Is a double degree twice as pleasant?
The French Riviera is known to be a hotspot for celebrities during the summer and is also home to the popular Cannes Film Festival. In Nice, you can expect Naomi Campbell to solve her problems, Leonardo DiCaprio chatting with Jack Nicholson in a cafe, or Beyonce and Jay-Z take a leisurely stroll.
Besides celebrities, Nice is home to one of the many best schools in France such as EDHEC Business School, where Charlotte Groenen from the Netherlands is doing her double degree.
“Living in Nice is amazing because the weather is always nice and because it’s on the border with Italy, you can find both excellent French and Italian cuisine,” she shares.
Below we talk to Groenen about life in France and what a double degree is:
Where does your interest in business come from?
My father owned a small local business, where I practically grew up and helped out. I first studied linguistics, focusing on the profession of translator.
Soon I learned I was missing the business aspect. This is why, after a few semesters, I decided to orient myself towards a specialization in commerce.
Explain to us how to do a double degree. Why choose France?
My baccalaureate required me to do a semester abroad. In my language studies, I studied French and developed a love for the language, the culture and the country.
I was sure I wanted to go to a French-speaking country. Maastricht University offered a double master’s degree in combination with a bachelor’s degree exchange, which suited me perfectly.
In addition, during my bachelor’s degree, I developed an interest in finance. This double degree is in finance at one of the world’s most respected universities in this field – a perfect match.
Tell us a bit about your internship experience and how you use the skills you learned in college.
I did my two internships in asset management. All of my finance knowledge acquired at uni helped me understand the products, better understand the news of current world events and how this might relate to the performance of finance in a macroeconomic environment.
What advice would you give to international students wishing to do a double degree?
Make sure you want to work in the field where you want to do your master’s degree. This makes it easier to stay motivated.
In addition, a double degree certainly becomes much more interesting if it is in two different countries. My opinion is this: it’s a good idea and one of the best choices I have ever made.
What do you like most about France?
The food and the weather. Living in Nice is amazing because the weather is always nice and because it is on the border with Italy, you can find excellent French and Italian cuisine.
What have been your most memorable non-academic experiences in France so far?
The reopening of all restaurants after COVID-19 at the end of May of this year. There were musicians everywhere and the whole town took to the streets to enjoy life again.
Had an amazing lunch right after everything opened and then went to have a few beers on a patio. Take advantage of the reopening.
Have you explored the area? Which place really stood out to you?
I really enjoyed visiting the mountains near Nice. It’s less than an hour to be in the middle of the Alps. From the town beach you can see the snow on top of the mountains – crazy.
How is the local food compared to the house? Tell us what you like the most and the least.
The food here is much better. Dutch cuisine is not very developed while in France, cooking is like an art. I particularly like all the seafood dishes in Nice. The only thing I liked a little less was the local “socca” (a pancake with peas) which I found a bit dry.
Is it difficult for a foreigner to order food or strike up a conversation with the locals?
Definitely not. However, it is a big plus if you speak French as a lot of people don’t feel comfortable speaking English. The French are very proud of their country and are always ready to recommend local wines or restaurants.
What cultural sites have you explored?
I have visited almost all the interesting villages on the French Riviera and learned that each village is beautiful in its own way. Also, I realized that I wanted to come back someday to live permanently.
What about your hometown. Share a little with us.
I am from Nijmegen in the Netherlands on the German border. It’s not big but not small either. We have a university there, so it’s thriving with the students. I would probably take you to have a beer with other students by the river and enjoy the nature which is very close to the city center.
What are you missing at home and how do you replace it?
The only thing I miss is the Dutch snack bars. Dutch fries are the best but I’m temporarily replacing them with McDonald’s and pizza. However, I know my first stop when I get home will be a snack bar to get a “kroket” (mashed potatoes filled with ground chicken or stew).
Finally, can you share three fun facts about yourself:
I’ve worked as a security guard at festivals (although I’m really not that good), I really like learning new languages (mainly the grammar side) and I’m afraid of frogs.