- Status: Alumni
- Current country: Canada
Amanda LEWIS – Canada – Master in Management (double degree program)
Where do you come from?
I was born in Montreal, Quebec but I currently live in Ottawa, Ontario (the capital of Canada)! Ottawa is a very quiet city despite it being the 6th most populated city in Canada. If you enjoy skating, I recommend that you come during the winter time as Ottawa has the largest skating rink in the world.
Overall, Canada is not like most countries in Europe as it is very young country and does not have much history in comparison. Where Canada lacks in history, it makes up for it in its beautiful natural resources. I am proud to say that Canada is the home to the Niagara Falls (largest waterfall in the world by flow rate), Canadian Rockies and Banff National Park, just to name a few! And if natural resources are not your thing, you can always visit Toronto and Montreal for their amazing night life and culture!
As for school, I attend Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. Kingston is a short hour and a half drive from the capital of Canada. Queen’s has a beautiful campus because of its gorgeous limestone buildings, beautiful trees (a must see during the fall time), and because it is steps away from Lake Ontario! Apart from our beautiful landscape, Queen’s is filled with school tradition and school pride; you will not walk around campus without seeing someone wearing something with the Queen’s University logo! If you plan on doing an exchange in Canada, I highly recommend that you come to Queen’s; you will not regret it!
What studies have you already done, and what exact programme are you doing at TBS?
I am currently in the midst of finishing my Bachelor of Commerce Degree. At Queen’s School of Business, we do not have majors and minors, but instead students can specialize in a field such as accounting, marketing, finance and so on. As for me, I am specializing in Accounting.
Here at TBS, I am in Grande Ecole at the M1 level. I took International Business as my Core Course and I will be taking International Management as my Major Course. After completing the course requirement for International Business, I can say that this is a well taught class that will expand your knowledge about how companies conduct businesses overseas and why. I look forward to my Major Course and learning from professors from around the world!
Why did you choose TBS over other schools?
I chose TBS for several reasons. Primarily, I chose TBS because of its strong reputation for its Masters Program! By attending such a highly regarded Masters Program, I knew I would be getting quality education from amazing professors. Secondly, I chose TBS because of the city. Being in a smaller city allowed me to experience and embrace the true French culture (which I really love). Lastly, after speaking to many students who have attended TBS in the past, they have really convinced me of the amazing experience I will have here thanks to the numerous events that run on campus and because of how inclusive the French students are to exchange students.
How has your integration into TBS gone?
My integration into TBS was almost perfect and for that, I would like to thank the Welcome Team, the International Office and everyone else involved in making my transition smooth. It is because of them, I am able to enjoy my time here in Toulouse! The Welcome Team is perfection in integrating international students and French students. Since the Welcome Team is made up of students just like us, they are able to show you the ropes in regards to schooling, the city and especially moving into a new country! I also love how you will always see a couple of Welcome Team members at events that they did not organize; it shows that they are always down for a goodtime! I would also like to extend my appreciation to the International Office! The team that runs the office has each student’s best interest in mind and you can see that when they ask you questions about your accommodation and your time at TBS every time you walk into the office. It shows that they genuinely care about your wellbeing! Plus, they were a huge help for CAF, and I expect that they will be of more help should you have any issues with accommodation, life in France and so on as the year progresses.
After the first few weeks at TBS, I realized that I enjoy the small class sizes. It enhances students learning and makes the professor more accessible to students throughout the lecture. Furthermore, I love how the French students are willing to help and work with exchange students during class group work; it shows that the TBS community is very welcoming and supportive.
As for events, I really cannot complain about a single event or even pinpoint one event I enjoyed over the other. Every event that I attended, created by the Welcome Team or not, was always a night to remember! At each event, you are guaranteed to make new friends!
The major difficulty that I have faced in Toulouse is simply dealing with the French Bureaucracy. Coming from a city where everything is fast paced and with little work life balance, France is a whole different story. It is hard for me to work when businesses close for a couple of hours in the afternoon and when some businesses don’t even open on Sunday! It will take time to adjust to their style of living where everything is slower and more relaxed, but until then, it will be very frustrating to get things done as quickly as you wanted it to be done.
So far, what do you appreciate about Toulouse: the people, the town, the School etc.?
I have spent over a month here in Toulouse, and I could not have asked for a better school or city. I have fallen in love with the people and the culture here. From time to time, you can catch me eating a Cassoulet or walking down the street with a fresh baguette. I also appreciate the quality of education here at TBS, as it forces students to think outside their traditional thinking and expand their knowledge on different topics.
Toulouse also eliminated most French stereotypes I’ve had of them! I really thought French people would be mean, reluctant to help and integrate with new people. Luckily, I was wrong! The French people in Toulouse are welcoming and so helpful! As long as you speak (or attempt to speak in French), they will go out of their way to ensure that they can help you!
As for the city, Toulouse is beautiful in so many ways. The town is very charming with their small streets, beautiful monuments and the red bricks that makes the city pink. Furthermore, the river that runs through the city is just marvelous and really takes your breath away. And if you ever get hungry during your walk around the city, you will always be within a minute walk from a beautiful café, a restaurant or a delicious bakery!
Can you give us a small anecdote concerning your time so far at TBS?
It was one of the first events organized by the Welcome Team. We were at a Tapas Bar and during the night, the Welcome Team members stood up on the table and started singing numerous songs while other dining members looked on. I was confused as to why they would simply sing a random song and disrupt the people eating. After speaking to a Welcome Team member, they said that they are singing school songs! Furthermore, they told me that I must learn ALL the school songs before I depart from TBS or I would have let them down. Just as the night was dwindling down, the Welcome Team members sat down in front of the door in a bobsleigh position. In order to leave the bar, we had to crowd surf on top of them! I thought it was outrageous but after seeing a bunch of locals take part in the crowd surf, I realized that this is part of the Toulouse culture; they are fun people and very proud of their school!
What advice would you give to a future incoming international student?
The advice I would give to a future incoming international student is to familiarize yourself with the French language. Knowing a little bit of French will surely go a long way in getting things done in France. Furthermore, I believe that most students should try to live on their own and not in residence; preferably with a French student if you can. By living with a French flat mate, you will be able to improve you French as well as gain a new friend that will help you get adjusted to the city.
Another piece of advice I have is to take part in EVERY SINGLE event that is occurring, regardless if the Welcome Team organized it or not. I guarantee that you will make new friends and have nights you will not want to end!
Lastly, be adventurous! Speak French even if your French is not very good. Try new foods such as the Cassoulet, hot wine, and Toulouse sausage! Explore the city; there is so many things that Toulouse has to offer and it would be a shame if you could not enjoy it. Finally, fall in love; maybe not with someone but with the city and the culture. I promise you, this will be the time of your life! Santé!