When choosing the destination for the exchange abroad, the health context was even vaguer than it is today: “I wanted to stay in Europe and even within the European Union, in case the situation gets worse”, confides Eva Nonnotte, Master’s student 1 at Inseec , on the Lyon campus. That’s why she chose the Netherlands and a small town, Venlo, “which maintains a truly authentic character of Dutch culture”, she appreciates. If security presided over her choice, she has no regrets: “Wherever you go, you’ll multiply encounters and discoveries. Even in Europe.”
The EU trend to study abroad
While waiting for the final numbers, all the schools surveyed felt this tendency to opt for the European Union. “Right now, two-thirds of our students make this choice, compared to one-third previously,” said Élodie Saint-Yves, director of international mobility at Rennes School of Business. Covid alone does not explain everything. “China, a very popular country in normal times, remains closed. Taiwan only accepts dual undergraduate students, not exchange semesters. As for Russia, you can imagine that there is no possible way out”, lists the manager. So many destinations that need to be replaced!
Another point should also be taken into account: in some countries, universities still favor distance learning courses. “This is the case for some of my friends in Asia, but that doesn’t stop them from loving the experience,” explains Eva Nonnotte.
This is the increase in the number of French students moving around the world in 5 years.
Campus France, top numbers 2022
Mobility also means that international students come to drop off their luggage on French campuses. “We are receiving a large number of Spaniards this year, much more than usual. They must have had exactly the same thought as us”, imagines Élodie Saint-Yves. Will the European trend be temporary or permanent? We will have to wait for the answer, although the general manager of HEC has an idea on the matter: “We are maintaining long exchanges for students, but short stays on the other side of the planet are good. finished”, predicts Éloïc Peyrache.
Share with different cultures
Whether you go to the end of the world or simply cross the Pyrenees, you don’t question the wealth of expatriation. “I’m someone who was a little scared to go out and I find myself advising everyone to do it,” admits Eva Nonnotte.
This type of experience is much more than additional training at another university. It is a source of inspiration for future careers, according to Hugo, an exchange student at Edhec in San Francisco: “Finding your passion, building a project, is basically the real search for meaning, he thinks. Sharing with different cultures, over a long period of time , gives us enormous strength for the future, and often the desire to go somewhere else.
“Europeans are on top”
Ann E. Harrison* Dean of Haas BS, Berkeley, CA
How do you see French schools in light of the partnership with Edhec?
We appreciate French students because they are hungry for innovation. They are well trained and prep classes probably have something to do with it. The rigor of the programs, the capacity for expression is quite impressive. When we look at the rankings, we are impressed with their ability to rank among the best institutions. They progressed faster than in other European countries.
Does France compete with the US in training in business excellence?
Competition is growing, even for a recognized university like Berkeley. Europeans are positioned at the top. To attract the best students, we offer very low or no tuition fees. In general, the competition is global, the brightest students no longer automatically go to the United States, because Asia and Europe have also become centers of excellence.
Do American students, like the French, demand exemplary behavior from recruiters and the Grandes Écoles?
We used to say: “Values Oriented Education”. But we also believe that change and sustainability will be driven by business, which must therefore adapt but not disappear. As the government moves too slowly, it will be our graduates who do the work in companies that have gained a new perspective on the economy.
* Francophile, Ann E. Harrison is one of the most important personalities in the American academic world. She has signed an agreement with Edhec for a two-year international program.
Interview by Gilbert Azoulay