September 9 2010
ILR Welcomes Students from ESCP-Paris
The ILR-ESCP exchange brings talented and diverse students to ILR each year. This year, we have 4 students in total; 3 exchange students and one dual degree candidate.
- Albane Vizioz- Fall Exchange Student
- Nassim Benjelloun-Fall Exchange Student
- Charlotte Lieffring- Fall Exchange Student
- Romain Kozar-Dual Degree Candidate
In a recent interview, I learned some very interesting things about the group of students and their experiences. Below are the highlights from our conversation.
Tell me a little bit about yourself?
Albane: I grew up in the South of France. This is my last year at ESCP, after which I am interested in pursuing a career in HR. Previously, I had two internship experiences that steered me towards HR. My first internship experience was at an Accounting firm. I didn't particularly enjoy it. As a result, I spent my second internship working as an HR recruiter for interns. I really enjoyed my experience and decided to pursue a career in HR.
The ILR School is a great match for my interests. It gives me in-depth exposure to the field of HR while enabling me to work and experience living in an English speaking country.
Interviewers Note: In addition to her interest in HR, Albane is a Soprano and thoroughly enjoys singing. She is also interested in travelling in the US and the UK and wants to gain experience in an English speaking country.
Nassim: I was born and raised in Paris. My parents are originally from Morocco. I am interested in Finance and have experience working in Mergers & Acquisitions. I was attracted to Cornell because of its reputation. Furthermore, as a Cornell student I have the opportunity to access the US job market and gain international experience, while developing my English language skills as well.
Interviewers Note: Nassim is a cinema lover. He directed a movie with his five close friends from college. All of them wanted to work in the cinema, but eventually ended up with different career paths. To realize their dream, they produced a short movie about intense friendship and conflict within a small group of people. Nassim also enjoys sports, especially soccer.
Romain: I finished my degree at ESCP in Paris and am now pursuing a dual degree at Cornell. My background is in Consulting and HR. I decided on Cornell because of its reputation. This is also an opportunity for me to improve my English, as well as gain international experience. I also wanted to experience living in the US; "It was almost like a myth to me and I wanted to see it with my own eyes."
Interviewers Note: Romain loves to travel and has had amazing international experiences. A few highlights include an internship experience in India, and a student exchange in Mexico. He also enjoys keeping active and likes to trek and play badminton and soccer.
Is this your first time in the US? Can you describe your initial impression?
Albane: Yes, this is my first visit to the US. I arrived in NYC and initially felt a little lost, as I had never seen a city like this. Everything was big and tall. However, Americans are very friendly and welcoming and that put me at ease at once.
Nassim: I had been here 4-5 times prior to this trip. However, I also feel everything is very big and fast and you have to keep pace. I agree, people are definitely very nice and helpful.
Romain: This is my first visit too...It's been very exciting so far. I traveled to the West Coast with my friends shortly after arriving. It’s interesting to see the difference between the East and West Coast. Most of the stereotyped images I held have been confirmed...Big cars, buildings and even hamburgers!
What major differences do you notice between the US system and European system of education?
Albane: The US system is far more open and interactive. Students respond to professors in class, whereas in France, class participation is not the norm and professors always say "Come on, is anybody going to answer my question," not really expecting an answer. I really like the discussions and enjoy class participation. Another major difference is that professors and students have an informal relationship in the US. The other day in class, one of the professors asked us to call him "Pat." This can never happen in France.
Nassim: The two systems are poles apart. In the European system, we listen and write our notes, but there is very little classroom interaction. We have one big exam at the end of the semester. As a result, we don't need to work much through the semester. Whereas in the US, our learning is consistently tested through assignments and projects. Another major difference is that the classes here have a lot of team work.
The program office at ILR is very friendly. Sonia and Jenn are like our friends, whereas in France, a glass ceiling exists between students and the staff.
Romain: Professors are very positive in the US, as a result, students are comfortable responding to questions. We are encouraged to contribute, even if we don't know the correct answer. The professors are very committed to the students and even reply to emails on a Sunday!! You would not see this in Europe. However, the classes here do have a heavy reading load, which is something we are not used to.
What is the one American thing you can never see yourself getting used to?
Albane/Nassim/Romain: Food!!! We are really suffering...There is no good cheese, baguette or pastries available here!
How do you plan to spend your time while in US?
Albane: Travel, both in the Ithaca area, as well as across the country. The US is so big compared to France that we struggle to understand the distances.
Nassim: This is a great opportunity to explore and travel. We study in an urban campus in Paris. As a result, there isn’t much opportunity to explore the setting. Whereas Cornell and Ithaca have so much to offer in terms of sightseeing.
Romain: Well, I've already covered 4000 miles in three weeks by travelling from coast to coast. But I definitely want to do more! I also want to get involved in sports, courses and friends.