This week the Career Peer Team is happy to welcome Nicole Zetts to the blog! Check out her post below about her opportunities at LaSalle and visit the link at the bottom to get more information!
With a wonderful blend of cultures, people, and knowledge, LaSalle is a great place to go on exchange. As an international study program, my Spring Semester in Nutritional Sciences at l’Institut Polytechnique LaSalle Beauvais let me meet people not only from France, but around the world as well.
Before I start telling you about my exchange, there is one major fact you should know about me: I am an introvert. I can be very shy, and I often find it hard to introduce myself to new people. That is why, in some ways, I loved going on this exchange. It forced me to be more confident; to socialize with many people from very different backgrounds. As one of the only native English speakers in our residence, I helped my fellow internationals practice their language skills, and they helped me to learn about many new cultures, countries and languages. If I was feeling lonely or hungry (or both), I could go down to the kitchen and usually there would be some one there, just hanging out or cooking food. Since some of the other residents loved to cook, they would share their dishes with the rest of us, letting us experience a little bit of their home. Also, while there is a cafeteria on campus, it was only open at set hours (unlike the Mercato at Brescia). Due to this, I learned some valuable skills in meal preparation and grocery shopping, which have helped me considerably since I have returned to London, Ontario and am living off-campus this year.
As for academics, I did have some difficulties adjusting to the different learning style at LaSalle. The program is split up into to about 18 courses, with each course being a day to at most a week long. It is very intensive, and at times overwhelming if you don’t manage your time properly. Each day you could have from 3-6 hours of class, and possibly assignments to work on. The amazing part about this program is your professors can come from all over the world. While some were from France, we also had professors from Lebanon, and Romania. As well, the coordinator was originally from Germany, which allowed us to learn about the global impacts of food and nutrition, and how different it can be between countries. Also, with subjects from gut flora nutrition and clinical studies for the food industry, to French family cooking and baking French bread, this exchange offers a variety of topics within the scope of nutrition and health.
At the end of the course/ week, we were marked based on a presentation, an exam (which may be a few weeks later depending on the course) or a paper. For some courses it was necessary to complete more then one of these, and while this did not happen often, it did give us more opportunities to demonstrate what we had learned. Marks were given out of a score of 20, with a 10/20 counting as a pass. When transferring over the credits to Brescia, the office only looks to see if you passed or failed a course, so you don’t need to worry as intently about your marks while in France. You do however receive your transcript with your marks after the exchange, so it is still a good idea to try to do the best you can. Based on my average from Brescia for the first semester, and my average from LaSalle, my marks stayed relatively the same, so the marking by the professors is similar to that at Brescia.
As I stated before, there are about 18 courses for this exchange, what I did not include is that this equals to 32 ECTS credits (European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System). To equal one semester at Brescia University College, I only needed to complete between 23 and 26 ECTS credits; this meant that I didn’t need to take every course, giving me some weeks free to go travel and explore France and Europe.
To close, I greatly enjoyed my time at LaSalle. I had a variety of new experiences (such as my first time being in Europe) and met many wonderful new people. While there were some frustrations and difficulties that occurred, I was able to overcome and learn from them.
Some parting wisdom: If you do decide to go to LaSalle, make sure to have a valid passport and do your visa application as soon as possible! Also, be prepared for a chest x-ray and medical check-up while in France as a part of the Visa process (it is very random, and slightly annoying but must be done). Make sure to push yourself forward, meet new people, be bold and have fun!
Overall, if you are a student who wants a more diverse education, the opportunity to immerse yourself in another culture, or simply to travel the world, the exchange to LaSalle is the program for you! If you are the type of person wishing to seek out new experiences you will remember forever, even if you are an introvert like me, then I suggest you pursue these interests by applying for the LaSalle program.
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