From Paris to Vancouver, when studies have no borders

From Paris to Vancouver, when studies have no borders

Romane and Virginie, UPMC students in the exchange program at the University of British Columbia

For Romane and Virginie, taking advantage of the partnership between UBC and UPMC was the best way to immerse themselves in a completely different culture and perfect their English. "It is also a very strong human experience, we have met people from all over the world and this opens up new perspectives", explains Romane, in his 3rd year of Chemistry and History, a double major between UPMC and Paris Sorbonne. Virginie adds, "The friends we have made abroad become like a new family, we support each other when we are homesick". She spent the first two years of her bachelor’s degree in Biology and Mathematics on the Roscoff campus, so the large UBC campus feels more like a small town. "We live on campus and we can find everything: supermarkets, hairdressers, all kinds of associations... There are also lots of activities. For example, I am enrolled in the sailing and table tennis clubs." There are also many student initiatives, such as a 100% organic coffee shop run exclusively by students and where Virginie volunteers. Since September, they have discovered that UBC has a different way of teaching. "There is a lot of interaction between teachers and students" Romane explains, "little directed work, much more autonomy and homework to do alone. We have adopted another way of working and it is really exciting." Once the students adapted to their new environment, they say UBC feels like home. But now they are focused on one goal: to pass their exams in April so that they can travel the country before returning to France.

Julie, an exchange student from the University of British Columbia.

Having arrived in France last September to complete her fourth year of Chemistry, Julia enjoys her new life in Paris. "As soon as I knew that an exchange program with UPMC was possible, I applied," explains the 23-year-old student who has always dreamed of France. If the first days were difficult, she was able to count on the support of other students. "Everyone was very welcoming. It really has a very good atmosphere in my class". UPMC staff also did everything they could to help her in getting settled: opening an account, getting insurance... "I was supported in all the administrative aspects involved in changing countries." Thanks to the support of her teachers, Julie has been able to dramatically improve her French since her arrival in September. "The courses seem easy to follow because we are very supervised and listened to by the professors." She is already planning have a fifth year at UPMC. "But just before that, I would like to take an extended trip across Europe."

© University of British Columbia website / Pierre Kitmacher UPMC