by Victor Malfait

I’m a student in a French school called Sciences Po in Lille, I study political sciences. It’s a degree we do over 5 years, and it is compulsory to do a year abroad during our third year – similar to some course at Aston. I wanted to go to the UK, because I’ve always loved the place; I’ve been many times before, visiting London, Liverpool, and Manchester – to name a few. I looked at the available universities and I chose Aston University in Birmingham because it’s in a big city (there were no London choices). I really don’t regret it!

I moved there on September 2016, into a Lakeside dorm on campus. It was a bit difficult at the beginning, being far from my friends and family but I quickly made friends, Erasmus friends and then friends from the Aston LGBT+ society who are some of my most important friends today. 

It wasn’t too difficult adjusting at the start, mainly because France and the UK are not completely different countries; they’re neighbouring European countries. It was just an adjustment to move away from my family. Moreover, I’ve always been very interested in British culture, travelling to the UK as I’ve mentioned. My time in the UK taught me so much about British people and customs in the UK that I didn’t know about.

When it comes to Brummies, they’re amazing, very welcoming, friendly people. They’re proud of their diverse and vibrant city. And they should be!

I come from the North of France, in one of the biggest French cities. Though is much smaller than Birmingham. So Brum is a much bigger city, where you have more of everything. They’re both post-industrial cities. When I was in there I used to spend a lot of time in the amazing Gay Village, which is something we don’t have here unfortunately.

As I said before, the two countries are not too different. But there are subtle, little differences and customs. Of course, the main language is different too. I also think that British people are very open-minded (I mainly had the big British city experience) even if we can feel the Brexit tensions. I’m crazy about British fashion; Londoners especially are very fashionable people!

I’m back in Lille to finish my degree.I miss this city (and Aston) a lot! I had a wonderful experience there, made friends for life, and I can’t wait to come back again! I have been back to Brum a couple of times to visit friends since the summer and it felt so good. Aston University is a great institution too, with very helpful and friendly lecturers.