During my scholarship at Ipag Business School, I had the opportunity during my sixth semester of the 2015-2016 school year to do spent a semester with the Erasmus Program in a foreign University. Thanks to our school and his wide network we can chose the university according to our order of merit based on our finals tests of forth semester.
For this experience, I choose to discover Poland and go to the faculty of economic in Sopot, near to Gdansk. I have spent five months in the faculty learning management, statistics, economy and more.
It is worth to mention, I chosen to realise my semester first to acquire a better skill in English, improve my relationship with foreign students, learn a different way of working and learning, and to have a more practical approach of a foreign culture.
Sopot is a seaside resort town in Eastern Pomerania on the Southern coast of the Baltic Sea in northern Poland, with a population of approximately 40,000 inhabitants. This city is known for the wooden pier which is the longer of all Europe with 515 meters. It’s a very small town: only 17.31 sq./km (for instance Paris has 105,4 sq./km). We can compare it to a “very small Deauville”, because most of the resident came from Warsaw or Cracow and spent holidays in this city. So we can say that the city is really calm and during the week there is no real activity because people come only the weekend for the sea, bar and nightclub when the weather is sunny. The main street is “Monte casino” and crosses the entire city from the pier to the University. It’s the only street with point of interest: bar, shop, restaurant, nightclub, and cinema. We can also notice the “crooked house” which can’t be missed with it very particular architecture composed of wave glass. Everything is grouped in this street; the rest is only apartments and some little traditional restaurant.
The main University is situated in Gdansk with a huge campus of 27,233 Polish and Erasmus students. It was founded in 1970 but the establishment is split into Gdansk and Sopot; In Gdansk there is Faculty of Biology, Chemistry, Oceanography & Geography, Law & Administration and History. I was in the Sopot’s Campus learning Management and Economy, but we could also learn languages, mathematics, physics, informatics and Social sciences.
According to this number of students, the university has a lot of room to study, 6 Aula (equivalent for auditorium) and every teacher has an office inside the campus. Every rooms were fully equipped: board, projector, computer and different adaptor for the presentation.
Before leaving, I know I was with another student from IPAG and we wanted to share an apartment. We had a deal with the agency called Royal Apartments but also with a couple of friends whose spent the fifth semester in Sopot to takeover the apartments during this semester, so the research was very fast. We need to take Bus to go to University and grocery shop called “Alma”. We were close to the sea and the place was very nice to live and suitable for students.
During this semester I had the great opportunity to choose my course in a list of more than 70 subjects. So I had a large panel of choice include Polish class, management, “improve my resume” and many more. I made my decision to debut marketing, Poland’s economy, way of leadership & negotiation and the emerging market in order to enlarge my work knowledge. I am glad of this choice because even if there is a like with the marketing class here and the one in scholarship at IPAG, all the other courses were quiet specific and can really help for the working world, in company or just in society. I have now a better Polish’s culture and strong basis for negotiation
Also, my general skills are now upgraded thanks to all this courses, I have better background for the working world but also to continue my IPAG’s curriculum. With my statistics classes I improved all the notion I learnt during high school and IPAG like the probabilistic trees, Bernoulli experiences, the normal law but also some keys and tips to define a better price as buyer. And my course “service marketing” will be helping me for the next years because I chosen Marketing as speciality for my fourth years at IPAG BS. I discovered new things, review some important skills but also add a lot of English technical word to my vocabulary.
The main link I can say between my course at the faculty of Sopot and the IPAG BS teaching was marketing classes. When I was in first and second years we discover the marketing world, all this aspect and how it work basically and then deeply. The link was very close because I almost review all the notion like 5 porter forces, matrix SWOT, all the different environment macro and micro. But the strongest point was to do this all in English and create a project for a company. Now, I can begin my new years with a strong package.
Actually it was very different from IPAG BS teaching; first it was not a business school but a University, also the course are just class and there is no pedagogic note and on TD (Travaux Dirigé) but it was a pleasant experience to live something different, that is the strong point of this semester: a knowing economics study world but with different infrastructure and different culture.
In Erasmus, we are always several occasions to discover new places, new peoples and new cultural aspect. In this University, there is an association call ESN who have to care and make some activities for the Erasmus students. Thanks to this one I could go to Warsaw, capital of Poland for a weekend during Easter,to Riga and a medieval city in Latvia call Kaunas. So I can discover two new countries from Eastern Europe I didn’t know Leetonia and Latvia. Riga is a very nice town with a lot of charm but very poor, the guide explains to use that the main source of income for the city is the sexual tourism because in those countries the prostitution is legal.
I also discover the Polish way of life and it was very uncomfortable for me. Indeed, I spend my fifth semester in Barcelona, Spain and their way of life was perfect for me, everything is offbeat from 2h, for instance the TV journal is at 10p:m. Polish people is the total opposite, they wake up very early at 6-7p:m, take a first breakfast at 7, a second at 10, eat at 12 and lunch at 5p:m! But I spent my days with my French fiends, Italian and Spanish people so I don’t really feel this way of life.
To conclude, this semester in University has been a wonderful second part of this Erasmus years and a first studying experience abroad.
From a personal point of view, this semester that took place in Sopot, allowed me to improve my English, and to improve my skills in a lot of subject.
It helped me to have a better understanding regarding the Polish way of life, which is slightly different from ours. They have their own language, are rich of a long lasting culture and some have an independent vision.
Overall it has been a rewarding experience as I gain in autonomy, living and working in a different culture and country .