The town of Antibes isn't a bad place to be a student, as the 24-year-old Australian Josh Kacimaiwai is currently finding out while he studies for a Master's in Corporate Finance at the international Skema Business School.
You're from Sydney, so how did you end up studying in France?
Basically I wanted to study abroad so I asked my university in Sydney to link me up with the business school here.
It was mainly the location really. When you come to study abroad the location is as important as the university itself. I really wanted to go to the south of France, with all the beaches and sunshine, rather than just be in Paris. It's absolutely perfect down here. It's much more relaxed and more sociable than Paris and compared to back home, everyone is far more accepting of international students.
How did you get accepted onto your course?
I arranged it all through my university back home, which first of all had to make sure the course here was relevant to my Economics degree. I then had to apply, which basically involved a lot of paperwork. I had to fill in a form explaining why I wanted to study abroad and had to send over assignments so the university here could check that my grades were good enough. It felt difficult at the time but looking back it was just what you would expect really.
And were there any visa issues?
Again, it felt difficult at the time because I had to prove I had health insurance while I was here, and so on, but in the end it wasn't too bad. It took about three weeks. I think it was easier because Australia has a reciprocal agreement with France.
And how is the course?
It's great. Not too demanding. I have about 12 hours of lectures a week so there's a lot of time to do other things. There's a lot of group work and a lot of opportunities to interact with the other students and to meet people. There are a lot of international students, as well as French, but everything is taught in English, even though most of the lecturers are French.
What about the student nightlife?
Its fantastic, as you would imagine. There's always stuff going on. There are probably two or three parties a week. Its great because unlike in Paris, everyone lives in big houses or apartments down here and everyone does everything together.
The main student hangout is a bar called the Hop Store Irish Pub. Its what you would expect: cheap drinks, bottles of rosé for €10 and a relaxed atmosphere where everyone can get pretty loose. At the weekends I tend to go away and explore the region. I have been skiing in the Alps, which are not far away, and I've been to Aix-en-Provence.
What would you recommend to people wanting to come and study in France?
First of all they have to make sure they choose a nice area. They will be away from home and their friends and family so they have to chose a good location where they think they will be happy.
Basically, choose somewhere you can have a good time. I would also get involved in as many extra-curricular activities as you can. Play sports, join clubs and make sure you immerse yourself in the life and the language because that's the only barrier really.
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