‘Kent was always my first firm choice for a BSc in Business and Management, not least of all because I had the option to take a Year Abroad to either work or study.
My parents are from Cameroon and dad is fluent in French. France is part of my heritage and I have often wondered about studying out there, so I could learn more of the language.
Before France was on my horizons, I started my course during lockdown, so it wasn’t until the second year that I was able to be on the Medway campus. Living by the water was really lovely and it felt cultured and close knit. Being less than an hour away from my home city of London really helped too.
The first two years of the course gave me a broad overview of business, which is exactly what I wanted. I touched on accounting, finance, marketing, communications and management and started to figure out where my aspirations lie. I’ve also loved all the practical sides of the course – like getting to carry out group work on real businesses at Bluewater Shopping Centre for one of my modules on Retail Sales Management.
When it came to finding my Year Abroad, it was really easy. I joined Zoom meetings set up by Dr Ben Lowe and Gemma Witts and other students looking to take the Year Abroad. There, we discussed options and were given clear advice on our application.
I was always drawn to France not just because of my parents and my grasp of basic French, but also because I knew friends could hop on a ferry or train and visit! It was really simple to apply and I got accepted, immediately.
I started at ESSEC Business School in September, studying an extra year of business. My mum and I took the Eurostar there, and we both had a bit of a cry when she said goodbye. I felt a mix of unbelievable excitement and trepidation, being in a new country, a new institution and studying in French was quite the heady mix of things to take on board!
But it wasn’t long before my nerves eased. I was shown to my halls of residence on their modern campus and was really relieved to acquire my own studio flat, with some shared study and social spaces, a gym and somewhere to get a free breakfast every morning!
Before I moved to France, I had met other international students online, so there wasn’t many awkward moments as we already knew each other. Before long, we were sight seeing and socialising, enjoying meals and drinks and getting to grips with our studies together. ESSEC put on a boat trip down the river Seine and a trip to the Eiffel Tower, amongst other social activities. The other students and I really bonded on these escapades.
The course has been different to Kent, which is a benefit. I get to see the way they study in France. Here in Paris, I have to take more modules and the week feels more intense with lectures and seminars so I have upped my organisational skills.
It’s been great to branch out and do some modules in things I hadn’t considered in Kent – I’ve done web development and design and I’ve found the teaching quality really good.
My new friends have become best friends – we even did a holiday to Berlin last year, altogether as a group. These students are from as far flung places as the US, Italy, Canada as well as France and the UK, like me. It’s been a real experience to meet people from all over the world.
I would recommend the Year Abroad to pretty much anyone – you’ll never get an experience like it, to immerse yourself in a new culture and country is unlike anything else. It is by far the best thing I’ve done in my life so far and I think it will also boost my employability potential when it comes to job hunting after my final year.’