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  • "This is the most real immersion into French life!" Ekaterina Dmitrieva shared her impressions of studying at one of the best business schools in France. What documents you need to collect, how to look for accommodation, why you can't be late for lectures - read in the review.

"This is the most real immersion into French life!" Ekaterina Dmitrieva shared her impressions of studying at one of the best business schools in France. What documents you need to collect, how to look for accommodation, why you can't be late for lectures - read in the review.

Ekaterina Dmitrieva, a 2nd year student of the Business Informatics Master's programme at the HSE Graduate School of Business, visited EmLyon Business School in Lyon, France, in the autumn semester of 2023 as part of the academic mobility programme. It was at this university that Ekaterina found the most suitable disciplines for herself, and also took advantage of the opportunity for international students to start learning French.

My name is Ekaterina Dmitrieva, I am a 2nd year student of the Business Informatics Master's Programme at the Higher School of Business of the National Research University Higher School of Economics. In the autumn semester of 2023 I was lucky enough to take part in the academic mobility programme - I went to study at EmLyon Business School in Lyon, France.

Preparing to the mobility programme

I chose EmLyon Business School for several reasons.  Firstly, it is considered one of the best universities in France. Secondly, after looking at the business school's social media profiles, I realised that it has a very active student life and about half of the students are foreigners. Thirdly, I have always dreamed of immersing myself in the culture of France and travelling there. Fourthly - and this is the main reason - I studied the list of disciplines at the university and realised that if we took all the French universities offered, EmLyon Business School was the closest to my programme and interests. Having chosen the university, I agreed an individual study plan (ISP) with the academic director of the programme. I chose the following courses: digital marketing, Python for data analysis, performance management with KPIs, machine learning, statistics for business and artificial intelligence in business.

In order to apply for a visa to France for more than 90 days, you must go through the Campus France pre-consular procedure. To do this, you must have the following documents: an agreement between universities on a mobility programme, notarised translations of your school certificate, bachelor's certificate, motivation letter (everything is described in detail on the website). If the circumstances are favorable, the validation will take about two days, in the worst case you will have to wait about ten days - plan your time in advance. At the end of this procedure you need to pay the fee and with the receipt come to the visa application centre to submit your documents.

Then I listened to a webinar from the International Office at GSB, which details the steps to follow before the trip, during the mobility programme and afterwards. Then I registered in the system of the host university - it is obligatory to get the university mail, which is necessary for enrolment in the courses.

During the summer, the host university held several webinars where they talked about the required documents, how to  register properly in the university's internal system, how to go through the course selection campaign, how to apply for housing and health insurance, how to validate a visa in France, how to find accommodation and much more. It was very useful! During this period, I bought round-trip Turkish Airlines flight tickets so that I wouldn't be in a hurry to find tickets home later - because they might not be available at New Year's Eve!

Arriving at university

On the accommodation search platforms Studapart, Studylease, which were advised on the webinar, I was never able to get my application approved, so I contacted my host university with this problem back in the summer. And I was very lucky: they replied that they had only a few places left in Crous residences. I immediately filled out the application form and quickly got a room in the 5th arrondissement of Lyon. 

It is not difficult to get to the city from Lyon-Saint Exupéry airport: I used buses and the metro. However, there are fast 20-minute aeroexpresses for 10 euros that will take you to one of the train stations, from where you can take a bus in any direction. On arrival, I immediately validated my visa (although this can be done within three months), got a Lebara operator SIM card and a TCL transport card for public transport. 

At the end of August we organised Welcome Days for students, when during five days there were different activities: a meeting and lecture from the deputy director for academic work, a meeting with former alumni, a tour and quest around the city, a lecture from the coordinator of international students, where we were given memorable gifts.


I liked the format of the training very much. It differs depending on the discipline, but I would like to note one essential point: here theory is not separated from practice. Classes are not divided into lectures and seminars: a lecturer reads the material for half of the class, and then students practice.

Course grades are based on several elements of control: homework, tests, group projects and an exam. Tests are given in the first ten minutes of class, and if you are late you automatically get a 0 for the test, and if you are late twice you get a 0 for all tests. This is very strict - pay attention!

Also, during the academic term, the university offered French language courses to everyone. Of course, I took advantage of this opportunity. For beginners like me, there was a course to learn from the basics. It helped me to learn and practise the base of the language, which was very useful - people do not often speak English if you go outside the university.

Extracurricular activities

Every week the student associations of the university and the university administration itself organised many different activities, from parties to a fresh food market right inside the university. 

The one I remember most was the French family dinner in December. It is the most real immersion into French life! The university was looking for families who are ready to invite foreign students from the university to their homes, treat them to a dinner cooked by their own hands and tell them something about cuisine and France in general. I tasted the famous pumpkin soup and quenelles (Quenelles), which can be made from fish, chicken, and a variant for vegetarians - from flour. It is very tasty - just melts in your mouth! 

Another memorable event was the Lumiere light festival. It is very difficult to describe such a beauty with words - I took a lot of photos. The essence is that the light show is projected onto Lyon's monuments. This year, for the first time, the images were generated by artificial intelligence: we compared the first film in the history of mankind, "Arrival of the train at La Ciotat station", shot by the Lumiere brothers, and the way artificial intelligence imagines it. It was brilliant and unique.


When my course load was less or classes were rescheduled, I had the opportunity to travel. I have travelled with friends to Montpellier, Annecy and Paris.  These trips were unforgettable experiences, and each city has made a unique contribution to my love of France. In Montpellier, I was captivated by the Mediterranean vibe and warm climate. Annecy attracted me with its historical architecture, cosy streets and picturesque canals. And, of course, Paris - it caused a special excitement. The capital of France justified its reputation as the city of love and art. Walking around the centre, a visit to the Louvre, the splendour of the Eiffel Tower - every moment is remembered forever. The atmosphere of Paris, its cultural heritage and exquisite cuisine left lasting impressions. In every corner of France I found something unique and beautiful, which gave me inspiration for the next trips.

I hope my story will help you prepare for your trip. You can watch the highlights in the video fragments.  If you have any questions, you can write to my Telegram channel dedicated to studying in France @french_just_kate - I will be happy to answer them. I wish you a successful selection for the academic mobility programme and an unforgettable experience!

EmLyon Business School (Part 1) - Dmitrieva Ekaterina

Video: Ekaterina Dmitrieva

EmLyon Business School (Part 2) - Dmitrieva Ekaterina

Video: Ekaterina Dmitrieva

EmLyon Business School (Part 3) - Dmitrieva Ekaterina

Video: Ekaterina Dmitrieva