In "My Expat' to ...", EM Normandie students look back on their expatriation to destinations as varied as Japan, Korea, Chile, Malaysia, Finland, Brazil, the United Kingdom, etc.
They share their experiences, daily life on campus, their new city, their encounters, their excursions. They also give you all the keys to prepare for your future expatriation.
In this interview, Laura, currently an expat on the Oxford campus, interviews Marie, a French student of the Master in Management programme (Year 3) on the Oxford campus and president of the "The Oxmose Shire" association.
Can you introduce yourself Marie?
Marie: I am 20 years old. I've been on the Oxford campus for three years now, which I joined in the first year of the programme.
Since last year, I'm the president of the Oxmose Shire association which organises events around techno and house music, a bit like the LDE association (Les Dimanches Électroniques) in Caen.
This is my third year on campus, I love life in Oxford!
You came to Oxford right after high school, did you adapt easily to English classes?
Marie: I adapted well to the English language classes. When I first came to Oxford, I needed some time to adapt, but then I got used to it quite easily. I must say that in high school I already had a fairly good level of English.
How did you adapt to the city? Have there been any changes?
Marie: I adapted quite easily to the city. I had already been to London alone for a week in a youth hostel. Going on my own was not complicated for me. But indeed, I can understand that arriving alone in a foreign city in the first year without knowing anyone can, at first, take some time to adapt.
From the second day of my arrival, I met many people from EM Normandie on campus. I was therefore well accompanied and I was able to integrate quickly.
I met a lot of people as soon as I arrived on campus and I was able to integrate quickly.
How did you find your accommodation? What advice can you give us?
Marie: In the first year, I was in a host family for the first semester because I was a minor and, as such, it was complicated to rent a room or a flatshare. I found my host family through an organisation.
From the second semester, I looked for information on agencies, especially the Zoopla website, which has a lot of ads for accommodation from different agencies. That's how I found all my accommodation since then. To search on the site, you fill in all your criteria and you find all the corresponding ads.
It is good to know that the rent is cheaper for a flat share with English students. Last year I was in a flat share with a friend in the centre. And this year I took a flat share with 6 people in a house a bit further from the city centre, because it's even cheaper with a high number of flatmates.
Do you live with other French people?
Marie: In the first year, I lived with English people who were older than me. And since the second year, I have been living with French friends.
What is student life like with and without Covid-19 at Oxford?
Marie: I love life in Oxford, even with Covid! We're on a small campus of 230 people max. You meet everyone in the corridors.
We also message each other on the Facebook group with the M2 students and then we meet in the pubs. This group allows us to meet a lot of people and most of them come to the meetings. So it allows us to meet all the classes.
The Facebook group allows us to meet and get together. We meet a lot of people from all the proms.
Clearly, life in Oxford with or without Covid is great! There are clubs, we have parties. We also take part in association events, for example, with the Wine More Time association.
With Covid, we have the 6 rule applied for gatherings but the lockdown in England is less restrictive than in France: we don't have to fill in certificates or respect curfews. On the other hand, the police give out fines more easily in England.
With Covid, I chose to come back to Oxford while other French students preferred to stay in France. For my part, I prefer to have an English-style lockdown rather than an evening curfew in France, and besides, I'm with my flatmates so I'm not all alone.
What would you say to a student who is reluctant to come to Oxford?
Marie: Like Victor, I would tell him/her to come. At first, you think it's complicated to go alone to a foreign country, to a city you don't know.
But taking this step is necessary for later on. You learn to make decisions. It takes a bit of courage at the beginning, but you have to think that this is a real opportunity to travel during your studies. It's a great time to get out there and meet lots of new people.
Going abroad is a real opportunity to seize during your studies.