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France: A Term Abroad

Gufran Elhrari, Politics and International Relations student, spent a term abroad at Sciences-Po Toulouse university in France during the final year of her BA. Read about her experience including tips for other students wanting to go to Toulouse.

Toulouse is a lively city filled with history, restaurants, and amazing people; staying there for a couple of months was amazing. My highlight was meeting new people and being able to experience something I haven’t before. I have never studied abroad; therefore, this experience was incredibly special to me. Moreover, with Toulouse being in the South, it was possible to explore other cities near the coast. Some friends and I were able to visit other cities, including Marseille and Montpelier, which were incredibly beautiful and worth a visit. The university also offers student trips under Mondus, a student-led programme where we visited Carcassonne and enjoyed the beauty of old architecture, the beautiful castle, and the church. It was worth it.  

Throughout my study abroad, I created a daily routine for myself that was different from being at home. I was living right in the city’s heart; therefore, I walked everywhere rather than taking public transport. Toulouse is huge. However, the centre is small and easy to navigate if you get lost in the small but beautiful streets. In London, I live with my family; therefore, trying to create a routine while being alone was challenging. I would also make my own meals and study at home. However, Toulouse has some of the most excellent cafes with the most delicious pastries and desserts; therefore, most of my studies were spent in cafes.


There were many other challenging aspects of the whole abroad programme; the most difficult was getting used to the language, the people, and the place. However, this should be manageable as this was a new experience. Moreover, Toulouse is a significantly diverse city with students and young adults. You will not feel like a stranger.

My experience abroad taught me that trying new things is very useful and can help with your future. Moreover, I became more confident that I could live alone and experience new places alone; this was a big challenge for me. Although it may seem like a culture shock at first, in the end, it is worth it. Academically, it is good to see how other universities teach and what courses they offer. In Sciences Po, international students needed to study French; that was important, as it helped us communicate and understand better.  

Some of my top tips for students abroad are to research and be sure about where you want to study. Making friends and being social is also essential, allowing you to make connections and potential lifelong friends. Remember to enjoy lots of food and visit all the bakeries. Lastly, enjoy your time and make the most out of it.