Bonjour, Paris! Diverse semester abroad in France

Selina Grell (B.A. Journalism and Corporate Communications, HMKW Frankfurt) recently spent a semester in the French capital. During her stay abroad, she got to know students from all over the world as well as university life at ISCOM, Institut Supérieur de Communication et Publicité. More about her experiences she told us here.

[Translate to englisch:] Selina Grell verbrachte ein Auslandssemester an der ISCOM in Paris.

[Translate to englisch:] Selina Grell verbrachte ein Auslandssemester an der ISCOM in Paris.

At which university did you spend your semester abroad?

I did my semester abroad at ISCOM, Institut Supérieur de Communication et Publicité, in Paris and the semester there went from 12/09 to 12/16/2022. It was my 3rd semester.

How did you like it? Would you recommend it to other HMKW students?

Paris was great! I was there together with my fellow students from HMKW in Berlin and Frankfurt, Madeleine Roters and Khadidja Kordowou. I also lived in an apartment with Madeleine, together with 5 other flatmates. Because we were already very good friends, Madeleine and I did a lot of things together in Paris and always had a lot of fun together. Studying in Paris was a very special experience. The city is beautiful and I met many people with whom I am still in contact today. We have also already planned to visit each other.

What was the biggest challenge during your semester abroad?

One of the bigger challenges was definitely the language. Although the lectures at ISCOM were in English, I needed French at one point or another in my daily life. I had French in school, but was out of practice. In emergencies, I would call my French roommate to help translate or use a translation app. You can get by without French, but it's more comfortable for everyone if you know at least the basics. The whole bureaucracy was also difficult, for example reading the French rental contract or opening a French bank account.


How does campus life at your host university differ from that in Germany?

What I like most about ISCOM is its central location, right near the St. Lazare train station. The Galerie Lafayette is right around the corner and the building is typically French.

Compared to HMKW, there were some differences. In general, ISCOM was more like a school, not a university. The rules are much stricter. For example, during lectures of some teachers you are not allowed to go to the toilet. We didn't know such rules from "at home". Also, we had some days when we had to be at the campus from 8:30 in the morning until 18:30 in the evening. I don't remember ever being at HMKW for ten hours a day. Also, at HMKW you can work more independently, which I personally like better. What was similar to HMKW: small groups where classes were taught and a family environment. In addition, there are modern technology rooms with Macs at HMKW as well as at ISCOM, which we often used for our studies, for example in the graphic design course.

How did your studies in Paris influence you? For example, in terms of your later career goals.

The time in Paris encouraged me to improve my French and take a course even after my return to Germany. I also decided that I definitely want to live and work in Paris again. I might even come back for my internship in my 5th semester. Living in a foreign country and going to university is an experience I wouldn't want to miss. I had never been to Paris before my semester abroad and had to find my way around on my own, which helped me grow personally.



What would you recommend to other HMKW students for their semester/time abroad?

I can only recommend a semester abroad to everyone. For me personally, it was by far the best experience of my entire time at school and university. Even if you are unsure or nervous about this new experience at the beginning, it is definitely worth it.

I have made friendships that are sure to last a lifetime - and have friends in at least 7 countries around the world that I can visit anytime.

Thank you for the insights into your semester abroad. All the best and much success for your studies!