Bonjour! My name is Maria Cortes and I am a junior here at Pitt CBA, majoring in Marketing and Finance with a minor in French. I grew up in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico as well as Johnstown, Pennsylvania, and now I live in Bordeaux, France! The exchange program I picked is called KEDGE Business School in which they have Bachelor and Master programs as well as a Wine School. KEDGE has eleven campuses across three continents and is highly recognized throughout France and the European Union. Their Bachelor program is much shorter than ours, so as a result I am in the Masters Program Year 2 at KEDGE. Originally, I was placed at the first year level but due to scheduling and class differences I was able to move up to be in their General Track. I am excited to dive into my classes this semester since I just started last Monday!
I chose to study abroad in France since I love French culture and I have always dreamed of learning the language. One of my goals in this program is to pass the B2 French Language Level Certification in order to be considered at a working proficiency. Learning a language can be very difficult so it is important that you interact with it everyday and it requires a lot of discipline. It can be very easy to only interact with the five hundred international students instead of the french students at our program. As a result, I decided to set a goal to integrate myself more into the culture in order to learn their customs and practice the language as well.
Bordeaux is an amazing city with rich culture, beautiful architecture, kindhearted people and constant entertainment. If you are interested in a French city that is not as big and hectic as Paris and with a beach nearby then Bordeaux is perfect for you! There are trams and buses that run through the whole city which makes it very accessible. The Coastline region of Arcachon is only 60 km away and seeing Dune du Pilat is an unbelievable experience; it is the tallest sand dune in Europe. I highly recommend you put this city on your bucket list of places to travel or live in. I will have to warn you if you are planning on living here, it can be tough to find an accommodation. Places are limited so you have to be aware of the possible scams and overpriced apartments. KEDGE provided me with resources and student residence options, which I was very fortunate to be able to book a studio apartment in Gradignan which is about 45 minutes away from the city center and a 25 minute walk to school.
My journey here has just begun, and I am thrilled to be able to have this French life and international experience. Thank you to Pitt Business for helping me achieve my dreams! À toute à l’heure!