Hi everyone, my name is Linh, and I am currently a fourth-year student at Hotel Management School Maastricht. Last semester, I had the opportunity to go on an exchange program in Lyon, France. I want to share this unforgettable experience with you.
Are you interested in doing an exchange? It is possible at HMSM!
To give you some background: I am an international student at HMSM and my home country is Vietnam. I am very lucky to have my sister who moved to Europe 2 years before I did. And yes, she lives in Lyon. When I found out that the hotel school has a partner institute in Lyon, I was so excited and ready to apply for an exchange program there. What could be better than living in the same foreign country with your sister?
The exchange program started at the beginning of October 2022 and ended at the end of January 2023, which is quite short in comparison with the semester at HMSM. My host school was Institut Paul Bocuse, a well-known school for culinary education and hotel management in France. Every day, school started at 8 AM and lasted till 6PM, and each course lasted 3 hours. Regarding the study level, it was not as hard as I expected. Most of the subjects I already had experience with at HMSM. However, what I loved the most there was the atmosphere and the food.
It was an international environment, with many students and teachers from China, Taiwan, Vietnam, India, Morocco, Spain and more. To my surprise, English was widely spoken there. I did learn some French before my exchange because I was told that French people do not speak much English. Well, lesson learned, you always have to keep your mind opened and spare no space for presumptions! Since there was a culinary education at school, there were many school restaurants in the complex for students to practice their culinary skills. Restaurants for students were divided into two types: three-course lunch served by first year student and self-serve cafeteria. Both were excellent quality and what I loved most were the vegan friendly food options.
Lyon is the third biggest city in France, and it is famous for rich culture and gastronomy. Again, to my surprise, every French person I met spoke English fluently and there are many expats studying and working in this city. The weather in Lyon was beautiful since it was not too cold and rainy, which made my time here even better! Student life is vibrant with many nightlife activities and outdoor sports in the park. The city is easily accessed by public transport and biking is very popular here. There are many restaurants: French, Italian, Spanish, Ethiopian, Vietnamese, Indian, Cambodian, whatever cuisine in the world you want to try.
I learned that before doing something, I should not assume anything or follow any stereotypes. Being in France, living close to my sister, I gained more insight about family values and staying close to my Vietnamese roots. I love that there is a big Vietnamese community in Lyon where everyone helps each other with study, job, and generally life in this French city. From this exchange, I also appreciate my opportunity to study at HMSM more. All the knowledge I gained from school is relevant in this present-day and will assist me in the future. The exchange made me realize that I see myself thrive in France, this has changed my future plan on where I want to live after my graduation!
Thank you for reading my blog and if you have any questions regarding the exchange, feel free to contact me via school email!
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