By 2020, French students’ international mobility would arise from 50 % (PwC 2013 survey). What are the pros of fulfilling an academic experience abroad ? Min Zhu – engineering student at Université Toulouse 3 Paul Sabatier – and Samad Kannouh – international business student at Université de Limoges – sum up their foreign adventures, the abilities they developed and the challenges they tackled.
Linguistic progress in a foreign academic landscape
While following a 5 months « Erasmus + » program at the “ Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya ”, Min Zhu stresses on the advantage of such an opportunity to implement linguistic skills and compare cultural habits. “ I express and share ideas using 3 different languages – French, English and Spanish – not only with my friends but also in the curriculum at the university. ” This situation strongly helped the young lady to increase her ability of dealing with academic topics through a foreign language. Plus, she strengthened her autonomy and self-confidence by tackling her day-to-day work with international fellows.
After a one-year American experience to improve his managerial profile – at the University of Oklahoma in Norman -, Samad Kannouh also highlights the discrepancies between different academic systems which might be surprising at first sight. “ The French system implicitly supposes that students shall listen and take notes, period. On the contrary, the US system lies on “ learning by doing ” processes, through constant debates and discussions between students and teachers. It is really convenient in order to understand key issues on finance, marketing or HR, and to incorporate knowledge faster. ”
A high value-added experience for stepping on the labor market
According to Min Zhu, a mobility experience also rhymes with adaptability and questioning. She emphasizes on the technical knowledge and professional know-how she progressively developed during some long-run journeys. “ In 2014, I got a laboratory internship in Germany thanks to my linguistic abilities. The open-mindedness and professional awareness that I have developed make me more flexible, which is crucial for future challenges. ” May these abilities help her to start a worldwide career ? “ Now I am to accomplish an operational research internship in a laboratory. For the moment, I’ll keep on my studies in France to strengthen my academic background. Yet, I’m always ready for experiencing another mobility program in the near future ! ”
Back in France for studying a Master in « Bank, financial risks and markets » plus following an “ alternance ” program at Banque Populaire, Samad Kannouh goes straight to the point : “ in a competitive professional field such as finance, my bilingual profile and my transnational academic experience are extremely appreciated.” His employers may even propose him to deal with foreign clients and stakeholders to reach the firm’s strategic objectives ! « In terms of professional progress and personal fulfillment, my international experience was definitely worth pointing out. ”
In these day and age, 4 billion students – including more than 65 000 French ones – follow an international mobility program. By helping you not only to increase your language skills but also to feel at ease in a new cultural environment, these academic opportunities are highly valuable for preparing future professional challenges abroad. Take the lead and go for this adventure : you won’t regret it !