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Your exchange in Lyon

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on the September 20, 2016

Testimonies international students

Premiers pas à Lyon
Liliana Cevallos | University of New South Wales

Where are you from ?

I am from Guayaquil, Ecuador. But in 2014, I moved to Sydney, Australia to start my undergraduate degree. I study International Studies (specializing in International Relations) at the University of New South Wales (UNSW).

Why France and Lyon?

Because I have been studying the French language for the past 2 and a half years as part of my degree. What a better opportunity to practice and improve it than to live in the country where the language comes from?
Talking about Lyon, I chose it because it is a nice university city. It is a really beautiful place, with a combination of old and modern buildings. It is also the capital of France’s gastronomy (and I love eating!) and being one of France’s major cities, it has connections to so many other places around France and Europe in general.

Did you already travel to France or are you taking the plunge?

This is my first time in France and in Europe! Everything is so exciting and new for me. I think I am in love...

Which idea you get about France? About French Culture? About French people?

I definitely think that French people follow the common stereotype of being ‘proud people’, but I think it has a positive connotation. They are proud of their life-style, their working conditions, their beautiful landscapes, and their great food. I think France is a great place to live since it offers great social and economic conditions. I also love that French know that resting is an important part of living. They take long holidays and do not work on Sundays! I think the rest of the world should learn from them.

How are things going since your arrival?

Great! But not so great also… I am loving Lyon as a city. It has so much to offer; markets, old buildings, small streets full of food and color, great cheese, great wine, arts, and a wide range of festivals. I think that so far, the best thing that has happened to me was to get lost in Vieux Lyon and discover all the small and cute corners of this amazing part of the city. I am also loving the University. Although classes haven’t started yet, the range of subjects being offered is really good; many interesting topics being covered, like Indian society or French History in films. The uni also has a great sports program! However, not everything has been that good. Finding accommodation is a bit hard and I haven’t been able to find a place to stay yet. Hostel life can be a bit annoying after 2 weeks. 

Can you quickly give an overview of the University system in your country (do you have lot of classes with teacher or more group presentations, are you collecting some professional experience within your cursus in order to be ready for  ?

In my home university, the work with do has a more individualistic focus, at least in the social sciences. We have a lot of essays to write, which require a lot of reading and individual preparation. However, depending on the course, some teachers would like us to prepare oral presentations every now and then, although it is not that common. We do have a ‘tutorial’ modality of class, where we discussed what was taught at the lecture. In here, social sciences tutors would put students into small groups so that we can discuss and share ideas.
Regarding my professional experience, I am definitely trying to gain some work done before graduating (regardless of it being paid work or not). I found myself working in hospitality in Sydney in order to pay off my expenses, while volunteering at uni in different groups and organizations. I was a cultural mentor, head student assistance at a summer school, choreographer at plays, part of the United Nations society, etc. I tried to get involved in a wide range of things so that I can learn from different environments. At the end, I consider every single experience as relevant knowledge for life. What it is most important, is to get involved and make the most out of this whole ride.

What is your French level? Which program will you be following?

So! This is a tricky one… Haha. I have been studying French for more than 2 years now, however I don’t feel confident enough to undertake subjects in French. I am able to understand when someone talks to me in French (in a not so fast speed), but I doubt a lot and feel embarrassed/scared to come up with relevant knowledge and reply to them! Therefore, I am undertaking the SELF program at the moment. However! Since I will be staying in Lyon for a year, I aim to be able to reach a good level by the end of the semester so that I can potential move to the DEUF program the following term.

What was the new french word which you learnt since you arrived?


What are your expectations regarding this exchange opportunity?

Firstly! Get a super amazing French level. I really hope I can be able to comprehend most of what’s being said to me and be able to reply feeling confident while doing it. I also want to travel. Lyon is so close to many great places and I want to take advantage of all (In France and around Europe). I am sure I will also meet great people and make connections from all around the world. But most importantly, this whole experience will make me grow even more and appreciate new experiences but also my roots. 

How will the abroad experience be useful for your future?

It will be useful in so many ways. However, I think that developing cultural tolerance and awareness is one of the most important things. Here I will be meeting people from all around the world and will also be able to experience French culture in its entirety. And maybe this same mix of people will be reflected on my full time job. Different people, with different ways of thinking and with different cultural backgrounds. Learning how to work with a variety of personalities will allow me to develop a great tolerance and an appreciation for diversity, skills that are really important when having to create projects, manage companies or even being a team player.

Contributeur : Michael Faure
Propos recueillis le 5 septembre

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Last updated: September 19, 2016