My CEMS exchange in Paris
Coming to study in Paris, at HEC Paris was a big dream of mine. I am extremely happy to had been admitted to the CEMS MIM program and that I got The Placement of my dreams.
The weather is still sunny and warm in the middle of November, people speak English, even though I try to speak as much French as I can. This is not only to improve my language skills but also because French people appreciate it a lot if you speak their language.
In the beginning of the semester, I spent every weekend in the city center enjoyed the culture, the sweet smell coming out from boulangeries, flowers and the magical historical buildings, leading one to the amazing gardens and palaces of ‘Le roi de soleil’ of the 17th century or to the Egyptian culture by observing The Luxor Obelsik at the Place de la Concorde. I joined a couple of times some people that were sitting and meditating at the Jardin des Tuileries and as they were eating some macarons and listened to them talking about the Fashion week organized at the beginning of October. Streets and squares were filled with models, photo shooters and designers excited to present their spring/summer collection of 2016.
However, studying at HEC Paris is not only about having fun and travelling all the time. Our block seminar, Inclusive and Social Businesses was nice, we had a tough but very efficient and interesting first week with CEOs and owners of social businesses and also with multinational such as Schneider Electric.
Our class fully consists of international, and as the only Hungarian student I enjoy learning about others’ culture and about different approaches of tasks and opinions. I have six courses, and even though the workload is hard, the topics, group works, classes are so exciting and interesting, that time flies and I can really feel my development week by week
HEC Paris campus is NOT in Paris. Unfortunately, we have to travel approximately 1,5-2 hours to get to the city center by RER train. The campus is in Jouy-en-Josas, a small pretty village with one main street where all the shops are based. The campus is huge, and we even have a lake and a forest where I have already met a lovely deer and a fawn. Usually I go for a run in the forest, and also use the newly renovated but quite small gym.
POW, that it the Party of the Week is organized every week by the HEC Student Organization is very disappointing, since it smells quite weird, full of 19 years old girls and boys who are just about to discover the university life. This is the reason why with my CEMS friends we usually attend the private MBA parties, chill out in our apartments or go to Paris.
The closest civilization to the campus is Versailles, which is amazing. Every time I go there, I feel like I get away from my everyday life, walking feels better than anywhere and there is a pleasant peacefulness in the city of Marie Antoinette.
On the evening of 13 November, a series of terrorist attacks occurred at the city center at the Bataclan theatre and just next to the Stade de France, were my closest friends were watching the football match of Paris-Germany. I decided to stay home after an exhausting week to have some rest after our lovely dinner at downtown Jouy-en-Josas with my friends. Before going to sleep I checked the news as usual and my heart stopped for a minute when I saw what’s happening 15 kms away from me, just where my friends were. I continuously texted, called and updated them where the shootings and bombings took place exactly. Luckily some of them got back home within a couple of hours, but the rest of my friends had to sleep at one of our classmate’s place. What makes it even harder to accept, comprehend and to move on, is that one of our MBA students died on this horrible day.
It is good to know that people from our CEMS cohort are safe in and around Paris. Nevertheless, it is a scary feeling to have been so close to these attacks of terror for everyone coming from near and far. “The CEMS MIM is the only educational programme in the world in which there is no “home” or dominating cultural environment, meaning that once you become a part of the programme, the world becomes your home.” This is what we should take advantage of and be proud of and show to the world.
Contact the author Boglarka Eredics at firstname.lastname@example.org