Our students share their experiences

Lyonnais Didier Claude & Arielle Zinsou - Studying at IDRAC Lyon

Lyonnais Claude Didier

Hello Lyonnais, can you please introduce yourself?

My name is Lyonnais Claude Didier, I’m studying a Master II “Management and Supply Chain Function,” I already completed a BAC + 4 in Project Management and a Bachelor degree in Business Administration.

Why did you choose to study abroad?

My father is French and lives in France and my mother lives in Cameroon but it’s been over 17 years that I did not return to Cameroon because I studied in Senegal: I have always been used to study abroad and travel, I feel at home even when I’m abroad! I wanted to complete my studies on a high note. You have to understand that in our countries a business school program adds value to any academic background, additionally the specialty I was looking for was only offered by very few schools: Idrac was one of them, hence my choice. I do not regret it by the way!

How can you describe student life in France and especially in Lyon?

I found students in France not very opened compared to international students that I could rub shoulders with in other foreign universities. It was more complicated for me this time, as I arrived on the last year and the others students already knew each other very well.

Is it difficult for an international student to adapt to his new class?

Yes it is more difficult: African students used to be much surrounded, I find myself here a little more isolated. What brought me here is the quality of the education, so I focused on my studies primarily.

What do you like the most in your program at Idrac?

There is a big change with studies in Africa: while I have always studied in Business schools; the contrast is obvious between the business schools here and there.

In Senegal, there is no monitoring for students. It’s very complicated to look for an internship or even for future professional life. I particularly appreciate to benefit from a tutor who is always there to help me. My tutor is here to push me and give me the tools to help me in my internship research.

Did you find it difficult for an international student to find an accommodation in France?

For a foreign student in France it is not easy to find an accommodation: the question of the guarantor remains a real challenge for international students. A part of my family lives here and could have helped me upon arrival however I made the choice to handle things on my own so I found a place in a student residence that accepted folders without a guarantor. I strongly advise international students to book a short-term accommodation to avoid having to pay for expensive hotel nights.

Student residences offer accommodation easily accessible to any international students. However, there are rules for community life to respect.

What advice would you give to a foreign student looking for an accommodation on his arrival in France?

I would advise them to contact international students that are already on site at Idrac to get first tracks and solutions.

What do you prefer in France?

Lyon! I love Lyon, compared to Paris, I didn’t enjoyed Paris that much. I love the simplicity of people in Lyon, I also like the fact that in France everyone is comfortable with themselves, and there is a lot of freedom.

Can you tell us more about Campus France?

Campus France is an essential step. The embassy is the institution granting the visa. Campus France is just an intermediary between you, the embassy and the school. Campus France makes academic procedures official and tries to understand if you have a specific career plan and if you have the will to study in France through a simple interview lasting about twenty minutes. Campus France is here to clarify the situation, to check that a student knows what he wants but also what he plans to do in France. Campus France provides the required documents to the embassy, which then may grant a visa to the student.

Thanks Lyonnais!


Arielle ZINSOU

Hello Arielle, can you tell us more about your educational background?

I started studying at the university center of Roanne in September 2015, but I decided to leave during the month of November: university courses do not fit me, it was a first time for me and I had real difficulties taking down notes and properly following my courses. I was not used to the university system: the school where I was did not offer courses in amphitheater, only in small groups in classic classroom.

So I decided to enroll at IDRAC in BAC + 4 “Management of the Business Strategy,” and I started classes in February thanks to the spring intake.

What do you enjoy the most at Idrac?

I was very lucky: we are only 13 in my class and we are all international students. This international environment makes me forget that I am now in France! I always feel like I’m still in my old school , I find the same atmosphere , it’s really great, I love it! The teachers are really nice and I enjoy the courses.

What challenges did you find when you arrived on the campus of IDRAC?

Integration was difficult: there is a huge cultural difference. In the African culture we are all very open minded: relationships with others take a very important place. Here everyone is in his bubble which doesn’t facilitate relationships.

Why did you choose France for your studies?

I wanted some change after completing my Bachelor, I thought it would be interesting to have another experience and open up to something different. We have common history with France, this made it the most suitable country to me. I enjoy the fact that there is a lot of freedom here, you are who you are and it’s something I appreciate.

What is your plan after that?

After my two years here, I thought I would get back to my home country directly but after giving it a thought I might rather go to an English speaking country for a year of English classes: it makes it difficult today to do anything without English. After that I may come back in France and try to start something before returning home.

Can you tell us about your housing search?

I haven’t really had a problem finding an accommodation: I live with friends.

What do you like in Lyon?

It’s smaller than Paris it’s a beautiful city, Lyon is really great!


Arielle & Lyonnais show us their campus…

KOHLI Siddak Singh

Hi Siddak, can you please introduce yourself to us?

My name is Siddak I’m coming from India. I arrived in France in September 2015: I did my first two years in India as a student in Delhi University and for the third year I decided to come in France at IDRAC for a study abroad program as someone recommended this option to me in India.

The specialty is Marketing and Business Development. There is a lot of international students in my class: from the US, China, South Korea, Malaysia.

Why did you choose France for your studies?

I always wanted to go abroad for my studies and my uncle who advises students in India for study abroad programs and destinations, recommended France to me. A lot of students go to the US or UK or Australia because these are English speaking countries. I never heard about France as an option for Indian students! I thought that in France, I can learn French as well as a foreign language to help me in the future: this would give me an advantage over other Indian students. Additionally this represented a big challenge for me: I’m coming over for one year only and I’m trying my best to learn French in such a short time.

Can you tell us more about the program itself?

I’m currently studying a program fully taught in English. This program offers a lot of subjects related to Marketing, Business and lot of other courses as well: International law, negotiation, accounting, finance, etc… It’s nice for me because this helps me getting an expertise in each filed relate to business and Marketing.

Which challenges did you faced when you arrived in France?

First of all I didn’t knew French! When I was speaking English, French people were not able to understand me and communicate with me easily. I wasn’t able to find an accommodation easily: there are few agencies specialized in helping international students but it takes a lot of time and I was in a hurry! But day by day, it gets easier, you try and catch up words and you start to speak “un petit peu”! Then you can make it!

I found the people here in Lyon very nice and very helpful as one day when I was just asking for my way to the subway: a man took me in his car to drop me directly to the station. In India: nobody does that! People don’t trust each other and are very suspicious with others. At first, I was scared but then I simply understood that French people are very nice.

Can you tell us what options you had regarding accommodation upon arrival?

When I arrived I booked immediately a few days at an “Auberge de Jeunesse”, it was cheap. I lived there for 4 days, hotels are too expensive. I looked for specialized agencies, but then when I called the owners lots of them would tell me “I only speak French, sorry!” I then, went to Indian restaurants to be able to communicate easily. One guy told me his friend was looking for a roommate and I was offered to join him. I was in desperate need of a place to stay: I accepted immediately! I’m still staying with him at the moment: he’s very nice, he’s a sous chef in an Indian restaurants. Little by little I started to get more connections in Lyon and got a part-time job in an Indian restaurant in Vieux Lyon.

Can you tell us more about the Visa procedure?

When I received the confirmation of admission, I was asked to send all the academic documents to confirm my eligibility. Once my eligibility was confirmed, the embassy gave me a check list of all supporting documents required (receipt of payment, proof of the amount of money on my account (about 8000 Euros) to show you can support your living expenses, accommodation confirmation in France). For this you can also show the booking confirmation for the hotel, flight tickets and your references (purpose of your trip in France). I didn’t get the interview with Campus France as within this program there is an exemption for future IDRAC’s students.

What do you prefer in France?

The city of Lyon is very nice, people are nice and the food is beautiful! When we arrived in France, IDRAC took us all for a lunch in a gastronomic restaurant. I liked it a lot! And here there is wine everywhere, I have tried them all: white, red, rosé and “vins mousseux”. Fashion is also something I’m passionate about!

What do you prefer at IDRAC?

I really like the fact that you can find all the courses right after your class on E-Campus. This is what I enjoy the most: you can access all the courses anytime you want! And you also have access to your timetables, this helps me to organize my weekends and holidays.

What advice would you give to an international student?

I would tell them to work on their French right away! The rest can come later! The culture and the people are nice, you can always make friends with international students, but the main thing I would recommend them is to get the basics to work their way easier in France.

What would you like to do once you complete your degree here in France?

I would like to start a Master in Business or Accounting. I haven’t decided the country yet, if I think I can work on my French I will decide to stay otherwise I would give English countries a shot but I will do my best to stay in France because of the culture and the people



Didier ZHENG & Jiawei HU

Can you please tell us about your Academic Background?

For the past two years I have been studying in Amiens because my school in Shanghai has a partnership with the university of Amiens , then I decided to come to Idrac in Lyon and it’s my first year here, I will then do my third year in France as well!

Why did you choose France to come and study?

First, because of the partnership between my school in Shanghai and IDRAC Business School in Lyon: it makes it easier to come and enroll and France it’s also a nice country. I actually got two offers from two schools which are Idrac and Vatel, but Vatel is a specialized school in catering or tourism and my father wanted me to achieve a degree in finance or business.

Vatel is very specialized when Idrac is generalized and I will be able to do many things after.

Can you tell us more about your program at IDRAC?

It’s called “Grande Ecole Program” and I have courses in Marketing, Human Resources, Management, Finance, Law and E-Marketing. I will then be able to choose a specialization in my fifth year.

Do you know which major you will choose?

I’m not too sure but I want to specialize in Finance or Marketing, but Finance has more accounting courses, therefore I think I will choose something else but I need to discuss it with my parents.

What courses do you prefer in your program?

My preferred class is Finance: it happens often that before we take an exam, my French classmates ask me for help.

Do you face any challenge in your class since you are not fluent in French?

Not really: it is not difficult as my classmate can speak English. The multi-cultural experience is also interesting: we have different minds so we share some ideas about projects that are complementary.

In your class do you have many international students?

Yes: for the first semester we were more than 10, but for the second semester we are only two. In PGE 4 you can go abroad, therefore lots of students in my class decided to go abroad. I was not aware of this option in the beginning and when I wanted to apply it was too late. It would have been a great experience however even if I stay here, all courses are taught in English, and it’s also great!

What do you prefer in Lyon?

Lyon is very nice and beautiful, if I compare it with Paris I prefer Lyon because I think Paris is not easy for a long stay, you can go for a weekend it can be nice but not for study. It’s also too expensive and the life is very fast…Here they call Lyon the small Paris and it’s so much better!

It is difficult to be far away from your family?

No because each year I go back to china for one to three months, I also go during summer but this time I’m going back after May 6 and I will also do my internship in China and visit my family. I am so excited!

How did you find an accommodation when you arrived in France?

Idrac helped me finding an accommodation through a Facebook group for international students in Lyon, there are a lot of groups like Erasmus, Lyon apartment .., that’s how I found a place to stay and I’m now sharing a flat with one Chinese guy and one Australian guy both are studying at Idrac as well.

Can you tell us about the visa procedure? How did you manage to get your visa?

The first year I applied for a visa , after I had a residence permit so I just go to the prefecture to get some papers like your house contact, the school notes, it was pretty easy for me !

Do you know what you want to do when you finish here?

I will go back to Shanghai to find a job and prepare myself to the working like in stock exchange, because I like calculation and numbers.

Thank you Didier!

Jean Richard AMIEN

Hello Mr. Jean Richard AMIEN, can you please introduce yourself?

I am Jean Richard AMIEN.

After obtaining my ‘Scientific Baccalaureate’ in Ivory Coast, I joined the prestigious university ‘Felix Houphouet Boigny de Cote d’Ivoire’ where I got my ‘Master in Management’. Then, in 2016 I started a BAC+5 in ‘Commercial Management and Business Engineering’ at IDRAC BUSINESS SCHOOL.

I got my diploma in 2017.


What motivated you to pursue your studies abroad and why have you chosen France?

After my ‘Master in Management’, I wanted to give an international outlook to my qualifications. Why France? I thought it would be easier to adapt there as France and Ivory Coast have many similarities in term of culture. Additionnally, the best schools are in France and it is a country which invests a lot in its education system.

How did you get your visa?

You need to follow the procedure of Campus France, where they check the authenticity of your academic background, your professional project and the reasons you want to pursue your studies in France. Then, the French Embassy checks that you have the financial means to live in France and once all criteria are satisfied, the VISA is delivered.

How was your integration in France?

At the very beginning, it was quite difficult due to the difference in language and my Ivorian accent. But I was motivated and decided to overcome this problem with the intensive and regular work at the school. I came to France with clear goals.

How was life and your courses on the campus?

Life was great and the campus offers a pleasant setting to work. We have an info center, and a well-equipped computer room to study and carry out research.

For the courses, we had amazing teachers who were ever ready to help us and motivate us all through our studies.

I appreciated particularly the  program with the group works that put us in real life situations in businesses where we had to co-work with people of different personalities. Overall, I would say everything was perfect.

Thank you Mr. Amien.

Elu Kriza

Hello Elu KRIZA, can you please introduce yourself?

I’m Elu GBOBIA KRIZA. In 2006 I got a Baccalaureate with a major in Mathematics and Life and Earth Sciences. The following year, I joined the national university of my home country (Ivory Coast). Following the deep crisis the country has experienced, I got my ‘Master in Economics’ in 2013 – 2 years later than expected because all universities were closed during the crisis. 

Tehn, I decided to come in France at IDRAC BUSINESS SCHOOL (Promotion 2014-2016, BAC + 4/5) and I graduated in November 2016.

 What motivated you to pursue your studies abroad and why did you choose the France?


First of all, the socio-political situation in Ivory Coast foreshadowed an uncertain future for students in the country.

Secondly, the labor market had become very competitive, and students who had studied abroad (France, United States) were more privileged in the country.

Finally, I wanted to gain a strong experience to be able to set up my own business and be independent in 10 years.

I chose France because we have a lot in common in term of culture: particularly the French language.


How did you get your visa?

Candidates need to pass an interview at ‘Campus France’ where they have to provide their admission and registration letters from the school in France. They have to provide their TAGE-MAGE score also and once all documents are provided, the candidate may apply for the VISA at the French Embassy.


Tell us about your integration in France.

The beginning was difficult. Everything was different: the way of living, social life and especially the climate change; the winter season which was unbearable. In addition, it was quite hard to adapt to a new diction.

However, I had my goal clear and I had wonderful friends who helped me. I seize the occasion to say on once again thank you to my friends and especially to Elodie RICOU, Kemal SARISKAN, Wafia MERZOUG and Aminata M’BENGUE.


How did you find the life and courses on campus?

Life on campus was perfect. It provides a nice frame with several studying corners, a modern info center and a computer room for study and research.

Overall I would say that everything was perfect, as I was able to achieve my objective.


Thank you Mr. Elu for this interview.




My name is Jassvinder Singh and I am from Haryana, India. I have done my Senior Secondary Examination in 2013, in HBSE (Haryana Bold Secondary Education), whereby I studied English, Hindi, History, and Punjabi amongst others.

I joined CEFAM in 2016 for a Bachelor in Business Administration (BBA).


Why did you choose France to pursue your studies?

I wanted to do my studies abroad because in India studies are mostly theorical and I was looking forward for a thorough program that also focuses on the practical side.

I have chosen France as I found that it has many international and Anglo-Saxon schools. I opted for CEFAM as final choice because later on, I want to go to the USA to pursue my studies.

How did you get your visa in India?

After choosing the school, I applied directly via its website. Then, I did an interview by a FIGS representative and some days later I got my enrollment letter.

Then, I collected all the required documents (Enrollment letter from the school in France, my financial means…) and I went to the Embassy where there was a second interview.

Two weeks later, I got the good news that my VISA was delivered.

How was it on your arrival in France?

At the very beginning, it was very hard. I had some problems regarding my accommodation and I knew nobody here in France. The fact that I did not know any French did not help at all.

However, when I started to attend school, I met incredible friends who helped me to adapt here and also, Maxime from FIGS has been very helpful for my finding of an apartment. I seize this opportunity, to express my sincere gratitude and thanks to them.


How was life as a student in France?

Life is very good on the campus. We have the chance of having a very adequate building that provides a conducive environment for students to succeed: a well-equipped computer room, several studying corners with a very peaceful atmosphere, a regularly updated ‘infotheque’ and modern classrooms which are equipped with projectors.

Moreover, the other students are very cooperative and they are always ready to help. Though I found the courses tough at the beginning, my amazing teachers helped me to do my best.


Would you encourage foreign students to study here?

Of course I would recommend them, especially if they want studies of quality and aspire to give a global scope to their career.

Moreover, Lyon is a lovely city for students. It has several accommodation facilities for students and a very good transport system.

Raphaëlle Claude Olive FIGS Student - Professional Master in Environment at IET School

Who is Raphaëlle Olive Claude?

Raphaëlle Olive Claude is a 25-years-old Franco-Cameroon student studying at the Institute of Environmental Technologies (IET) in Lyon. She is doing her first year of Professional Master in Environment.

She has quite a “hectic” academic background. Born in Cameroon, she attended primary school there and at 12 years old she flew to Gabon. After some years, she left for Chad where she completed her secondary education.

Then she left Chad for Senegal – her favorite country so far – where she graduated from the ISM (Higher Institute of Management). Having fallen in love with Senegal, she lived there for three years developing projects that promoted African arts and helping innovate learning education arts.

In September 2016, she arrived in Lyon for her first year of Preofessional Master at IET.

Indeed, not everyone has such an academic pathway! Why did you choose to pursue your studies in France? And why did you change from art promotion to something totally different: environment?

I have chosen France because of the accreditation and recognition of its schools and also because I have part of my family already there.  

Doing environmental studies is just another way of contributing to development in Africa. Through my studies here, I want to acquire European expertise in this field and later on, go back to Senegal to help rural development and doing consulting in certification.

Moreover, the environmental sector is growing – especially in Africa – and there are more and more job opportunities in this sector.

Tell us about your arrival in France.

I had never been to France before. I arrived in Lyon in September 2016 and I was surprised because it was not as I imagined.

Life here is very demanding. For example, French people are very keen on punctuality, presence or being well-mannered and professional in all situations. People seem to live by the French motto “Vite Fait, mais Bien Fait” and I admire it.

On the other hand, people are also too absorbed in their world. Sometimes they are so focused in their personal duties that they tend be cold to others.

Finally, meeting my family was an extraordinary moment, especially seeing my 93 years old grand-mother for the first time in my life.

How was your integration in France?

It was a cultural shock. I have realized that one needs to constantly inquire about others to show interest in people. Personally, showing that you care for someone is mostly demonstrated through actions rather than just asking questions.

There is more communication in the sense that to show interest, it is necessary to continually ask questions and be more open about your own life.

At school, at the beginning it was difficult to adapt with the classmates as there were tensions in the class. We are only 10 students but several groups were created within us. It was mainly due to our far different backgrounds but in the end after co-working on several projects, a good atmosphere was established in the class.

What do you think of your program at IET and the René Cassin campus?

The program is great and I like the curriculum’s part that deals with quality certification, energy, social responsibility and accreditations. On the other hand, the common core with IDRAC Business School (Finance, Control and Management) is really not my cup of tea!

The campus is great!

Some advice for those who want to study in France?

Yes, two simple words: BE WELL-INFORMED!

It is necessary to understand the program and the school you are choosing, to be sure this is really where you want to build your career. As we know, many students get enrolled on a course then after one year they quit to change for a different study field.

Similarly, do not rely at 100 % on your school to look for your internship or your company if you wish to go ahead with an apprenticeship during your second year.

Same for cost of living: you need to look before you actually arrive in France ! It seems like common sense but lots of students simply arrive with their luggages thinking it’s going to be easy, and it’s not. You have to have an option, even a short accomodation option is way better than nothing!

A person has a day to visit Lyon. What places does he or she have to see absolutely?

Without hesitation, the Basilica of Fourvière which is a symbolic place in Lyon. If he or she is a fan of shopping, the Confluence shopping Center is a must!

I would also add that the person must taste the amazing cheeses St Michel or Caprice Des Dieux.

A little frenchie habit that you have adopted since you are here?

I am not really fond of alcohol, but now I really appreciate a small glass of wine when eating.

And of course after any meal, the perfect marriage: Cheese with red wine! Thanks to my wonderful grandma, Niouf, who initiated me to this tradition.

To finish, describe your new life in Lyon in a few words.

Experience. Discovery. Self-improvement.

Thank you, Raphaëlle!