Martin - Alliance4Tech at UCL & TU Berlin

Martin is an engineering student from CentraleSupélec who undertook the Alliance4Tech program, which allowed him to study a semester abroad each in London and Berlin during his second year (first year master level). London, with its international allure, offered Martin a diverse cultural tapestry, where he engaged with students from various academic backgrounds, hiked with the UCL hiking society in his spare time and immersed himself in German and Mandarin lectures to improve his communication skills. Initially navigating the challenge of finding accommodation through meticulous research, Martin soon integrated into the academic landscape of UCL.

“The university (UCL) itself has first class facilities, lots of libraries, a student centre and many different student societies. I could also attend German and Mandarin lectures given by other international students in these societies and gave a few lectures in French myself.”

His experience in Berlin brought forth its own set of challenges, met with resilience. While the city's international flavour made initial socializing a bit challenging, Martin found support through the Erasmus Student Network, fostering integration for international students. Academically, both the British and German universities emphasized hands-on projects, cultivating Martin’s technical and practical skills. For instance, one of his projects consisted in providing recommendations to London’s rail system delays, applying data analysis to data sets. The exposure to diverse professional events propelled him toward a career in data analytics and science.

“I had the opportunity to attend a lot of professional events as part of the data science society and the Consulting society including a hackathons, conferences and alumni/expert panels. They particularly helped me in directing a career towards Data Science and Data Analytics. Moreover, we were provided with a considerable CV and cover letter trainings.”

In his advice for prospective students, he underscores the importance of exploring student societies, embracing campus life, learning the local language and planning ahead for logistical requirements. Martin’s international experience was made possible through the Excellence scholarship for the UK awarded by the Foundation of CentraleSupélec and the Erasmus+ grant to support his stay in Germany. His story serves as an inspiration for students contemplating international study, showcasing the invaluable personal and professional growth that awaits.

Ninon - Semester 8 at PUC Chile

Ninon is an Engineering student at CentraleSupélec, hailing from France who embarked on a semester exchange to Chile. Immersed in a culturally vibrant environment, Ninon found her experience in Chile to be profoundly enriching, characterised by meaningful encounters and eye-opening exchanges with international and Chilean peers alike. Despite facing challenges, notably the language barrier exacerbated by the nuances of Chilean Spanish, Ninon approached her difficulties with resilience and determination.

“My experience in Chile was extremely enriching. I gained a lot from the exchanges with other international students, Chilean students and generally with other Chilean locals. Discovering a new continent, a new culture, a new way of living and studying (since the university was quite different from CentraleSupélec) was truly amazing. The toughest challenge was the language barrier as my Spanish wasn’t fluent and the Spanish in Chile is different from the Spanish from Spain. I was able to work on it though and improved it significantly by interacting with locals.”

Ninon mentions that her time in Chile proved instrumental in fostering personal and professional growth. Through immersion in a new academic setting, she was able to hone her interpersonal skills, learning to engage effectively with individuals from diverse backgrounds. Overcoming the language barrier not only strengthened her linguistic proficiency but also enhanced her ability to communicate through non-verbal cues, fostering meaningful connections with her peers.

“My studies abroad definitely improved my interpersonal skills the most. I learned to interact with people from different backgrounds, upbringing and values than mine. I also learned to overcome my language barrier and realised that there is more to communication than just the language. Moreover, I acquired a new way of working as university teaching is drastically different from ‘classes prépa’ or from engineering schools in France, with a lot more free time and individual work. I greatly appreciated the independence and realised that I do not enjoy being micro-managed.”

Reflecting on her experience, Ninon wholeheartedly encourages aspiring students to seize the opportunity to study abroad. She emphasizes the profound impact of cultural immersion and the unparalleled richness of cross-cultural exchanges. For Ninon, the opportunity to explore new horizons, forge lasting connections and indulge in weekend adventures made her time in Chile an unforgettable chapter in her academic journey.

“I encourage everyone to go for it. I met amazing people that I am still close to and shared great experiences with. The opportunity to travel on weekends was another memorable part of the exchange experience.”


Valentin - Double degree at the University of Toronto

Valentin is an alumnus of CentraleSupélec, who embarked on his study aboard journey to Toronto, Canada back in 2021. His eight-month tenure as a Biomedical Engineering student at the esteemed University of Toronto, encapsulated a period of adaptation, resilience and exploration. Valentin describes his initial period as “challenging” due to the language barrier but soon settled in.

“At the beginning, things were hard since I spoke poor English. I also had to settle into a new community which meant opening a bank account, getting a Canadian phone number and choosing classes. Little tasks like that were hard due to the language barrier.”

However, through proactive engagement with university resources and seizing opportunities to network such as events organised through the Engineering school, he forged meaningful connections and cultivated a sense of belonging within the vibrant campus community.

Valentin's international immersion not only honed his academic prowess but also fostered invaluable personal development. Confronting his innate shyness, he discovered the significance of interpersonal skills beyond the classroom.

“I personally found myself to be shy in a new environment but as the semester progressed, I worked on that. Even during times when I missed France, especially my family and friends, I reminded myself that I could do it. I travelled to a new continent, to a new city all by myself where I didn’t know anyone and that gave me a lot of confidence. It made me a lot more independent and allowed me to learn more about myself”.

On his advice for other students considering moving abroad, Valetin urges them to just go for it. “At our age, there is nothing holding us back and even in a year’s time or two, not too much will change back in France and there is always an added euphoria of coming back.”

He further goes on to say, “once you are there, try and find likeminded people that you can relate with, whether that be because you had similar upbringings, or you want to get to the same place.”

This newfound confidence empowered him to navigate unfamiliar terrain independently while reflecting on his aspirations and charting a path forward. His story serves as a beacon of inspiration for students considering embarking on their own educational odyssey, underscoring the boundless opportunities awaiting those willing to embrace the world as their classroom.

Valentin is grateful from all the support he received from CentraleSupélec’s International Affairs Department and from the University of Toronto for making the experience happen.

Yassine - Semester 8 internship in Belgium

Yassine, an Engineering student at CentraleSupélec undertook a 6 month internship at GSK Vaccines in Wavre, near Brussels, from February to July 2023. Driven by his desire to escape the bustling pace of academic life in Paris and immerse himself in a new environment, Yassine embraced the challenges that come with living abroad. 

“I really enjoyed my time in Brussels. I wanted a break from the hustle and bustle of life at CentraleSupélec, with all its social and associative events. My semester abroad allowed me the time to travel and develop new hobbies. I got into sports and cooking and had the chance to travel across Belgium, Switzerland and the Netherlands.”

Yassine reflects positively on his experience of moving abroad and both the professional and personal growth it provided him. He encourages other students to take the leap and experience it for themselves. 

“I strongly believe going abroad is a fantastic opportunity to take a step back on one’s student life. I also believe that going to a country further away from France where cultural, linguistic and societal disparities are more pronounced, would add an extra layer of depth to one’s experience. On the professional front, I had the opportunity to work for an international pharmaceuticals company which allowed me to discover many different aspects of the industry and develop key skills in project management and data science.”

Throughout his time in Brussels, Yassine encountered various challenges, notably navigating the intricacies of administrative procedures as a non-European student. Despite initial hurdles, he tenaciously sought assistance from multiple avenues, including the Belgian embassy, his company's HR department, his academic institution and the dedicated support services at CentraleSupélec. 

CentraleSupélec was of great help in making the experience happen. They assisted me with my visa issues and applying for the Erasmus+ scholarship, which was a big help to complete my remuneration stipend. I can only encourage other students to seek help anytime they might need, from either CentraleSupélec, host institution (company or university) or from other students who might have encountered similar issues.” 

Adrien - Semester 8 internship in Cambodia

Adrien, a motivated second year (4th year of higher education) student from CentraleSupelec Engineering Degree, embarked on a transformative international experience in Cambodia that seamlessly blended cultural immersion, professional development and personal growth. His time in Cambodia was marked by a positive living experience, facilitated by a vibrant community of French students and the guidance of a bilingual/binational supervisor, fostering a smooth adaption to the new environment.

Adrien chose to do an international internship as part of his degree requirements (mandatory one semester abroad) during the Spring semester in 2023. As an intern at BiKay, an IT company, Adrien assumed significant responsibilities in project management, translating academic knowledge into real-world applications and contributing to his professional growth. This experience allowed him to navigate the complexities of global business practices, enhancing his skill set.

“I had a lot of responsibilities during my internship and my supervisor entrusted me with managing some of the major projects which allowed me to enhance my technical skills in a practical setting.”

On a personal level, Adrien described his journey as a step on the path to maturity, emphasizing the development of resilience, adaptability and independence while navigating life alone in a foreign country. When asked if he had any advice for future students considering studying abroad, Adrien encouraged them to connect with alumni for insights and network with peers to optimize their international experience.

“Do not hesitate to contact alumni from CentraleSupélec, there is usually someone who’s gone to the same university/city or country as you and can be of great help in planning your experience.”

Adrien's story stands as a testament to the profound impact of international study and internships on personal and professional development. He is now pursuing his final year of study at CentraleSupélec, ready to graduate with high-level engineering qualifications coupled with international experience, allowing him to have a better understanding of the steps he wishes to take in his professional career.

Marin - Semester 8 internship in Latvia

Marin is an engineering student at CentraleSupélec who worked in Schneider Electric’s Latvian factory during his internship abroad as part of the Erasmus+ programme. Having arrived during the end of winter months, Marin made the most of the difficult conditions and used the time to socialise indoors and form meaningful connections.

“The first challenge I faced was the cold weather and in addition to that, the short duration of the days. However, since I was living in a student residence, I met other students from different backgrounds including Italy, Belgium, India, Kazakhstan, Iran, Russia, Indonesia, Mexico, Brazil and many others. Every evening, we ate together in a communal kitchen and were able to try recipes from different parts of the world. We even went snow hiking together.”

Professionally, Marin’s internship exposed him to diverse engineering disciplines within a production setting, offering insights into automation, electronics and 3D modelling, all while navigating the demands of high-volume manufacturing.

“It was an extremely interesting experience since I aspire to work in the electronics industry. I learnt how things operate in a large factory setting, since I want to design new products in the future. I had the opportunity to work with operators handling production lines, technicians and engineers. Since they primarily spoke Russian and Latvian, it allowed me to sharpen my communication skills and make myself understood to people who had limited communication skills in French or English.”

Marin encourages other CentraleSupélec students to venture out of their comfort zones and embrace the possibilities an experience of living abroad can offer.

“For students considering moving abroad, please do not hesitate in doing so. It’s an enriching experience necessary for personal growth, even if you don’t speak the local language. You will surprise yourself on how quickly you learn and adapt. Secondly, don’t limit yourself to just studying or working. Exploring the country, its people and traditions is equally important, if not more.”

Marin’s experiences highlight the profound personal and professional growth attainable through international learning. He received an Erasmus grant of 400 euros per month, which helped him cover his expenses in Latvia due to the country’s comparative low cost of living.