Eleanor Burford - Lyon, France
My first month in Lyon was challenging, I had to learn to adapt to a completely new culture and settle into Jean Moulin Lyon 3 University. However, I absolutely loved the challenge and it made me very excited for the year ahead.
How life in France differs from life in the UK
There are a lot of differences between France and the UK, for example Sunday in Lyon is very much a family day, with shops including Part Dieu (the biggest inner city shopping centre in Europe) shut, even the food shops shut midday which is perfect when you’re craving some mid-afternoon snacks and realise you can’t give into temptation until Monday morning. One Sunday, a group of Erasmus students and myself went to Parc de la Tete d’Or which is a beautiful park in Lyon, with a free, open zoo and boating lake. It was great and bustling with families. I’ve actually really enjoyed the ‘closed on Sunday’ vibe Lyon has, although it is incredibly inconvenient for someone who is used to shops being open every day of the week. I have since been informed by my French flatmate I will get used to it, and it truly does make Sunday feel like a day of relaxation. I feel this is something England should do as Christmas day is literally the only day we have where everything is closed!
The number one thing Lyon has got right is public transport. It’s frequent, cheap and you can get anywhere. For just €31.50 a month, I can get unlimited travel on the metro, tram and buses.Not that I’ve yet to even adventure on to the latter as the metro and tram have reached everywhere I have needed to be! This compared to any city in England is really cheap, it even beats the Leeds student £1 single to Hyde Park and Headingley.
The biggest difference between Jean Moulin Lyon 3, and Leeds Beckett has to be the opening hours. Jean Moulin Lyon 3 opens at 08:00 and closes at 20:00, and the lectures on the SELF program are between two and a half and four hours long. Even though is a completely different style of learning to that in the UK, it does mean that you only have the class once a week, and when you’re in the class, you can get really stuck into topics and have a lot more time to discuss things in-depth. Also, Jean Moulin has a campus wide lunch break 12:00 – 14:00, which is probably one of the reasons why the classes finish at 20:00. The break is really nice because it gives you two hours to socialise with French students, and as my program is for international students, it means I feel like I have integrated with the locals, and not just the international students.
One thing I find very funny about Lyon is the fact that a lot of adult’s scooter around like it’s completely normal! Its legitimately a thing here. My opinion is that this is a good thing, it is better for the environment and is healthy… but it did make me chuckle the first few times I saw any over 12 years old riding around, especially the ones in suits.
Altogether, the differences between the Universities and the culture are challenging, but I feel Eramus+ is a great opportunity handed to students, and one which should be relished.