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Erasmus Experience in Saint Etienne, France by Gancheva

Why did you choose to go to Saint Etienne, France?

It chose me. When the Color in Science master programme was introduced to me, the place to start was Saint Etienne in France. Since we have to change locations every semester, the starting point seems to gives us opportunity to meet the culture in a smaller city in France.

How long is the scholarship? How much money do you receive to help you with living costs?

The scholarship is for four semesters, or a total of two years. The amount covers the university fees and is enough for living costs (€1000 per month).

What is the student lifestyle like in Saint Etienne?

I am really happy with the style of living. It is different and exciting, at moments boring and tense due to the assessment periods, which we all know occur in any university across the globe. Most importantly, everything is close, distances are short, the sport activities are enormous and all students tend to be very helpful.

Would you recommend the city and the University of Saint Etienne to other students?

The university Jean Monnet is part of the University of Lyon, thus it is a prestigious place to study. It has all facilities you may need for your study. Also, you can find interesting activities around this area, such as hiking, joining locals for a dinner (offered by them), and my favorite: joining Capoeira class with the locals (Malungos). Those are some of the many things you can do in the city. However, if you are a hard working student (I would like to say like me, but I wish to save this remark) you could find yourself in a situation, that you will not be distracted by such activities. There are libraries across the town, that will help you be more focused.

What is the food like?

Being a vegan is hard and expensive in terms of nutrition. However, the best advantage of a small city is the local grocery markets with fresh seasonal fruits and veggies. Just remember to check the days and times when they open. Since in France Sunday is a day to rest and all the shops are clsoed, it is a good idea to manage your time for shopping, cooking and studying.

Did it cost you to find your accommodation in Saint Etienne?

The accommodation I have found was through airBnB and it is expensive, in my opinion - €400 per month. I have lived and studied in London, so such price is not too high for the UK's biggest city. However, being in Saint Etienne I could argue "why it is so expensive?". Let's just give you an advice - go for student accommodation and if you can apply for Student's benefits, go for it. If not, it is better to search in advance or share a house with other students.

How much does it cost to live in Saint Etienne?

I must say I do not spend much, in terms of clothes, going out and travelling, so the money I have received from the scholarship are covering all my expenses. It is still too expensive: €1000 will go really quick per month for sure.

Is the language easy to get to grips with? Are there language courses available at the University?

Yes, French Language class is available and recommended. However, if you are like me (bad in learning any new languages), it will be difficult to learn. But, since we are in Saint Etienne and in this city the local people are more likely to speak mainly French, it will be easy for you to practise your new French language skills.

What's the easiest or most economical way to travel to Saint Etienne from your city?

Hm... there are not many options. Lyon is the biggest city around. Therefore, travelling to Lyon by plane (of course, you will take the economic airline) will be convenient. However, if you wish to combine a train journey with a bus journey, you can find some cheap tickets if you look in advance. FlixBUS seems to be the cheapest option, but it takes some quite a lot of time from place to place.

Where would you recommend to go on a night out in Saint Etienne?

I can only think of one place next to where I live and it is more like a bar: 1 Rue des Frères Chappe, 42000 Saint-Étienne. In the center of the city there are many good and not as expensive places, such as Les Contrebandiers (wine bar). Street Rue des Martyrs de Vingré could be the best place to walk in the evening and find a good spot to eat or have a drink.

And for eating? Can you recommend some good restaurants in Saint Etienne?

Restorant La Friterie is perfect for students and I have tried an Indian restaurant a bit far from the center: Lal Qila Restaurant Indien (good quality and price). If you like Portuguese food, Restaurant Du Minho is the place you want to go to.

What good cultural sites are there to visit?

There are some interesting museums, such as Musée d'Art et d'Industrie and Ecole Supérieure d'Art et Design de Saint-Etienne. As an interesting fact Saint Etienne is very famous because of its design and art, so the city itself has the atmosphere like you are walking in a museum.

Is there any other advice that you could give to students going to Saint Etienne in the future?

The Erasmus experience is all about sharing some time, projects and activities with other students. One of the advices I wish to share is to be more open minded. Let this time make you a better human, team member, adventurer and enlarge your mindset. Remember, that sometimes it is a challenge and you need to be strong mentally. Give yourself and others time to adjust.

Hoep you enjoy it as "One in a lifetime" adventure.

Also, if you wish to check my YouTube videos (only two for now) about the studies I am doing this two years: click here for one of them and here for the other one.

Good luck. Love and light,


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