Like many students, travelling abroad and exploring a new culture, lifestyle and country was all what I have always dreamt of. Hailing from Saharanpur, it was never an easy dream to capitalize on. A year ago, I had never even thought of a life that would get so fast tracked. MBA at SCMHRD has provided me with manifold opportunities of experiential learning and one of the best among them was the Summer School program to IMT Business School, Paris at partially paid scholarship.
Two roads diverged in a wood and I – I took the one less travelled by.
This quote aptly describes my journey to Europe, as I was one amongst the lucky 9 students to travel from India. After experiencing working in corporates during my summer internship I was both excited and anxious to travel across borders for the first time and the icing on the cake was to receive the VISA, a day before my travel.
Finally the most awaited day arrived and I boarded my flight from Delhi to Paris on June 24, 2018. The complimentary services offered in the 12 hour long International flight were way ahead of my imagination and expectations. The pick-up facility at the airport was already arranged. The very first sight of ‘PARIS’ for me was: the surprisingly clear sky, less crowded roads and cleanliness all around, something that I had only seen in movies until now. I was the last one from our batch to finally reach Institut Mines-Télécom Business School in Paris.
The same evening we were invited for the welcoming ceremony, to accustom us to the college and other international students. The batch of 22 comprised students from 8 different nationalities mainly, Korea, Colombia, America, Brazil, Uruguay etc . There were students from diverse age brackets, language and culture along with multiplicity of educational backgrounds and experiences. This led to some fascinating discussions in the classroom sessions (Though, their accent got me in a fix at times :P)
The next day we had a visit planned to the most recognizable landmarks of the world – the ‘EIFFEL TOWER’. The place was so mesmerizing and there was something so special about the Tower that cannot be described in words- it is the place to just sit and and let your senses imbibe it’s beauty and serenity.
While strolling the streets of Paris we also visited ‘Louvre Museum –World’s largest art museum, ‘Museum d’Orsay’, the beautiful ‘Arc de Triomphe’ and the famous cathedral ‘Notre Dame’. The day ended by visiting the largest department store for shopping lovers – ‘Galleries Lafayte’ !! Apart from shopping, the design and the history of the place is itself impressing.
The next day welcomed us with the classes and the curriculum for the course entitled “Managing Innovation and Digital Transformation in Business and IT”. It was a very well formulated program engaging all the students irrespective of their backgrounds. The first day we were taught about the ‘European Geographic distributions and Economy’. Subsequently in the coming days we were given captivating sessions on Design Thinking, Global Supply Chain Management International Marketing, Strategic Management and many more. The classes were delivered by a highly qualified and passionate team of teachers. The Technological Innovation session with Prof. Mohammad Isleimeyeh was very intensive. Amongst the all, I felt the best session was on Global SCM taught by Dr. Sam Dzever. The practical examples given and the videos shown were extensively knowledge driven.
However, the most enjoyable sessions were the French tutorials in the afternoon. The effort and the fervor that our professor, Mr. Jean Claude had put to make us learn the itsy bitsy of the French language was something out of this world. The limitless laughs and countless memories during these sessions made up some great cherishable memories.
Apart from classes, the curriculum was planned with the educational trips to different places. The commitment of the student interns (Valentine, Mathilde and Audrey) to provide us with the best of experience was inimitable. The barbeque treat in the college was exclusively arranged for us on every Thursday.
On the first weekend, we were taken to Geneva, the capital of Switzerland. The day time was scheduled with educational lectures at the ‘United Nation Headquarters’ and ITU (International Telecommunication Union). All thanks to our summer school program director Dr. Bhumika Gupta who accompanied us to the place and made all the prerequisite appointments for the day. The evening was meant to self-experience the beauty of the place.
The heart of the beautiful city-Geneva is the ‘Lake Lehman’. The water sports, the boating experience and the ‘Jet d’Eau Fountain’ which rises to the height of 140 meters were the best part of sight-seeing. The visit to the ‘Swiss chocolate factory’ was a rewarding experience. The frolic fun in exploring the place with new friends from different countries is not easy to be put in words.
After returning from Geneva, we started with our regular scheduled classes for a week. The next weekend was scheduled to visit the land of ‘Brussels’- Capital region of Belgium. We attended an hour long session at the ‘European Commission’ and visited the grand ‘European Union’. We were also lucky to have a sight of ongoing live session of the European country. Not only Brussels is the headquarters of European Union and NATO but, it is also full of life with the plethora of fashion, food and flair to offer. Even the small shop offering 130 different varieties of Belgium beers has its own perks.
We navigated the entire place… On foot! Cars are not allowed in the central area. The famous ‘Mannequin pis’- the peeing boy statue and the ‘Grand Palace’ – the central square famous for its magnanimous and aesthetic wealth were among the must places to visit . Finally, in Brussels, we also found some pocket friendly places to shop our favourite stuff.
After returning from Brussels, I was left with a week more in the continent. Another unique experience happened at Versailles – the must place to visit in the city of Lights.
Luckily, this remaining stay in Paris had the two best events. The Bastille day on 14th July- the National Day of celebrating the French culture with the parade and fireworks at the Eifel Tower(the night view of the place was just breathtaking). The next day was the day of glory for France, winning the Football World cup title yet again after 20 years. The celebration, enthusiasm and the people crying on streets at Eiffel was something I would never forget!!
Meeting new people all over, sharing each other’s experiences, making friends within a short span of time, trying out cuisines you didn’t know ever existed…These aspects make you more informed about the world.
This educational trip in total, gave my memories bank an overdose. About a month of low academic pressure gave me the pleasant international exposure. In this journey of 25 days, I visited 4 countries in the Schengen region, wherein each country had something new to offer. This was once in a lifetime opportunity for me and the takeaway is the infinite memories and a pretty high dose of MORALE BOOST.