourself, and you have to be more direct. It's a lot of stepping out of your comfort zone, and you don't always feel like it. But you're here now, so it can't wait. That's also sometimes difficult. You're on your own, far from your family and friends. Sometimes it feels great, but not always.'

Do you have any tips for students who are considering an exchange?

'Definitely do it! Find a way to finance it. There is a lot of support available. If you stay within Europe, you are part of the Erasmus+ program, and then you receive a monthly grant. I also know people who pay only 200 euros for rent on campus, so it's entirely doable. But I recommend setting aside a fixed amount per month. It's a shame if you have to give up things once you're here.'

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