The Study Abroad Newsletter

Mon été en France

Annika Otterson

Accounting major

ESSCA School of Management, France

Gravek Pathway leading to castle at Chateau de Chenonceau

Classmates at winery located in the Loire Valley

Aloha and Bonjour! For my study abroad experience, myself and 11 other UH Hilo business students spent a month of our summer in France to study international business at ESSCA School of Management. Our main stay was in the city of Angers, but we also spent a weekend in Brussels, Belgium, and our final week of the program in Paris.

In 2016, I was lucky enough to travel to France, as well as a few other countries, for the first time with some colleagues from UH Maui College. Having had that experience, I went into this study abroad journey with a different mindset than most of the other students. I knew sort of what to expect, how to get around, and was familiar with some of the language.

As mentioned earlier, we spent majority of our program in the city of Angers, which is a smaller town located in the Loire Valley in the Pays de la Loire region, in the west of France. The city was very laid back and everything was easily within walking distance from where we stayed. Angers, to me, had a very college town feeling. We actually stayed in off campus housing for a different university. The people were very nice and helpful, even though we did not speak their language. While I have many fond memories in Angers, my favorite was an interaction I overheard on our bus commute. It was between one of my program-mates, who spoke French, and an elderly man. He had asked her if she knew why there were so many students on this bus ride every day, and she told him that we were a group of students from all over the world studying at ESSCA. She proceeded to tell him where we were all from and the man’s face just lit up. He was so excited that we were getting to experience Angers and all its rich history, and I was excited too.

Another favorite moment was when we went to visit Chateau Langlois, a winery located in the Loire Valley. We got to go into the warehouse and caves and see how they make it and bottle it,  but the best part was when we got to taste a few of their most popular wines. 

We also got to go on a few other field trips. We visited Normandy and the D-Day beaches as well as the museums there, Mont Saint-Michel which is a tidal island in Normandy, Chateau de Chenonceau which is one of the most popular castles in the Loire Valley because it the only castle built over the Loire river, Chateau du Clos Luce which was where Leonardo da Vinci lived when he was in France, as well as a few of the EU governmental branches in Brussels, Belgium. Not to mention our ending in Paris, where we did a Seine river cruise and got to see all the wonderful history there. 

This was such an incredible experience. I got to meet new people; get closer to some people I already knew. Have a hands-on learning approach to business and politics in the EU. Experience some pretty incredible opportunities that don’t usually happen and eat some delicious food! Oh, and drink lots, and lots, of wine. 10/10 would do it again in a heartbeat!

Mon été en France translates to My Summer in France.