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Université de Savoie

98 reviews
3.84 / 5 based on 98 reviews
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Stuart
University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, United Kingdom
Language, Undergraduate, Erasmus
Université de Savoie
2.5/5
Languages
Language of instruction: French
Was learning French a key decision factor?
No, it wasn't.
How much did you improve your French?
My level before:
My level after:
Language difficulties
Social
Educational
Administrative / Institutional
Overall
Personal comments
Well, it wasn't quite as bad as I just made out (I didn't forget the entire language!), I think I just expected to learn more from being in France, having studied it for 9 years. As I said, most of us didn't make a lot of French friends, and when I got wrong numbers from people, I rarely understood much. (Not really relevant, but, like me, you might receive several wrong numbers on your mobile in France, something that never happened to me in Britain. I think it's because the French get mixed up between 60s/70s and 80s/90s when telling people phone numbers)
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Stuart
University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, United Kingdom
Language, Undergraduate, Erasmus
Université de Savoie
2.5/5
Expenses
Main source of funding:
An ERASMUS grant
Other sources of funding:
Personal savings
Work opportunities:
I didn't explore any work options
Personal spending habits
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Housing, Nightlife, Telephone:
was more expensive than at home.
Food, Overall:
was the same price as at home.
Travel:
was less expensive than at home.
Accessibility of student needs
Second-hand text books
Second-hand household items
Computers / Internet
Administrative
Money from home
Personal comments
The mobile phone companies (or at least Orange France) absolutely shaft their users by putting a time-limit on using credit - so 10€ has to be used in 2 weeks. Other than that, my family could call my landline for 2p/min (that's because they had a good deal in the UK). The university's computer service made me decide to buy a laptop (which took 2 months to arrive from Britain). I now think I could have lived without it, but the combination of inaccessible opening hours at campus (no evenings or weekends), French keyboards ("AZERTY"? WTF?) and mooching off friends meant that I decided it was the best option. Banking and stuff was OK, I was with BNP Paribas and didn't have any problems (except for with their dodgy name). I arranged my house and Responsibilité Civile insurance through them, and could use the account free throughout the Euro-zone. The Erasmus grand was a great help (about 2000€), and covered the cost of the expensive student accommodation, although the grand came a bit later than I'd have liked (November & March).
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Stuart
University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, United Kingdom
Language, Undergraduate, Erasmus
Université de Savoie
3.8/5
Academic
Course recommendations
I didn't have to pass any exams, so my view is probably different to that of someone who had to - I think I would find it tough going if I had to. I only had to study courses worth 30 ECTS points. At the beginning of the year I started several courses, then dropped the ones I disliked until I was down to 30pts. I didn't do the exams, although that was more to save 440€ rent, not because I particularly disliked the exams. For some reason it was much easier to get to know other international students than French students; I'm not really sure why that is. For some reason French uni classes are like being in school, with, in my experience, more formal teacher-student relationships than in Britain (the teacher is called "monsieur" (well, assuming he's male); once the classroom was empty, but everyone waited until he had entered before they went in).
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My academic experiences
Quality of courses
Variety of courses
Access to resources
Interaction with teachers
Interaction with international students
Interaction with local students
Personal comments
There's way, way, way too much bureaucracy. That's a general trend in French life, but the university's no different.
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My opinion of the university assessment
Exams at end of course
Exams throughout the course
Essays and/or projects at the end of course
Essays and/or projects throughout the course
Overall
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Stuart
University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, United Kingdom
Language, Undergraduate, Erasmus
Université de Savoie
3.5/5
Overall
I wish I had known...
Quite a few things; there are cultural differences to what I'm used to, some things are better (e.g. travel on train & bus), some are worse. Not "different", not "special", just worse, and frankly, they take getting used-to or just ignoring. Maybe these are just minor things, but it's best to 'keep an open mind'.
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In my opinion:
I loved it but I'm not sure everybody would.
Important factors in my choice
(1) Unimportant – (4) Very important
Academic reasons
2
Culture
2
Costs
2
Activities
2
Campus life
2
Party / people
2
Weather / location
2
Personal recommendation
Try not to be surprised by anything.
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During my experience abroad, I ...
(1) Never – (4) A lot
Became familiar with another culture
2
Traveled
3
Improved language skills
3
Met people from other countries
3
Became more independent
3
Partied a lot
3
Experienced a change in life
3
Advanced my studies & career
3
Final comments
Geneva and Lyon are the nearest major airports, I always got the Easyjet to Geneva, then a train. Chambery's airport is open during the winter skiing season, with flights to some towns in Britain.
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Stuart
University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, United Kingdom
Language, Undergraduate, Erasmus
Université de Savoie
2.5/5
Student life
Describe host city:
Students interact with the local community without much university involvement
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Travel: Takes place mostly within the university/student environment
Nightlife, Activities: Takes place mostly outside the university/student environment
Personal social experience
Activities
Nightlife
Travel
Overall
Personal comments
Chambery has lots of pubs/bars, often Irish/English-themed. Drinks are often expensive in bars (at least 5€/pint) but cheap in supermarkets. The clubs (Opera and Cocktail) are expensive (10€ entry, often 8€ per drink), and both play music best described as "cheesy dance crap". Slightly more enjoyable are RDC (dance) and Corsaire (salsa night on Wednesdays, to which many Erasmus students went). No clubs play rock/reggae/hip-hop etc, and concerts are very rare in Chambery. Chambery has a few cinemas, mostly playing independent films rather than commercial ones. The university arranged several coach-trips to neighbouring towns and regions such as Lyon, Turin and the Alps for skiing; these were usually interesting, and good value (although trains were good value too; see www.voyages-sncf.com).
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Stuart
University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, United Kingdom
Language, Undergraduate, Erasmus
Université de Savoie
1.2/5
Housing
Type of housing: Residence Hotel Curial (privately-owned)
Arranged by: Host university
If returning, I would choose: Apartment/House
Why?
The Curial was the only thing offered to most British students, cost 440€/month and there were several problems - e.g. the internet connection was free, but rarely worked for some people; also the "kitchenette" didn't have an oven or freezer, and several rooms were smaller than others paying the same amount. It being a "hotel", it was difficult to have parties etc in the Curial, because there were non-students staying there, and the owners were very strict on noise. If you're already going there don't worry too much, it's easy to meet other students there, and I enjoyed that, but I wish the surroundings had been different. If it's possible, I would recommend that you avoid a privately-run residence like the Curial and, if you can, come to Chambery beforehand to arrange an apartment/house (perhaps with fellow Erasmus students from your university, if any). It's certainly what I would have done, and although you're not living near other students, you'd get more space and wouldn't have to deal with the wardens/'helpful' people who run halls.
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Personal assessment
Cost
Facilities
Location
Cleanliness
Space
Personal comments
Savoie Uni itself doesn't seem to provide much student accommodation; there are a few buildings on the Chambery campus. It's cheap (often less than 150€/month), but I think it's usually French students who get this, and it's much more likely foreign students would be offered a more expensive privately-run residence.
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