Callum – Semester Exchange to ESSCA Angers, France
Semester 2, 2016
Before arriving in Angers, I travelled around Europe on a Top Deck tour. I was fortunate enough to visit the UK, France, Switzerland, Italy, Germany, Czech Republic and the Netherlands before making my way to Angers for my Semester abroad.
Having visited Paris on my tour, I was skeptical as to the consistent fast-paced lifestyle that I witnessed on my first few days there. Besides Paris’ beauty, it seemed to be a busy place to live for the next 4 months. This was not the case on arrival in Angers. I was greeted with picturesque scenery and very relaxed vibes. In addition to this, the welcome team were extremely accommodating in helping my transition into student life.
The first week was spent getting to know the town, meeting other exchange students and transitioning into different cultural attitudes. Many outings were organised in the first week, where I was able to meet students from all over the world. Especially since there is only one other Australian on exchange I got to meet students from many walks of life. Activities included a wine tour, visiting a crêperie, walking to an island and getting to know all the local pubs! By the second week most people seemed to have split off into smaller groups. This was a bit more convenient because we could personalize our day-trips to what we wanted to do as a reduced collective. Having the ‘Accroche-Coeurs’ Festival on the weekend was amazing as the streets were filled with street art, masses of people and heaps of live entertainment. The picture above highlights one of the attractions – the dragon fountain, which is a normal fountain that was decorated just for the festival. Another highlight was when we all went to the street food section of the festival and ate all the delicious food with a live band playing right next to us.
Following the festival, we decided to travel to an adventure park just outside of Angers in the Anjou region. The whole day was amazing as we went zip lining and climbed up and through all of the obstacle courses that they had within the park. All these bonding activities made it easier for us to adjust in the first week of classes as we had established friendships and could experience the first week with our mates. Classes are a lot longer than at ACU, where an average class will go for 3 hours and up to 4. However, there are less of them and they are spread out through the weeks. Our subjects don’t seem too difficult and are rather enjoyable. Especially my wine marketing class, which we just came back from a class visit to our lecturers own vineyard!
Overall, my introduction to Angers has been wonderful. It’s a place that continues to amaze me with its natural beauty and relaxed surroundings. My friends, teachers and even the locals have made my transition a lot easier. Angers is a place at which I will thoroughly enjoy spending the remainder of my time.