Sage International Program- INSEEC U, Paris global experience-JIA YI JI

  My general experience

I am very happy to be selected as an ambassador to participate in this international program, French Luxury Marketing & Management. On the first day, the school held a welcome ceremony and provided us with a rich lunch. Bread, chicken, water, and fruit.
Next, I will start the normal class. The first class is Exploring French Wine from 2 pm to 5 pm in July. The second class was held from 9:30 to 12:30 on July 3. The third class was held from 1:30 to 4:30 on the afternoon of July 3. I studied this course at the same time on July 4th. Then, on July 5, Friday, I visited the Opera under the guidance of the school. On July 8th, the morning class is the last Exploring French Wing class. I made the presentation.
In the afternoon on July 8th, Exploring French Luxury started. The professor is very beautiful and graceful. There are six classes in this subject. Exploring French Luxury finished on July 12th. Of course, the last class has an exam.
Similarly, French Gourmet also has six classes from July 12 to July 18. Among them, on the afternoon of July 16, the school showed us around the perfume institute. On the morning of July 17th, we visited Assemblee Nationale.
Finally, on July 19, I attended the Certificate Ceremony. The school prepared bread, desserts and all kinds of drinks for us.


 A profound learning experience

I learned a lot from the three-week exchange program. I learned about the making, marketing and marketing strategies of French wines. I also mastered the market management and marketing mode of French luxury goods. What impresses me most is the course of French cuisine. I think this course is a combination of theory and practical operation. On the premise that the professor,Sylvain LEROUVILLOIS, finished his theoretical knowledge, he led us to visit physical stores and explain the food operation mode ,food preparation process and related sales strategy of different stores. We visited French Gourmet shops in La Madeleine. Specific stores have MAILLE, LADUREE, PAT RICK ROGER, FAUCHON PARIS. A real and colourful class.

I learned a lot

Before I went to INSEEC, I felt a little strange, in my mind, I thought the teachers here would be very serious. But the reality is that the professors are very kind and patient to answer every question. In the French wine class, I learned how to taste red wine, make red wine, sell red wine, and market red wine. For the French luxury course, I learned about the historical development of some famous brands, such as Hermes. His luxury quality lies not only in his quality but also in its long history and spiritual heritage. In the course of French cuisine, the professor took us to visit a brick-and-mortar shop, and I saw the whole process of making chocolate, the famous baguette in France. At a bakery, we visit the kitchen, where the baker is a master with 18 years of experience. He skillfully handled each piece of dough in a machine and finally baked it into bread. New machines, skilled operation, clean environment, let me have an indescribable love for bread.


The impact on me

I learned a lot from this experience. It not only increased my knowledge and skills but also greatly improved my cognition. Before, I did not have a deep understanding of French culture. Through this experience, I realized that I should learn the romance and delicacy of French culture. Having a romantic spirit can make me feel happy at work and not dull. The exquisite lifestyle will make my living environment, working environment and learning environment more beautiful. Besides, I also visited some famous scenic spots in Paris, such as Eiffel Tower, The Seine, the arc DE triomphe,Louvre Palace, Opera, Orsay museum and Versailles palace. These beautiful sceneries gave me a great shock. I also visited France’s National Day celebration. This is really a wonderful study tour experience.

Trip to famous wine city–Bordeaux

As I know Toronto has become quite cold now, here in France is still sunshine all the day. During this one month, I have gotten used to the French life style, tasted quite a lot delicious French cuisine, as well as travelled a little bit. Here is what I would like to share with you guys my experience so far.

We travelled to a small city called Bordeaux, where is famous for wine production. It’s a nice and beautiful city with the smell of wine. We visited a lot old buildings and tasted quite a lot delicious regional wine.







It was a really fun trip and there was 13 of us went–3 from Mexico, 3 from Korea, 2 from China, 2 from Taiwan, and 2 from Japan. Even though we come from different background and we have different habits, we managed to make this trip both fun and memoriable!


A taste of Paris~

When I started telling my friends that I will be going to France, they all asked the same question:”Is it Paris?” Now that I have arrived in Paris, I can see why people are so obsessed with this city.





One of my friends asked me,”Is it as good as what they say?” All I can tell you is, it’s never as good as what they say, because it’s so much better! You have to come to see the views and feel the city yourself!

Last but not the least, thank you Centennial College for the great chance! You made my dream come true~~:)


Take me back to France days.

I woke up one morning and after checking my email as per usual, found myself jumping and screaming “I’m going to France! I’m going to France!”. Not only did I forget to watch the volume of my voice but I had also completely forgotten to wish my mother a happy birthday. I can’t recall the last time I had so much energy in the morning but that was the only normal way to react to this news, right?!

The days leading to the trip fast approached and before I knew it, it was time to pack up my luggage. Word of advice: Never leave packing to the last minute. Chances are that you’ll forget your favorite pair of socks and arrive at the airport with three extra kilograms.

We were greeted at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport with a Centennial College sign and a warm smile from a Groupe Sup de Co staff member. Just our luck, we landed during a train strike so we had to wait a few for the next train to La Rochelle. I was especially entertained at the station however by a phone-charger bike. It is exactly what it sounds like; a bike that you have to exercise on in order to charge your phone. Canada should really invest in these.

The train ride from Paris to La Rochelle was another four hours but the scenery was so remarkable I didn’t mind. Everyone was nervous about meeting their host families but I was overly excited. I have always loved meeting new people. If I was given the option to stay in a residence or with a host family, I would have picked a host family without a doubt.

My stay in home was nothing but amazing. I was paired up with a roommate whom I was extremely compatible with. I promised to keep this friendship with her beyond just the trip. My host mother treated me as if I were her own daughter. In fact, she even tucked me into bed with a good night kiss every night followed by a good morning wake up call.

Believe it or not, I even thoroughly enjoyed school. Our instructor, Sebastian is a soon to be comedian because he made me laugh uncontrollably every lesson. He made learning entertaining for all of us, even with the challenge of teaching sixteen individuals with different levels of French.

There’s no place that I would have preferred to go to for this global experience. I could not think of a better method to indulge in another culture than by attending a French school and living in the home of a French citizen. All of the students on the trip were fortunate to get along so well. We even decided on a meeting spot downtown during the trip so that we could explore the streets “as a family”.

Everything after stepping foot into the small town of La Rochelle was a blur. Not because I had wine with every meal but simply because the days flew by. I still can’t believe that I was lucky enough to be selected for this unforgettable trip. I had the time of my life in this cute town I called home for two weeks. I cannot express with words how grateful I am for this opportunity but in short, thank you Centennial College!

Written by: Nickza Dalas

Here are some pictures from the trip:

  • Little present for host mom.

Little gift for my host mom.

  • Last day of school. Sebastian = the one in the middle.

Last day of school :( Sebastian = one in the middle.

  • Just being a tourist.

Just being a tourist.

  • My room for two weeks.

My room for two weeks.

Beautiful La Rochelle, France

Wow! That’s all I can say about La Rochelle. It is so beautiful and old world. I love the cobblestone streets and the limestone buildings. As I walked past the beginning of the harbor with the blue waters of the Atlantic glistening in the sunlight and the Ferris wheel turning silently to my right, I come upon the downtown strip and realize that I truly have entered a different world. I’m not in Toronto anymore. The sun is hot and I can feel its heat as I walk along the sidewalk, but the air isn’t humid, it’s cool with the breeze coming off the Atlantic and it contains just a hint of salt. As I walk along the strip I come upon a myriad of restaurants and cafe’s that look out upon the harbor. The towers that are a trademark of La Rochelle become more and more visible as I move deeper into the heart of the city. I turn into the arch under the clock and am in awe of the sidewalks lined with arches; beautiful is all I can think. As I move along and pass all the different vendors, I find myself anxious to get to class so that I can learn how to ask “how much is that?” in French. I truly believe I’m going to savor my time in this beautiful French town. Now all I need is a croissant…

A Look Back at La Rochelle

Off the train and onto the platform, I search for the stranger who will be allowing me to live in her home for the next two weeks. What I found is a small, raven-haired, effortlessly chic woman standing before me. I customarily (and with a surprising amount of finesse) double-kiss my host, Maryse, hoping she will greet me in English. She had been e-mailing me only in French so far and I expected (or prayed) it to be a ruse in order to allow me to practice her language. But it wasn’t just for show. It became very apparent, very quickly that Maryse could not speak two words of English. And so my adventure began.

We arrived in La Rochelle, France at approximately 10:30 pm on Saturday June the 14th. The moment I stepped off the train and onto that platform, I knew that I wasn’t in Kansas anymore.

It was incredibly surreal being there. Kind of like home, but in many ways like another world. I had quite a few moments where I’d forgotten that I was actually halfway across the earth and in a land where almost every person I spoke to didn’t understand me, nor I them. Hand gesturing became a necessity. It was scary. But also riveting.

I always thought I had a strong grasp of the French language. Being in La Rochelle made me realize how stupendously wrong I was. The french speak so quickly and so eloquently that it became a terrifying feat to even attempt to utter a sentence, let alone try to hold a conversation. It was difficult to try to articulate to Maryse that I was in fact not rude, just incompetent! But I learned. I began to understand the language much quicker than I thought I would. I began to have semi-real conversations with Maryse, my professor, as well as all the other wonderful strangers I met along the way. It was exciting to learn authentic french, the language that the people use everyday…not just what you hear in movies. And I’m still seeking to learn more now.

It really is beautiful in La Rochelle. The water, the architecture, the people. Everything is so elegant and effortless. So European. One night in particular, some of my fellow travelers and I sat (with wine, bien sur) on the harbor with a complete view of the city centre. Old world architecture, shining lights, sounds of laughter and music, people strolling hand-in-hand down classic cobble stone streets, all set next to glistening waters. We all took a moment to look at this stunning spectacle and I believe that was the first moment I realized how lucky I was to be there.

I made two friends along this journey who I know I will keep for a very long time. And if for no other reason, I cannot be more grateful to have experienced this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity in La Rochelle.

By Shelby Morton


The France Experience- La Rochelle, Paris

My journey to France began in the airport where I sat impatiently awaiting the boarding call. Before I had even left I had already quickly formed new friendships and participated in discussions about our excitement about traveling half way around the world with strangers, and staying with a family who may or may not speak English.

After the long ride to La Rochelle, I was greeted by my host family with open arms. Although they did not speak great English, I was determined to communicate through my translator app on my i phone so I could at least find out snippets of who they were. Although our conversations lacked in great depth due to the language barrier, I can now call them family and it is because of them that I learned what France is really about.

School was exciting because of the teacher. Sebastien taught us differently than the little french I had already known from high school. We looked at the slang and the cliches of the french language and all about the culture that I would not have discovered if it weren’t for him. We ventured outside of the classroom into the market where he showed us the cuisine. He encouraged us to go to the music festival and taught us the life in the eyes of a true resident of La Rochelle. Although classes were long, there was never a dull moment at the University of La Rochelle.

The town was small but the people were lovely. we were acquainted with students from the university who didn’t hesitate to show us what the city had to offer. We indulged in attractions such as the aquarium and the night life. We watched world cup games around bars with friends and even got to relax on the beaches or get lost in the market. Whatever we did, there was always someone near who was willing to help. Soon after arriving, I had already forgot that I was across the scary world and in a country where I did not speak the language.

After spending 14 whole days in the city of La Rochelle, my brain was filled with the visions of french castles, islands and caubble stone roads. I had formed friendships with both the residents of the city and my fellow Centennial College classmates. I had never been to Europe let alone Europe with 17 strangers so it was terrifying. After two weeks however, I did not want to leave. I had always wanted to see Paris which was a short three hour train ride away, but I was already dreading leaving the city where I experienced real french culture. After 14 days in the life of a La Rochelle student, I packed up my bags and said goodbye to the people of La Rochelle who I hope to see again one day in my life.

Spending only one day in Paris was certainly not enough to see everything, but the main attractions were surreal. Having crepes in a cafe down the street from the Eiffel Tower was amazing. I saw Notre Dame, the Louvre, and even got to put a lock on the famous love bridge of Paris. I feel in love with the city and I promise I will go back one day.

When applying for the trip, I was baffled that Centennial College offered such amazing opportunities to their students. I am so lucky that I was chosen to be a part of a wonderful journey of a lovely European city. Not only did I learn a lot about myself, I also connected with so many different people and made friendships that will last a life time. Thank you Centennial, I am forever grateful.

Written by Kaleigh Murphy

Photo 1: The Canal in Centre ville


Photo 2: Ile de re, famous for salted caramels 🙂


Photo 3: La Loire Chateau


Photo 4: The famous port of La Rochelle France


Photo 5: Paris France


Photo 6: The Love bridge Paris


Photo 7: Horse and Carriage on our bus route to school


Photo 8: Centennial College language culture team France


La Rochelle France- Day 9

The first week in La Rochelle was amazing. Other than learning about the language in the classroom, we had the opportunity to expand our French knowledge outside of the classroom when we travelled to La Lourie to visit the castles. It was very surreal to see the tomb of Leonardo Da Vinci and try to imagine a time where kings and queens roamed the town. The chateaus of France have so much history and it was a once in a lifetime experience to visit. Now back to the classroom.

Written by Kaleigh Murphy



The LaRochelle experience

I initially wanted to join the France trip to LaRochelle for two reasons, to visit France again and to improve my French. I have been to France before when I was sixteen; however, I was only in France for four days in Paris. Also too, I used to be able to speak fluent French but when my parents pulled me out of French-immersion school I lost my ability to speak it fluently. After I visited France the first time I felt this restless need to learn the language again. Another thing that interested me about this trip is that I will get the opportunity to see a different side of France and not only just Paris (which by the way truly is the most magical and beautiful city I have ever seen).

I was really nervous to meet my new host family for the trip but when I met her at the train station, she was very warm, friendly and above all sincere. I truly adore her and whoever said French people are rude is a liar!

At the moment France is on strike so it’s difficult to get around by train (so travelling far right now is not an option for must of the LaRochelle group). The other day actually my friend and I walked past a rally and although it was loud, it was not at all violent or hectic.

Many people on the trip have complained about the food here but I personally love the simplicity yet richness of French cuisine. In France their portions are much smaller compared to Canada; so for example, a large-sized coffee here would be the size of a medium cup of coffee at Timmy’s.

At the University LaRochelle (called Sup de Co) our teacher is helping us out with translations, how to pronounce correctly and some French phrases. Today we even learned about the history of France. I really enjoy our classes and I’ve been having a lot of fun with them.

I have been loving this trip so far and my friend has been telling me that my French-speaking skills have been improving. Yesterday I was watching the FIFA game in French and I was even able to understand a bit of what the commentator was saying.

– B.Hutchinson


Centennial College GEO Experience in France – La Rochelle June 2014

The historical town of La Rochelle, inclusive of our host families and school Groupe Sup de Co (La Rochelle) welcomed all of us with an unforgettable warm embrace. The opportunity to learn the language in an environment enriched with pure French culture continues to create unforgettable memories. Whether we are mixing up all of our words or totally uttering the wrong masculine or feminine words, it has been exciting learning French; this definitely leaves me counting my blessings for the mandatory French classes that I used to botch. Before arriving in La Rochelle I could only picture the Eiffel Tower and shopping centres while thinking of France. But now I will forever remember La Rochelle for this experience as a student, made possible through the Global Cultural Exchange (GEO) opportunity by Centennial College. Besides feeling encouraged to learn the French language more fluently, I am filled with ambition that one-day I could be a competitive trilingual professional in the Canadian legal field. This trip has made me realize that you can always have the opportunity to travel as a tourist to many foreign countries but the experience while traveling as a student is comparable to none. Being a student at Centennial College has truly enriched my learning journey. But on the down side even though I am surrounded by all this fine cuisine I still miss my Amma’s spicy chicken curry.

T Thevarajah