Bilingual interview with an exchange student

By Flavio Spadavecchia, Go Abroad Ambassador spending a semester abroad at the University of Liège

For today’s post, I’ve decided to do something a little different. I wanted to interview an exchange student from Liège who went to study in Aberdeen, but I thought I would spice things up. Since there are a lot of students of French in our university of Aberdeen, and since I’m surrounded by native French speakers, I thought I’d conduct the interview in French for those of you who want to practice! Of course, I’ve also translated it, so you can check how much you understood – or you can just skip to the English version if you don’t study French.

Manon is a Translation student who grew up and studies in Liège, Belgium. She studied at the University of Aberdeen during the Autumn semester of 2018. Here is what she had to say about her experience.

 

French version

Pourquoi as-tu choisi de venir à Aberdeen (si tu as eu le choix) ?

Alors, j’ai choisi Aberdeen car je voulais absolument partir dans un pays où l’anglais est la langue officielle pour m’améliorer au mieux. Ensuite, l’Écosse est moins chère que l’Angleterre, donc ça m’a aidé à faire mon choix. Puis, j’ai toujours été intriguée par l’Écosse, ses habitants, l’accent, etc. Le programme des cours de l’université était également très intéressant et très différent de celui disponible à Liège, donc je voulais découvrir de nouveaux systèmes de cours. J’ai beaucoup hésité avec Galway, mais les logements à Aberdeen semblaient plus accessibles et plus confortables.

Quelles différences y a-t-il entre ton université et celle d’Aberdeen ?

Beaucoup plus d’aide de la part des professeurs et assistants [à Aberdeen]. Il y a aussi un énorme soutien psychologique pour ceux qui en ont besoin, beaucoup d’événements et rencontres entre étudiants (pas seulement Erasmus). Une des meilleures choses, je pense, sont les clubs de sports et autres (art, langue, …) que nous n’avons pas à Liège. Je trouve que ça permet de faire beaucoup plus de rencontres.

Qu’est-ce que tu as le plus aimé en Écosse et à Aberdeen ?

Les habitants, car ils étaient tellement chaleureux et amicales. Ça faisait vraiment du bien de rencontrer des gens tellement gentils ! Ils sont extrêmement serviables aussi. Puis leur accent fait son petit effet.

Qu’est-ce qui te manquait le plus de la Belgique / Liège ?

Ma famille était vraiment ce qui me manquait le plus, ne plus les voir tous les jours et ne les voir que par vidéo, ce n’était pas facile au début mais avec le temps et les amis qu’on se fait en Erasmus, ça passe.

Qu’est-ce que tu as dû apprendre en étant loin de chez toi ?

Apprendre à vivre seule, à me débrouiller sans mes parents. Avant mon Erasmus, je ne savais pas cuisiner, mais là je n’ai pas eu le choix. Faire la lessive, repasser, gérer beaucoup d’argent par mois avec le loyer à payer, etc. J’ai aussi appris à être plus sociable, pour me faire des amis et des contacts.

Dernière question : Quel serait ton meilleur conseil pour un potentiel étudiant d’échange ?

Je pense qu’il faut un peu se forcer à aller à des événements pour faire des rencontres et bouger de sa chambre et découvrir le pays au max pour ne pas regretter après, car l’Erasmus passe à une vitesse folle.

 

English translation

Why did you choose to come to Aberdeen (if you had the choice)?

Well, I chose Aberdeen because I definitely wanted to go to a country where English is the official language, to improve the most. Furthermore, Scotland is less expensive than England, so that helped me choose. Also, I’ve always been fascinated with Scotland, its people, the accent, etc. The university course programme was equally very interesting and very different from what was available in Liège, so I wanted to discover new academic systems. I really hesitated with Galway, but the accommodation in Aberdeen seemed more accessible and more comfortable.

What differences did you notice between your university and the University of Aberdeen?

A lot more help from teachers and assistants [in Aberdeen]. There’s also a huge psychological support for those who need it, a lot of events and meetings among students (not only Erasmus). One of the best things, I think, are sports clubs and societies (art, language…) that we don’t have in Liège. I find it allows you to meet more people.

What did you like the most about Scotland and Aberdeen?

The people, because they were so welcoming and friendly. It was great to meet such nice people! They are extremely helpful, too. Also, their accent is quite something.

What did you miss the most about Belgium/Liège?

My family was really what I missed the most, not seeing them everyday anymore and only being able to see them via video wasn’t easy, at the beginning, but with time and the friends that you make on Erasmus, you get over it.

What did you have to learn being away from home?

Learn how to live alone, how to get by without my parents. Before my Erasmus, I couldn’t cook, but there I had no choice. Doing the laundry, ironing, handling a lot of money every month with rent to pay and so on. I’ve also learned how to be more sociable, in order to make friends and connections.

Last question: What would be your best advice for a prospective exchange student?

I think you need to force yourself to go to events to meet people and get out of your room and discover the country to the fullest, so you don’t regret it after, because the Erasmus goes by crazy fast.

 

A huge thank you to Manon, I’m really glad I got to interview her and heard her opinions on Aberdeen as someone who only briefly lived in Scotland. I hope this was interesting both for those of you studying French and prospective exchange students.

I’m thinking of interviewing someone from the UK studying here abroad for the first time, so definitely stay tuned. As always, you can leave a comment if you have any questions to me or that I could ask someone and maybe make a post out of it.

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