NITIE’s Post Graduate Diploma program provides an opportunity to the students to learn about business practices in various countries through its student exchange program. One such experience is captured below:
College – Ecole Centrale De Lille, France
Option – Transport and Logistics
Specialization – Supply Chain Management
As part of the student exchange, I am studying the course Transport and Logistics (Option) and Supply Chain Management (SCM) with the G3 – Final year Engineering (Master’s Degree) students. The schedule is hectic with about 8-9 hours of lectures per day. 3 days are reserved for Transport and Logistics and 1 day for Supply Chain Management. 1 day is reserved for French language and cultural classes. 95% of the Transport and Logistics lectures happen in French and 90% of the Supply Chain lectures happen in English. The understanding of the lectures which happen in French is a bit of a problem for me but I am slowly working on it and able to understand a little now. I had done a very basic French course (A1 – 30 hours) in India before coming to France which is not enough. But, most of the professors here are very understanding and help you whenever needed. The courses are relevant albeit a bit technical and cover Operations Research, Statistics, Data Analytics, Optimization, Transportation, Warehouse Management, Inventory Management, SCM, Lean Management and Industrial visits to relevant companies.
We have been provided accommodation at Residence Gustave de Eiffel in Cite Scient fique which is a 15 min walk from Ecole Centrale Lille. We have been given separate flats which is basically a 1 room with a small kitchen and washroom attached. The Rooms are well equipped with heater, study table, bookshelf, refrigerator and a very comfortable bed. There is 24x7 supply of water and electricity with tap water being safe for drinking. The cost of Lodging is 305 Euros per month and we have to pay for electricity separately which ranges from 30 Euros to 70 Euros based on your flat (usage by earlier residents at the flat is considered for first 5-6 months and then recalibrated as per your usage). The residence building is surrounded by lush green trees and a very clean environment.
The people here are very broad-minded and friendly in nature. As French is their only official language and all their education happens in French, everyone speaks only in French. But the students of Ecole Centrale speak decent English and are willing to help whenever you need any help with the language or even otherwise. Everyone here is very fitness conscious, exercise regularly and play at least one sport. Also, people here are very creative and artistic in nature. The students here do not run after high paying jobs and instead are interested in doing jobs that they are passionate about. The Grades are not given much relevance, learning and experience are what matter to them. I have started liking the French culture and it has given me a new perspective towards life.
Food is a bit costly with an average meal costing around 5 Euros (approx. Rs.400) in Fast Food restaurant (Burger King, KFC, McDonalds, etc.) and around 8-9 Euros in a dining Restaurant. The University Restaurant serves lunch at 3.25 Euros. Most of the times we cook in our room and eat around 3-4 meals in a week at the restaurant (mostly fast food). But there are very limited options available if one is a vegetarian. Most of the groceries are available in a nearby shopping mall Auchan except certain spices (We carried the basic spices from India). There is a separate Discount section where you get certain products at discounted prices.
Coming to France has been one of the best decisions taken by me. It has been a challenging yet a very enriching experience for me. Along with learning a new language and adapting to a new culture, I also learnt cooking which I believe would be very beneficial ahead in life. I love travelling and have gone to a few countries on solo-trips which is a good way to re-discover yourself. This experience has helped me to broaden my perspective towards a lot of things.
Prof. Dauphin Tanguy is the International Exchange Co-ordinator from Ecole. She is very friendly and always ready to help. You can approach her for anything from the stay, the course to even where to buy the groceries. She meets us once in a month and asks us if our stay is alright or we are facing any problem.