Gap year report, Philippe Schmitt

Gap year report - Philippe S

 What did you do during your gap year ?

During my gap year I studied in Yonsei University in Seoul, South Korea, from September 2018 to June 2019. I took courses in economics and ecology, econometrics, Korean economy and Korean.

What did you personally learn from this experience ?

I chose this university – which does not have any partnership with TSE – because I have been attracted by Korean culture for several years. I needed to get out of my comfort zone, and I loved that sensation. The mentality, the food, the customs, the architecture: everything was different, yet so pleasant. I struggled to make some Korean friends, as most of them do not feel comfortable with English. You really have to get involved in clubs or associations to meet the locals. Still, people are very friendly and respectful, so it was not hard to get used to the place. Learning a new language and living alone was a way to challenge myself, and in the end I won the day. Most of the time I felt comfortable in class thanks to my background in economics that I got from studying at TSE. Moreover courses like econometrics at Yonsei University helped me to begin serenely my M2 EEE, as we had lessons on time-series.

Did you do your gap year after your L3 or between your M1 and your M2 ? Why ?

I did my gap year after my M1. I arrived at TSE in L3, and initially planned to do a gap year straight after my bachelor. Unfortunately, it did not go as I planned, and I decided to get enrolled into the M1 at TSE and get some time to decide what I really wanted to do if I were to do a gap year. In the end I decided to apply on my own for this university in April and was accepted in June. I had the summer to fulfill all the administrative requirements and to prepare for my trip.

Would you have recommendations / advice to give to TSE students ?

I would definitely recommend to do a gap year if this is a dear project to you. It changed my way of thinking, my way of working, and it made me think more about the system I am living in. Being part of a minority was also a good experience, as there are very few foreigners in South Korea. I realised it was important to make a good impression, as I was one of the few strangers that most Korean would meet. South Korea was new to me and living there was a great experience. Cost of living was surprisingly cheaper than what I expected, and the administrative procedures – applying to the university, getting a VISA, … – was quite easy in the end. However, South Korea is not the most vegetarian-friendly country I have been to. But if it is not an issue for you, South Korea might be the right place for you!

Gap year report, Gabriel Saive

74234808_2355285731244747_5667300602242138112_n

What did you do during your gap year?

My gap year was divided in two parts: the first semester for internships, and the second one to discover how a British university works -in my case, the University of Bristol.
I wanted to get a long internship (six months) for my M1. I worked at the “Fédération Française de l’Assurance” (FFA) in Paris from April to October. I was carrying out studies on agricultural risk and natural calamities. My ideal plan was to get another internship until December, but getting a two months paid internship in Paris is quite difficult.  Nevertheless, I got hired for two additional months (CDD) at the FFA, to work on other subjects such as transport and construction.
During my second semester abroad, I followed three courses:  Education Economics, Environmental Economics and Behavioural Economics. Those were really interesting subjects and some are not taught at TSE – here, Education Economics I gained satisfaction from learning many things. You have quite some time for yourself there, so it is possible to travel in the UK and in Europe in general during this semester.

What have you learnt from those experiences?

First thing I have learnt is that we have a lot of usefull skills that we can use in a working environment, especially when it comes to statistical software. As for University , I must say that I  prefer our academic model, with more hours of studies and an emphasis on  empirical methods , rather than how it works in Bristol -few teaching hours, load of hours to read papers.

Did you do your gap year after your bachelor or between your M1 and M2? Why so?

 I first wanted to do a gap year after my bachelor, but TSE being quite new to me and demandingso I didn’t manage to prepare all the documents on time. I did my gap year between the M1 and the M2, mainly because the M1 was quite intense; having a break to think about what M2 I wanted to do was really important to me. I also wanted to have a look at what kind of jobs I would be able to do after graduating; even if we have group projects at TSE, it was hard for me to imagine how one could apply these skills in a real workenvironment.

Do you have recommendations / advice for TSE students about the “gap year experience”?

I would recommend a 100 % doing a gap year between the two years of master, and not after your bachelor in economics.  First, because you will get better internships if you are enrolled in a Master’s program; second because the first year of master is a really tough one, and it can be harsh for some people to face it after a one year break. In any case, a gap yearis a great opportunity and not a wasted year, so go for it!

Gap year report, Gaudéric Thiétart

GapYear.GaudericTHIETART

 

What did you do during your gap year?

I decided to have both an international and a professional experience during my gap year. First, between September and January, I studied as an exchange student at the Carlos III University in Madrid. Then, I started a six months internship in a public policy consulting company in Montpellier.

What have you learnt from those experiences?

The main challenge for me was to live in a foreign country, and I realised I was able to do so: finding an accommodation, understanding and being understood by people, adapting myself to a new scholar system, etc. By improving my levels in both English and Spanish, I also realised I was now able to communicate with people from all around the world!

I also acquired more professional skills – technical and relational ones – during my internship, which will be very helpful for my future experiences.

Did you do your gap year after your bachelor or between your M1 and M2? Why so?

I did my gap year between my M1 and my M2. I made this choice because a lot of people at TSE told me that the M1 was the most difficult year. I preferred to pass all my M1 exams before leaving TSE for a year. I thought that the transition between the gap year and the M1 would have been harder than the one between the gap year and the M2.

Do you have recommendations / advice for TSE students about the “gap year experience”?

If you want to, just do it! Whether you decide to study in another university, to travel the world or to work as an intern, you will grow from this experience. You will know more about yourself and it will help you to make personal and professional choices in the future. We have the chance that TSE is encouraging to do a gap year; don’t miss this opportunity!

If I had just one more thing to say about my personal experience, it would be to give yourself some time if you want to have two distinct experiences as I did. I only had five days off between the end of my Erasmus exchange and the beginning of my internship. The transition was hard at first, so I would advise you to have a break in between.

Gap year report, Margaux Sinceux

GapYearReport - SINCEUX Margaux

What did you do during your gap year?

First, in order to pass my M1, I did an internship from May to October in Toulouse at Orange. I chose to continue it during my gap year, for six months in total instead of the four months required for the M1, to have a real experience. Then, I went to Reading – United-Kingdom – as an Erasmus student during the second semester, from January to June.

What have you learnt from those experiences?

My internship at Orange helped me getting further professional experience. Indeed, before that, I only did short-term internships of two months. It also helped me to find which M2 I wanted to apply for.

Concerning my semester in Reading, it was quite different from TSE because I had fewer modules – three modules, 30 ECTS – and therefore more free time to enjoy my experience there (discovering England and Scotland, being more familiar with the city and the campus, etc.). I did an Erasmus to improve my English to apply for the M2, but also to travel alone in a foreign country, to meet other foreign students and to discover how life is elsewhere.

Did you do your gap year after your bachelor or between your M1 and M2? Why so?

I did my gap year after my M1 because after being accepted in TSE, I wanted to see how it was to be in that school and how it was working. Moreover, the M1 was supposed to be the hardest year at TSE; therefore, I preferred to have a break after this year. I did not regret my choice because, thanks to my M1, I was already familiar with courses taught in English: it was helpful for my time in Reading. Furthermore, as I said, I wanted to do a longer internship.

Do you have recommendations / advice for TSE students about the “gap year experience”?

I recommend every student to do a gap year because it is a great opportunity, and TSE let us organise it as we want. For those who want to do an internship and an exchange in a university, I think the best way is to do first the internship and then the Erasmus, because usually the end of the second semester abroad is at most at the end of June: it gives you some time to have summer holidays and to travel from your host country to neighbouring countries if you wish to.

Gap year report, Daniel Ostalé Valriberas

  1. What did you do during your gap year?

My gap year was split into two: the first semester, from September to February, and the second semester, from February to June.

The first part of my gap year was very interesting but also totally unexpected. My first idea was to find an internship and work the first semester. Unfortunately, for several reasons – companies could not offer internships during those months, there were no great opportunities at that moment – I changed my plan and decided to travel. From Australia to India, and other countries, I had time to think about what I really wanted to do, deciding to specialise in Energy Economics. This time also allowed me to dig further into this field, as well as learning skills that were relevant for Economics but that we didn’t study much at university, like programming.

The second part of the semester was more academic. I went to the Guanghua School of Management (GSM), in Beijing. The experience was rewarding: I met locals and foreigners there, some of whom I am still in contact with, and had the opportunity to study completely new subjects, such as accounting, entrepreneurial management, and finance. However, I did not find the workload very demanding, as there were not many courses to choose from. Because of that, I decided to do an internship while studying, and worked for a company called WildChina, a travel company, where I helped plan their long-term strategy, presenting financial support ideas supported by data. In addition, I joined the school’s football team, and we won the University Cup!

  1. How did the gap year contribute to your personal, professional, or academic development?

From a personal perspective, I learned a lot about being flexible and handling unexpected situations. I felt a lot of frustration at the beginning of the gap year, and at some moments wondered if I was losing my time: was this traveling giving me something? Finally, I realised that you can only partially control what happens in your life, and that being adaptable and optimistic in bad moments is important. This was also the period when I decided what my ultimate goals were: for instance, my goal is to learn as much as I can about energy economics, and I realise that it is more important to study this topic all day. This might “steal” time from the other classes you take,  and maybe you risk receiving a bad grade in class. But what is the importance of passing M2 with, say, 13 instead of 12, if you know nothing about the topic you like the most? Don’t just study: learn.

From a professional perspective, I learned a lot from working in a Chinese environment. The Chinese culture is so different in all perspectives that the amount of things you can learn working for only six months is crazy. I also completely changed my plans in terms of professional career: I initially wanted to do finance, finally focused on energy economics.

  1. What advice would you give to another student who would like to do a gap year?

The school administration is very helpful in the straightforward procedures leading up to the semester abroad. Most of what I can add could be found on the Internet, but here are some basic ideas and tools that could help students going to China for their gap year:

  • Be aware that you will not have any data when you arrive. I bought a really expensive sim-card at the airport, but I suggest you to not do this and go straight to one of the big operators.
  • Download a VPN (VPNExpress is the one that I used): you should pay for a good one.
  • Download WeChat, it is like WhatsApp but much better and more necessary in China, as you can use it for other things, such as making payments.
  • Try to be in contact before arriving with some real estate agencies that can help you find a place to live as soon as you arrive.
  • Download MapsMe, it is like Google Maps (that you cannot use in China) but you can download the map of Beijing, for example, and use it without connection.
  • Take a look at the website “www.thebeijiners.com”, I used it to find my internship but it is also useful when you are looking to contact some real state agencies.