When I fell in love with France: Semester Exchange in Douai

It was March 2010, a usual day when I was studying Reinforced concrete in IIT library. Around 5.30pm that evening I received a call, a Call which gave me the best 4 months of my life. The call was from none other than my friend announcing that I am 1 of the finally selected exchange students! What could have been my reaction??

My excitement mounted as the time to come to France drew nearer. However, on the night before leaving, I couldn’t help wondering how I would survive 4 months, thousands of miles away from home, away from my parents, with people I had never met, in an unfamiliar land. My doubts, my inhibitions, were all in vain. I realized this the first time I met Karine and Brunehilde at the Douai station. I can never forget the warm reception they gave me.


Right from the beginning it was like a family there. Every day, I met new people, French, Chinese, Brazilians, Moroccans, and many more who were great acquaintances and in my heart of hearts. How can I forget Julien “mon parrain” who always stood by my side encouraging and ensuring that I had a great experience all the time.

I was always very enthusiastic to experience French culture and befriend diverse people from diverse backgrounds. Along with a cultural exchange, this was an educational exchange too where I could easily compare and value the teaching-learning processes in France and India.

The curriculum at Ecole des Mines de Douai catered well to my career aspirations. Apart from this, BDE activities, WEI, Jeudi soirées, Dance classes, Record de l’heure, French cuisine were things which I can never forget.

Exchange France2Interacting and exchanging ideas with people from entirely different cultures and backgrounds in a foreign environment with a foreign language has accorded me with a valuable experience, making me more independent, more responsible.

Time stops for nothing and no one. Amidst all this, time flew rapidly. 4 months passed. It was time to fly back to India. I knew that I was heading home but I also realized that I was leaving a home behind.

Also at – Ecole des Mines de Douai, Journal Dec 2010


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