Exams are over! In fairness I only had to endure three of them, however, I should still be allowed the pleasure of feeling relieved, so me and a couple of friends went skiing!
The number of exams that I have had to take is unusually low for this, my final year, and this is due to the fact that I am undertaking (attempting) to write a dissertation. Like most universities, you need to complete 120 credits worth of courses over the two semesters. The School of Management (SoM) in the last couple of years has reconfigured all of the models so that they are now worth 15 credits each. This means that unlike the previous system, I now have to study 8 modules over the year, instead of 12. Although, luckily for me, the dissertation is a double module worth 30 credits, and thus, thankfully, I only have to suffer six exams in my final year. Anyway, enough of the numbers, I think all of the exams went quite well, and fingers crossed, I get some decent grades back in a few weeks.
Speaking of grades, I have a lot to thank my year abroad for in terms of improving my overall uni grade. I went to France on the back of some pretty dodgy results in the previous January exam session and was desperate to improve them. To be brutally honest, I wasn’t too concerned, at that point, where I was going on my year abroad all that mattered to me was coming out the end with some good grades. Looking back to finishing off my time at ESC Rennes in May (they finish their university semesters very early in France) I did get the grades I wanted, but, and it’s a significant but, I had a great time; met some very nice, interesting international students, learned a bit more about the French people, and even slightly improved my language skills!
Talking to others who went on the study abroad year, I found we all seemed to have very similar experiences, regardless of the country visited. Looking to the long term, the year abroad hopefully helps our CVs stand out. Personally, my skills in relation to presenting and public speaking have significantly improved and this is due to the multiple presentations that were required by each course that I undertook in France. Coming from an economics and business background I can see these skills being invaluable in the future.
Future students who choose to spend half the year studying abroad and the other half working for an international company seem to have the best of both worlds, and is an option I would have loved to have had. I can also see benefits of choosing to study abroad before undertaking the six month work placement due to the time it takes to settle in and adjust to the different culture. When I first moved to France, it took me a good few weeks to get adjusted to the different pace of life, and it takes a while to get over the annoyance of what is common in the UK is not always present in Europe, for example, (and it tends to be the little things that are particularly aggravating): supermarkets and shops are not open on Sundays at all, and the lunch hours’ that French people take are leisurely to say the least! However, once I was used to the different surroundings, I began to enjoy the city and got to know a few more people. And, for me personally, they turned out to be the biggest contributing factors to my enjoyment of the year abroad.
I ended up having a great weeks skiing!