Day five and six: ISEP France Site Visit to Université Savoie Mont Blanc
Don’t be misled by the cloudy photos - typically, Chambéry has bright blue skies with lovely views of the snow covered Alps this time of year! I managed to bring the rain - I think the bad weather is following me.
This leg began with a very pleasant train right from Aix-en-Provence to Chambéry with the ISEP France coordinators, Sylvie and Paul. I have to start by once again saying how wonderfully accommodating everyone has been during this trip. I’ve truly had to plan nothing on my own, and Paul and Sylvie both treated me on multiple occasions, which was incredibly unexpected and appreciated (thank you!). Once we arrived in Chambéry, Paul dropped me off at my hotel where I immediately passed out.
Day five was meant to be filled with a day on the slopes; however, the rain quickly put a stop to that idea! Instead, Paul took me to his home where I enjoyed a wonderful lunch prepared by his wife. Sylvie then took me on a great tour of the old city center in Chambéry.
As you can see, it was quite a rainy day; however, the city was incredibly beautiful despite the weather. I found that everything you really needed was in short walking distance. There is quaint cafés, nice shopping and student bars right in the old city. All of this is just a short five minute walk from the student residence.
Day six began with a quick breakfast and the start of a long day of really informative meetings and campus tours. Here is what you need to know: Uni Savoie Mont Blanc is divided into three campuses from which students can take courses - two in Chambéry and one in Annecy (available Fall 2016). The main campus where students take courses is a 20 minute walk from the center of town. This is where students will take their FLE and humanities courses as well as their ISEFE courses.
The second campus in Chambéry is near the lake and is home to the science and engineering departments. This campus is a short bus ride from town center. Students taking courses on this campus can live on the main campus with the other ISEP students or on the science and engineering campus. The two campuses are very different. The main campus is older and overlooks the city. The science and engineering campus is quite modern, and you must take a bus or ride a bike into the city.
As you can see, it really looks like you are in a completely different location; however, the campuses are only about 15 minutes apart! I was incredibly impressed with this campus. The facilities are really great, and the university hopes that 50% of the courses will be taught in English within the next two years!
Univ. Savoie Mont Blanc has quite a few course offerings in English, and they are continuing to bring on new programs. It’s quite possible for a student with little to no French background to study here, as the university also offers ‘survival French’ for students who just wish to take English courses. There are so many reasons why Chambéry is a great place to study. The proximity to the Swiss and Italian borders, the surrounding Alps region, fabulous and dedicated staff and coordinators, and a lovely small town with everything you could need! Travel to and from Savoie is really easy as well.
If you don’t just want to take my word for it – the current ISEP students had nothing but great things to say about the program and coordinators as well. I had the opportunity to have dinner with them on my last night. It’s always great to hear from the students themselves. They seem to be having an amazing time here, and after my visit, I can see why!
Next stop: Univ. de Caen!
A little selfie from Caen to prove that I actually came on this trip! Where’s the ISEP selfie stick when you need it?
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