We chatted with Emily Forté about spending two semesters in two beautiful cities: Paris and Stockholm.
What university did you go to?
My first semester of exchange was at ESSEC Business School in Paris. My second semester of exchange was at the Stockholm Business School.
Do you speak any Swedish or French? How’d you go speaking it there?
I had quite a good command of French when I arrived in Paris from years of study in high school and university. It was helpful to know French when getting around the city but certainly not essential — contrary to popular belief, Parisians are not rude and will almost always speak basic English.
I spoke no Swedish when I arrived in Stockholm and I still don’t! It is absolutely mind-blowing how well Swedes speak English. It certainly shows that they’re the best non-native speakers in the world.
What was the most touristy thing you did?
The most touristy thing I did in Paris was repeatedly taking photos and being stunned by the Eiffel Tower every time I crossed it. In Stockholm, it would have to be the time a group of exchange students and I hired kayaks and paddled through Gamla Stan. We didn't take a phone for photos so we shouted out to a woman who was sitting on the river bank and asked her to take a snap of our kayak group and send it to us on Facebook. I thought it was a perfectly normal request at the time but looking back, how strange we would have seemed!
Tips for students going on exchange?
Save, save, save! One of the best things you can do while on exchange is to take the opportunity to explore the areas and countries around you. Travel on the weekends and during your time off.
How is Paris different from Sydney?
I guess the main differences stem from the history and cultural heritage that Paris and France have. The food, the art, the music, the sport, the streets, the language and the people all have so much history behind them that you feel older and wiser just walking around. There's something for everyone in Paris and you will never get bored. And the metro. The metro is ace. Sydney, take note.
How is Stockholm different from Sydney?
Stockholm’s public transport system would have to be one of the greatest in the world so that was a difference I welcomed with open arms. Again Sydney, get a subway system ASAP! In terms of the people and main cultural factors, it felt pretty similar to Sydney. Hot tip: swap the singlet and thongs combo for a collared shirt and Birkenstocks and it's just like home.
Did it snow a lot in Stockholm when you were there?
The first day that I arrived in Stockholm was the coldest I have experienced. The sun would set at approximately three o'clock in the afternoon and not come up again until around eight o'clock in the morning. There was a ton of snow in winter, making it beautiful to see and a lot of fun to participate in winter sports like skiing and sledding. By the time I left Stockholm, the days were almost 18 hours long and the weather was perfect almost every day.
Stockholm or Paris?
If you held a gun to my head I would say Paris — only because I am deeply in love with that city.
Three things that remind you of Paris:
Wine, Justin Bieber's album Purpose, the smell of pastries.
Have you ever eaten snails or frogs legs?
Of course! Snails are like muscles minus the fishy taste, plus some garlic and basil. Frogs legs are like chicken with a lot of bones — pretty annoying to eat actually!