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College of Business and Management University of Illinois Springfield

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Galen Schneider Interview Spring 2013

Name: Galen Schneider

Major and anticipated graduation year: Business Administration, Dec 2013

Exchange University: City and Country: Université Pierre-Mendès-France

Planning and Packing:

1)      What were the most useful preparation activities you participated in?

“Studying the language using flash cards and reading up on the culture and language.”

2)   What useful things did you pack and what do you recommend to leave behind?

“I used a packing check-list that I found online. Just Google “rick steves packing list” should be the first result.”


1)      How did you get from the airport to the University and about town?

“In the city of Grenoble the public transport system is amazingly simple and extremely efficient in getting you wherever you want to go.”

2)   How much does it cost?

“A one day pass is about 7 Euro but for students (with a student card) its about 27 Euro per month (unlimited use of trams and buses).”


How and where did you exchange and withdraw money?

“I brought about 500 Euro in cash with me when I went over and then I transferred money from my US bank to a bank I set up in Grenoble. I used the bank BNP Paribas, they were very good to me. However, you will need help translating everything if you aren’t fluent with the French language.”


What were the most reliable sources of information about cultural events, news, travel and weather?

“You really just need to network with people in the city to find events and news. As for travel I used and I can’t recommend using it enough on your travels. As for weather, just Google it!”

Living Arrangements:

1)   Where did you live while studying abroad?

“I lived in a student apartment run by CROUS.”

2)   What would you recommend to future students? Why?

“I would recommend students live in the student dorms set up by the CROUS organization. The shared flats are very small but they are very nice because you live with other students and can meet friends immediately. The apartments I stayed at (the building was called Fialos) had single apartments which where spacious and nice. However, it was hard to meet neighbors because everyone was separated. If you are going to stay in a single apartment request the building Fialos and not HOME (in the Home residence you have to pay for electricity, in Fialos you do not). If you want a shared flat you can choose either Fialos, Condillac, or MDE all three are good. Most of the other foreign exchange students stay at Condillac.”

Campus Life:

1)      What was your orientation and campus life like?

“The French students responsible for the integration of the foreign students were absolutely amazing at helping us all get oriented to our new lives. As for campus life, it was quite similar to home campus life.

2)   What were your favorite places to hang out?”

“We hung out a lot at a bar called the “London Pub” as a lot of foreign students from various universities went there. We also enjoyed parks, museums, and everything else Grenoble had to offer. A favorite place of mine was a café called “café des artes” which often had live jazz music and was quite affordable.”

3)   What extracurricular activities did you enjoy?

“The campus offered Football (soccer), rock climbing, tennis, and many other sports. You could also go see live theatre and live concerts all the time.”


Name one interesting place you visited and tell us why you liked it.

“One of my favorite vacation spots was a city called Avignon. This city is extremely beautiful and is enclosed in a giant stone wall which keeps out a lot of city noise. You can also visit the Pope’s palace which is gigantic and stunningly beautiful. There was so much going on in this tiny city, it was just amazing.”

Communication & Computers:

1)      Was Wi-Fi available in the dorms and on campus?

-“Wi-Fi was not available in my apartment; it was only a wired connection. On campus in the libraries and in certain rooms of the school buildings there was free Wi-Fi).”

2)   How did you communicate with other students on campus and with friends and family in the U.S.?

-“The French students at GEA created a Facebook page and included all of the foreign students going to GEA. I also purchased a prepaid phone plan (20 Euro per month + 20 Euro for a cheap phone). This was how we organized ourselves. Communicating with family in the US I often used Skype when I had a decent internet connection.”


What was your favorite course and why did you like it?

“My favorite course was the European Culture class, the professor was an extremely interesting businessman born in the UK but had been living in Grenoble for 40+ years. He made the class interesting and very fun.”

Health & Safety:

What health and/or safety issues did you encounter, if any?  How did you resolve those?

“I had no health issues during my stay but the French government does make you pay for French health care insurance which I believe was about 250 Euro for 1 year. I also never had any safety issues but you can always contact the police. For less urgent issues I would have contacted one of the administrators of the foreign exchange program (for me it was a wonderful woman by the name of Isabelle).”

Is there anything else you would like to share with prospective CBM Exchange students and the CBM community?

“If you have the opportunity to do a semester abroad, just do it. It was the most rewarding experience of my life.”

With careful planning and early consultation with your academic advisor, you too can incorporate study abroad into you UIS studies to fulfill degree/course requirements.  For
more information about the UIS Global Experience program, see