Current students

Study abroad in Belfort, France 2016 - 2017

Study Period: April 2016 – March 2017 

Affiliation/Grade at the start of studying abroad: Graduate School of Integrated Frontier Sciences, 2nd Year Master Program 

Reasons for the Choice of University 
I want to study abroad in Europe and the United States, and UTBM has courses related to my research. 

The Type of Classes You Attended 
Currently, I am only taking one English class (language) per week. I came to France in mid-April and completed the complicated enrollment process in late April. UTBM classes started in March, and I was unable to attend them because, by the time I completed the enrollment process, the midterm exams were already over. 

The International Student Division conducted the English class, and I was forced to take the class. Also, I was supposed to take a beginner’s class in French, but it was not available this semester because there were not enough students who wanted to take it. 

If you are planning to study abroad, you need to take note that the new semester at most universities abroad starts at a different time from Japan. 

In the first semester (from September), I plan to take language classes in English and French, as well as courses in ergonomics and mechanical engineering. 

Life in University 
I am currently doing internships as well, mainly because I do not have many classes. Mostly I am engaged with internship activities. I am a member of BDS, a club at the university that enjoys various sports such as soccer and volleyball, which we play every day. 

Belfort is not a big city, but there are many events, such as the Music Festival. 

The ESN, a European student organization, organizes many events for international students to interact with each other, so we go on weekend trips to Germany or the amusement park. 

I am also fortunate to have international friends in the dormitory, and we have dinner together every weekend. So on weekdays I do internship activities and play sports at BDS in the evenings, and on weekends I attend events in the city, go on trips with ESN, and enjoy dinner and drinks with friends. 

Cost of living
Rent: €247 per month. This is a student dormitory with a shared kitchen, which is the average price. 

Meals: €5 per day. Students eat pasta, cheese and bucket every day, all very cheap. Lunch is available in the dormitory cafeteria (€3.25). 

Communication cost: €20 per month including phone, 50GB monthly SIM card only. 

Transportation: €34 per month Bus to all parts of town, €1 per bus, €34 per month maximum. 

Other: €100 per month for travel, alcohol, etc. 

Sushi sold in the supermarket: € 12 per pack. 

I think the prices are not high. It is similar or a little cheaper than Fukuoka. 

House Hunting 
UTBM helped us find a dormitory to stay, and we could choose whether to have a kitchenette or not. The size of the dormitory is about half that of the Ijiri dormitory, and the unit bathroom is a private toilet with a shower and sink. 

I chose to share the kitchen because I thought it would give me a chance to get to know a lot of students, but there isn’t much human interaction in the dormitory, and getting to the kitchen is a hassle. 

Also, I heard that houses with kitchenettes are larger and closer to the university. It would cost an additional €50. Many students live in shared houses. 

Daily Life 
It is a 5-minute walk from the dormitory to the campus. The city of Belfort is about the size of Akashi City. Buses cover the whole town, and with a bus card, you can use the buses, bike rentals and car rentals. All of them are conveniently located within a 5-minute walk. There are shopping centers, hypermarkets, movie theaters, bullet train stations and everything else, so there is no inconvenience at all. 

Perhaps it is situated in the countryside, English is not spoken by 99% of the people in the city, including university staff and bankers. So, I had a hard time going through the procedures. In my case, my friend, who has studied in Japan and is fluent in Japanese took care of everything for me. It seems that there were many students from UTBM studying abroad at Tsukuba University and Wakayama University. If there are students studying abroad at UTBM in the future, I think that they will attach a student who will take care of you. 

I was the first student from Kyushu University to study abroad at UTBM and the second Japanese student in 10 years. Most of the students and people in the town say it is the first time in their lives that they have seen Japanese people. If you say you are Japanese, they will say Manga, Anime, J’aime Japon. One-piece and GTO are very popular. 

There are no inconveniences in daily life, and it is easy to live here because there are many international students. 

Shotaro Ota