I’m Greg and I’m going to spend my 3rd year studying at ‘Sciences Po’ (a political science school) called l’IEP (Institut d’études politiques) in Lyon.
Although I have loved my university experience thus far, Edinburgh wasn’t a particularly big step for me, as I knew the city well before coming to university, it was just a case of changing what I was doing and some of the people I was with. However, studying a joint honours degree in French and Politics – and the ‘compulsory’ (it makes it sound like a chore!) year abroad – allows me to spend next year in an exciting, vibrant and lively city about two-thirds of the way down France, just over two hours south from Paris, an hour and a bit north of Marseille and a comparative stones-throw from other amazing European cities such as Geneva, Grenoble and Turin. In short, I’m looking forward to an adventure to a city with which I’m constantly discovering amazing things about, studying in a new environment and exploring this part of Europe which I am quite unfamiliar with.
As you will have gathered, I am impatient to get there and get stuck in to improving my French and meeting new people (hopefully both native French/Lyonnais people as well as fellow EURASMUS students). However, I am nervous about what can only be described as, well, the ‘unknown’ and sad to be leaving the extensive networks of friends and family I’ve built up over 20 years in Edinburgh and arriving to a blank slate, though I also kind of like this idea! While I try not to be overly concerned about things with which I am not yet acquainted I seem to be quite good at it, as I like to know what to expect. Due to this, I have spoken to as many people as possible who know Lyon, and I have been forward in approaching even friends of friends since I first discovered that I would be spending time in Lyon back in February/March. This has meant speaking to colleagues, people who I was at school with and finding someone through the Edinburgh Exchange Support Society who was studying at l’IEP last academic year. The many hints and tips which I have gleaned from these people (including what to anticipate at uni, where the best pubs and clubs are and how to get best value shopping) have helped to make me more excited, let me know what to expect, given me useful guidance and helped me to find a flat for next year.
So, just about to arrive in Lyon after many sad goodbyes in Edinburgh, leaving good friends, family and jobs behind I can only guess at what really awaits me. Will I try getting involved in sport? Will I end up getting involved with French politics? What are my flatmates going to be like? I will just resolve to put my all into it, and with any luck I think that I might just enjoy myself!