Hi everyone! I’m Jessica, a third year BIB (Bachelor of International Business) student with a concentration in International Strategy and Human Resource Management and minor in French. I’m currently studying abroad in Saint-Étienne, France for 10 months!
I’ve lived in Ottawa, Ontario, in the same house, for my entire life. I’ve never been away from my parents or siblings for more than two weeks and when applying for university, This seemed like an opportunity I could not turn down, no matter how scary it seemed at the time.
Spoiler Alert: Choosing this program was the best decision of my life.
I plan on focusing my blog posts on giving advice to future study abroad students, hopefully to help make transitioning to a new country a little easier.
I am currently attending Université Jean Monnet in Saint-Étienne, France. It is part of the ORA program that is offered by Carleton for BIBers and other aspiring study abroad students. This program was a no-brainer for me because there is a scholarship that is given to students, and it was and is a ginormous help.
Disclaimer: This university/city was not my first choice when listing options for exchange, but I am so grateful that it is where I was placed. For my more introverted personality, the quiet city of Saint-Étienne is absolutely perfect. To any of you worried about not getting chosen to attend your first choice, trust me, you will enjoy your time abroad no matter where you go.
The first few weeks being in Saint-Étienne were extremely hectic. I did not realize (even after being told several times by past BIBers) how long everything would take.
TIP: Open a bank account as soon as you get to your host city, at the one closest to wherever you live.
Unfortunately I waited too long, and when I realized how much I needed a bank account for absolutely everything, I had to go on a Saturday. The only branch that was open was a 30 minute walk away. So, three weeks later when my bank card finally came in, it was very inconvenient to have to block out at least an hour and a half just to pick up my card.
TIP: Before leaving to go abroad, open an account with Scotiabank!
Scotiabank has an agreement with a bank in France called BNP Paribas, and you can withdraw money from your Scotiabank account at BNP ATM’s without paying an extra fee! This has made life so much easier for me.
I hope this first post has helped someone in some way. I look forward to blogging more about my time abroad and sharing these next several months with you!
Jessica is a third year Bachelor of International Business student studying abroad in France.
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