Surprise after surprise: Elena’s Erasmus+ experience in Nantes

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Hi there! My name is Elena and I’m a 4th year Industrial Design student at CEU Valencia. I applied to do Erasmus+ for the first term of the 2018-2019 year at L’École de Design Nantes Atlantique, in Nantes, France.

Erasmus+ student
Elena, in our Technical School of Design

I like to get to know different points of view and Erasmus+ is a great opportunity to discover how other people think, work and organise themselves. My experience has been extraordinary. When I arrived I didn’t know much about the city, it made everything a surprise. Nantes is beautiful but as well as being pretty, there are lots of things to do: lots of restaurants, pubs, loads of parks and above all lots of students. There is also a massive public transport network so you easily get to any part of the city.

The universities, specifically mine, L’École de Design, are quite surprising. There is a great university atmosphere and activities outside of class time. I am very lucky with my host university; the organisation of everything is excellent. I was in an international class, with French people, other Europeans and students from Asia. The experience of working with these people was incredible as we all had completely different methods of working it meant that we could learn from each other.

“DOING AN EXCHANGE MAKES YOU A MUCH MORE INDEPENDENT PERSON”

All the classes were scheduled and everyday you are given the corresponding topic. Because we are all from different places, the classes were taught in English. The projects were often in groups and the classes were very dynamic, going to the university made me happy. As well as doing the subjects that correspond to my degree, I did other electives like photography and French language. Thanks to these classes I was also able to learn more about my degree and do things that I had never done or wanted to do. I worked hard to improve my level of French and now that I am at the end of my stay I can see that I have a much better level of understanding compared to when I started.

L’École De Design Nantes Atlantique
L’École de Design Nantes Atlantique, one of the +250 Erasmus+ destinations for CEU students

The university is in the north of the city but it is not difficult to get there. There are various buses and trains that take you there from any part of the city. I take the bus every morning from where I live; it doesn’t really bother me. The majority of my classes are in the morning apart from one of my electives.

Erasmus+ student
Elena, enjoying beautiful Nantes

The course was very comprehensive and corresponded well to what I normally do in Spain but I have found it a lot more dynamic and diverse since the majority of the projects are group work, which is something that I don’t usually do. I often ate at the university seeing as there were various places and it has its own canteen, which is varied and cheap.

I was pleasantly surprised because, as I have already mentioned, Nantes is a very student orientated city. At the university there is an office in charge of students and creating events, organising parties, etc., this is what helped me adapt so well to life in the city even though I arrived alone. The university had a great atmosphere and gave off good vibes: the gardens were full of students with music, food etc. On many occasions meals were organised at the university and the international students were not forgotten about; we had our own day of international food to which all the students were invited.

International experiences to help students grow

It is great that nowadays we are offered the opportunity to go and study somewhere completely different to normal. From my point of view and experience that I have had, I think that every student that can should do it. You develop as a person, it makes you more independent, you learn new things and get to know new people.

Aerial view of Nantes
View of Nantes, Elena’s Erasmus+ destination

I get goose bumps when I think about this international experience and I recommend it to any student from the bottom of my heart. Don’t be scared of going alone or not fitting in or not having friends or having a bad time because it won’t happen. It is an experience that will allow you to grow as a person and it will stay with you throughout the rest of your life.

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