Here’s a post dedicated to the incoming students of:
NEOMA BUSINESS SCHOOL
Classes range from 3-4 hours, depending on the module. Passing rate is 50%. Some, if not most, classes are incredibly slack. I have a prof from Cross Culture Issues & Global Diversity explicitly telling us there’s nothing to study, for we are here to learn. He said his finals will ask questions such as, “what is your favourite part of the course?”
We are allowed to skip a maximum of 3 classes per course.
Mapping of modules. It’s a Business School. So you can be sure to cover mostly business and international studies here. I have created a timetable such that I have only classes for 2 days, Wed & Thur.
One major point to note, from this batch on, NBS splits their semester into 2. Each class finishes within half a semester, and it is their school policy to take at least 1 from each half-semester.
Accessibility to other cities. This is the bane of my exchange. You have to take a SNCF train from Rouen to Paris in order to fly out/ take a train out to other major cities/ countries. Each trip costs SGD20 for one way and takes over an hour. Taking the local Paris RATP train to the airport is another ~SGD10. However, there are budget flights like Ryan Air and EasyJet that offers really fantastic deals to countries in Europe. This is one of the bonuses of living in France (on top of addictive baguettes and croissants)!
Setting up a French bank account, BNP Paribas, is compulsory here. You need a French bank account to buy a phone plan and to pay for accommodation. Quite a pain.
Purchasing the Social Security health insurance is also compulsory if you stay for more than 3 months. It costs SGD 345 and the government covers 70% of all your health expenses. Another necessary pain.
There are different housing options. Together with me, 7 other Singaporeans from my school stay at Galois. We pay SGD445.50 each month. Wifi in the residence costs SGD24.30 per month.
In this 12m2 which comes with a personal toilet, my table becomes my study table and my breakfast/ lunch/ dinner table. This can be quite cumbersome, especially when it comes to slicing my baguette up. The crusts would shoot all over the place, conveniently covering my entire table. You have no idea… My bed becomes my exercise mat.
Thankfully, my residence at Galois is near to the one and only place with food around the school, Place Colbert (if you don’t count the school canteen). That makes commuting to and fro town more accessible with the bus stops situated nearest to our residence. It makes our residence a safe place too. Galois is a rather popular choice for us Singapore students. It takes 8 minutes (5 minutes if you rush to class like me) to head to school.
Safety. This is a residential district with relatively little, if not young, population. Of course, there have been cases of theft. In general, stay indoors at night or have company. Pleaide is near to school too from the other end and is the only place that offers twin housing. However, as it is remote, try to get home before dark!
Distance from school is a mere 8 minute walk. Reachable by 5 minutes if you are late for class like I was for my 1st 2 lessons here.
Each level has over 40 rooms, but 20 of them have their kitchen. For the other 20 of us, we have a kitchen that’s shared. It’s pathetic at first glance because there is no tables and chairs for eating, so most students retreat back to their rooms to eat after cooking. On further thought, the kitchen is actually the place to make friends. On hindsight, taking Sociology of Food class creates a deeper awareness in me to notice the interactions that occur over food. Sometimes, the 8 of us living here will cook together. The kitchen becomes livelier then. We organise potluck and talk over cooking, which makes such simple interactions that much more pleasurable. On other occasions, we’d meet neighbours we never knew existed. We’d exchange recipes and I love looking at what they cook. It gives me inspiration for my next grocery shopping trip.
Jayme and I have gotten to know this guy from Madagascar pretty well in a short span of 2 weeks. He is a full time student who’s been living in Galois for 2 years. Despite studying in town, he chooses to live in this residence instead of renting an apartment downtown just so he can mingle with international students like us. Mont Saint-Aignan (the hilltop which we and the school reside) is bereft of any life. Yet he made this noble choice. He was kind enough to take in the items that previous batches have left when their exchange ended, such as utensils, condiments and household items, and have his already small room cluttered with leftover items. We’d go over to his place and pick them up, sparing the cost of spending money on them from Carrefour. Very quickly, we meet at the kitchen daily and before you know it, we are planning our weekend France trips together and travelling together.
Once, he brought us to satisfy our sushi cravings. SGD24 for a Jap buffet. While the sushi selection was not wide (sigh), I sure stuffed myself full! In retrospect, ever since stepping foot into France (Paris & Rouen), I’ve never treated myself to good food. So this buffet was a little pampering for myself.
Of all the time I spend here, I spend 5% on school work, 10% doing household chores, 25% cooking, 60% researching on travel plans. Already I feel time running ahead of me. As I am making travel plans for May, it dawns on me before I know it, I’ll be back in Singapore. I may be overreacting, but sometimes, thinking and planning ahead gives me some semblance of a reminder not to fritter my time away. Every single minute spent in Europe is precious. I have no clue when I will visit Europe again. Opportunities like these don’t come knocking on my door when you are living in stressful and expensive Singapore and when you have no financial backing.
Mont Saint Aignan
We live on this area called Mont Saint Aignan. Being on top of the hill, be treated to views like these:
I’ll miss this bunch of lost Singaporeans and remember fondly of the times we cooked pot luck on Sunday nights, went on a day trip to Trouville-Deauville and attempted a picnic in end April.
To the next batch of students coming to Neoma this fall, know that I’ll be here if you need any help! I remember asking endless questions to previous batches while preparing for my 6-month long trip here. I survived, and so will anyone who comes to this foreign-speaking country! 🙂
Latest update: currently enjoying my last days in Turkey before returning on Friday, 29 May!