Intern Abroad

Kategorie: ‘France’

Working at a hospital in Montpellier

January 17th, 2024 | by
  • Medicine
  • France, Montpellier
  • Université de Montpellier
  • 09/2023 – 12/2023
  1. Application/Finding an internship

Having grown up in France, I had known for a long time I wanted to experience the French healthcare system first-hand. I wanted to find a hospital with a pediatric surgery department, since this was a speciality I was interested in finding out more about and which is not available in Aachen. Since the RWTH medical faculty recommends we spend half of the four-month surgical rotation in general surgery, I applied for two months in ‘chirurgie digestive’ at St Éloi hospital and two months in ‘chirurgie pédiatrique orthopédique et plastique’ at Lapeyronie hospital, which are both part of the CHU de Montpellier (Montpellier University Hospital). I chose Montpellier because of its good reviews on PJ Ranking and because I thought it would be nice to spend the winter in a warmer part of Europe.

© Olivia Constanze Peel

To apply for a placement (‘stage’) in at the University of Montpellier, you first must contact the head of the relevant department (‘chef de service’) directly sending your CV and cover letter. I did this about a year and a half beforehand, although I know others applied at a much later date. Since there is a considerable amount of paperwork to sort out, I recommend applying far enough in advance. If your application is accepted, you then send the ‘chef de service’ the so-called ‘formulaire unique’ which can be found on the university’s website. Once signed, you send the document to the person responsible for international relations at the University of Montpellier. He then informs you of the next steps to take.

  1. Accomodation & Living expenses

I found my accommodation privately after going through all the websites (e.g.,,,,, etc.) the person responsible for international relations

sent me by email. University accommodation (‘résidence universitaire’ or ‘logement CROUS’) should be available if you express interest early enough. This is much cheaper than private accommodation, which is difficult to find for under 500 euros per month.

© Olivia Constanze Peel 

ESN (Erasmus Student Network) has helpful housing advice and information on their Instagram page on how to plan ahead and avoid scams.

Living expenses are similar to those in Germany, although I would say food shopping was more expensive. I chose to buy a second-hand bike to be more flexible, and because it was a cheaper option than to use public transport. I travelled between Aachen and Montpellier in September and December by train, which only takes between 6.5 and 7.5 hours depending on the connection in Paris.

  1. Everyday life/ the internship

I spent September and October at St Éloi hospital in general surgery, and November and December at Lapeyronie hospital in pediatric surgery. The day started at 8:00 and 7:45 in general and pediatric surgery respectively and ended on average between 4 and 5pm. In general surgery there was a ‘staff’ (handover meeting) every Monday at 8am. In pediatric surgery there was a daily meeting at 7:45 with the pediatric orthopedic surgeons and every Monday at 16:30 with the pediatric plastic surgeons (speech therapists, a psychologist and members of the dental and maxillofacial departments were also present to discuss patients as a team) and the meeting often included teaching for students. I sometimes worked longer hours depending on the operating plan.

In both rotations students (‘externes’) could assist in the operating theatre, follow the junior doctors (‘internes’) on ward rounds or take part in consultations. Students were asked to organise a rotation plan each week to ensure there was a least one student per operating theatre. If you showed enough interest, you were often able to do the sutures at the end of an operation,and even carry out small procedures under supervision.

There was also the opportunity to follow the on-call doctor as part of their 24-hour shift. This involved seeing patients in A&E (‘aux urgences’), assisting in emergency operations, and in pediatric orthopedic surgery learning how to do plaster casts. I particularly enjoyed my second placement working with children and the variety of cases and surgeries I saw. These included various fractures, craniosynostoses, haemangiomas, cleft palates, dermal naevi, syndactyly, hexadactyly, clubfeet, hip dysplasia etc. Like the French ‘externes’ we were able to have lunch for free at the ‘internat’ (a separate building where some junior doctors lived, most doctors had lunch and lots of coffee was consumed when there was time to rush over between two operations). I really enjoyed the variety of the work and was lucky to work with great teams in both hospitals, which was a massive bonus.

  1. Free time/tips

There is so much to do in Montpellier, and the Erasmus community is huge. Since I spent most of my free time training with a local triathlon club I cannot say much from experience, but I know from the daily (at times hundreds of) messages in the Erasmus WhatsApp group (they had to create a second one because there were so many international students!) that there was a wide variety of events organised for students including pub nights, sports events, volunteering opportunities, cookery classes etc. On their Instagram page they publish a calendar every month with events pretty much every day, some of which are free. If you buy an ESN card, you can get some of the events at a discount. The card also gives

© Olivia Constanze Peel

you discounts for sport, food, bars and travel (e.g., Ryanair and Flixbus).

As of 21st December 2023, public transport was made free for residents in Montpellier (you have to apply for a card with TaM and justify residency). However, I would recommend buying a second-hand bike either through the ESN Facebook or WhatsApp group, or on and selling it when you leave. Investing in two locks is a good idea since there is a lot of bike theft in Montpellier (it is quite common to see bikes around town missing various parts). I never used the tram, but they always seemed very full even before public transport was made free.

© Olivia Constanze Peel

Most of my free time was spent training with a triathlon club I had contacted before arriving. I went swimming most mornings before work, took part in running training a couple of times a week in the evenings and at the weekend there were always club rides organised. I personally really enjoyed cycling with the group and discovering the countryside and villages north and east of Montpellier. I would recommend visiting the Pic St Loup – if you can’t cycle there then I think the ESN group organised a day trip there for a hike. The views are amazing! Another ride I really enjoyed was to the Col des Lavagnes and the Pont du Diable.

At the beginning of September there was an event called ‘Antigone des Associations’ in the Antigone neighbourhood where all sorts of different clubs and societies were on site representing their organisation and to answer questions. These included sports, culture, philosophy and religion, health, education, dancing, animal welfare, the environment and much more. I went with a friend I met on my placement, and we both thought there was basically a club/society for almost everything you could think of doing in your spare time!

  1. Conclusion

I would absolutely recommend Montpellier University Hospital for an Erasmus internship. As well as gaining practical skills in surgery, I learnt a lot hearing from doctors’ experiences in different medical specialties and countries, which made me reflect on which path I wish to pursue and consider certain aspects of my future career differently. Being confident and a having a good level in French is an advantage to manage the fast-paced day in surgery, to fit in with the team and to take away as much as possible from the experience.

Internship in Paris

November 8th, 2023 | by
  • Architecture B.Sc.
  • France, Paris
  • LAN Architecture
  • 04/2023 – 10/2023

After finishing my bachelor’s degree in Aachen, I planned to do an internship in an architecture firm in Paris.

© Anthony Feghali

Reworking my portfolio was time-consuming because I had to translate all the texts into French. I would recommend anyone who has to submit similar application documents to plan enough time for this.
The internship search turned out to be relatively relaxed at first, as I received feedback quickly and didn’t have
to send out too many applications overall.
I had 2 interviews that were promising. What was particularly exciting was that I hadn’t spoken French for
a long time, especially I didn’t know business French. So I spent the week before the interviews talking to
myself, in everyday life to warm up again.
The two offices I liked gave me more or less a commitment in the interview, I just had to get back to them
and confirm. With this information in mind, I decided to opt for one of the offices and wrote to them, but
they replied that they didn’t have the capacity for it at the moment. The second office I wrote to did not
answer me for quite some time, while the time was getting closer and I had to look for flats.

I took a month to look for a flat. It’s difficult to plan longer in advance as most listings are uploaded quite
spontaneously. My cousin living in Paris helped me to find out which neighbourhoods are preferable and
what prices are reasonable. In a city like Paris, there are a lot of flat ads but also a lot of scams, so you
should be especially careful. After I had been looking on the usual platforms for a while, I searched for
ads in Paris on ‘ WG-gesucht’, a German flat platform, and actually found something. German tenants in
Paris often advertise there for possible new tenants. So I finally came across a very nice couple in their

© Anthony Feghali

40s. They both work either in the theatre or in the film sector and therefore know a bit about the cultural
scene in Paris.
My room was about 12 square metres in a 55 square metre flat, which was relatively spacious by Parisian
standards. With a rent of 760€ per month, I was around the upper average. The flat was in the 19th
arrondissement, inside the ring road near the Parc de La Vilette, Paris’ largest park. This neighbourhood
is very well connected and, with its location by the canal and between two large parks, is in a not so
densely built-up area, which is very nice for walking or jogging. It took me no more than 20 minutes by
bike to get to work, and I could ride along the canal.

My employment at LAN Architects lasted 6 months. This office consists of about 25 employees aged
20-40.When I arrived and for the first few weeks I was shocked. There seemed to be a strict and tense
atmosphere in the air. My colleagues were very much among themselves and it was relatively difficult to
get access to them.
The office was largely made up of Italians, as the boss is Italian, which unfortunately often resulted in

© Anthony Feghali

groupings and conversations in Italian that were hard to follow. I was also not used to their working
hours. A normal day started at 10 a.m. and ended between 7 and 7:30 p.m., sometimes longer or shorter.
Although everyone had a contractual working time of 35 hours a week, they worked overtime every day,
which was rarely recovered. As a trainee, I tried to stick a bit more to the 35 hours, but this didn’t always
work, especially in the beginning. So for the future, I would recommend that aspiring interns clarify the
working hours in advance or any arrangements for overtime. What I had difficulties with in my day-to-day
work were the long hours at my desk. From my studies, I was used to taking my breaks in such a way
that I always had something to move around, but in the office this was not so common.
Gradually, relationships in the office became more relaxed and I began to integrate myself more and
more. This was helped by the office parties that were organised when staff left. Unfortunately, there was a
high fluctuation of staff, as the working environment was not easy, especially with the two bosses. I later
learned that the office is known among architects for having a high work pressure with strict bosses.
So we often went out for a drink after work or did something with some colleagues at the weekend.
Unfortunately, the best time I had with my colleagues was at the end of the internship when it was time to
leave. But that’s probably how it is when you’re there for a short time. The office was planned and built by
the managers. It had a perfect location in the 11th arrondissement on the top two floors with a roof
terrace, so you could eat lunch with a beautiful view over the Parisian mansard roofs.

Since France, unlike other countries, has national regulations for internships, and these can only be
completed as school internships, the pay is also lower than in neighbouring countries. My salary was

© Anthony Feghali

around 550 € per month. With the Erasmus grant, which was about the same, I had 1100 a month at my
disposal, as my parents paid for my room. I got by on 800 euros a month. The cost of living in Paris is
very high.
This applies to supermarket shopping, restaurants, bars and snack bars. For example, a pint of beer
costs around 8 euros in a traditional pub, and 10 euros in a restaurant. So you couldn’t always afford to
go out for a drink, or you knew the special low-priced bars.
During the working day, I also tried to cook for the week, but that didn’t work for all days, because after
the late end of the working day, you also wanted to have time for leisure and not have to cook again
immediately. But since eating out often cost just as much as eating out in the supermarket, it was worth it
if I was unable to cook. It must also be said that half of the French capital consists of great restaurants
and brasseries that are part of Parisian culture.
One reason that brought me to Paris was the city’s cultural heritage and offerings. I often spent my free
time in the beautiful museums or libraries of Paris or at events such as concerts, jazz evenings or with
friends in the cafés of Paris. I tried to explore a new place or visit a new museum every week. However, I
can say that I only saw a fraction of the city, as it is so rich in things to do and beautiful places to see. At
the same time, you like to revisit places you already like. So it’s a balance act between discovery and

© Anthony Feghali

I would recommend to anyone who is there for a longer period of time not to use the metro and instead
take the bike, and every now and then after work or on weekends try different routes and see where it
takes you. It’s guaranteed that if you keep your eyes open curiously, all sorts of different scenes will
reveal themselves.

I could probably write pages and pages about the city, and about my time here, because the experience
here is very varied. It wasn’t just enthusiasm, but varied from fascination to frustration about the cramped
living conditions, the density or the hustle and bustle of this city. This is probably also part of the Paris
experience. I can recommend a stay here to anyone who speaks some French and is interested in
culture, cities or people. I learned and understood a lot about myself in the confrontation with this way of
life here. Even though I know that I don’t want to live here forever, this time was very special and I would
repeat it.

Research stay in Marseille

October 20th, 2023 | by
  • Chemistry M.Sc
  • France, Marseille
  • Aix-Marseille Université
  • 06/2023 – 09/2023

The possibilities for doing an internship abroad are endless. This made it difficult for me to decide, so I had to narrow down my choices. Thanks to my professor, I got in touch with iSM2 at the University of Aix Marseille in France.  It was a dream for me to live by the sea for once in my life and improve the French I

Climbing in Calanque de Sormiou
© Eveline Jagla

learned in school. I emailed my contact person at iSM2 and she was happy about my interest and offered me an internship right away.

I found my accommodation through the website “La Carte des Coloc”. For a room of about 14 m^2 in an 80 m^2 apartment with 4 bedrooms I paid about 530 € per month. The start was difficult because there was no wifi and no electricity when I arrived. We had no electricity for 3 days and I had to sign a contract with EDF myself. Luckily my contact person at iSM2 helped me with a 30 minute phone call and we had electricity. But the tale of woe with this apartment and the agency “Colivers” would not fit into this report. Short conclusion: I do not recommend “Colivers” to others…. The apartment was located in Castellane, a very good area to live. From Castellane there are two metro lines, one of the three streetcars, many buses going to Cassis, La Ciotat and Marseille beaches and 15 minutes walk to the city center “Vieux Port”. A lot of restaurants are also nearby: McDonalds, Burger King, Vapiano, Go Ramen (5/5!), Shuriken Sushi (5/5!), … The boulangerie is also across the street and open 24 hours. To buy food, there are the supermarkets: Monoprix (super expensive), Franprix (close, small and expensive), Carrefour and Lidl (further away, 10 minutes walk). Compared to Germany, food is more expensive: in the supermarket and in the restaurants. In a bar, beer costs 6-8 € (50 cl) and long drinks for the same price. For a meal in a restaurant you pay between 15 € (cheap) and 23 €. The younger people go to Cours Julien and La pleine. Here there are many bars and restaurants at a cheaper price.

A lab day was always between 9/10 and 17/18. I took the metro and then the bus, which took about 30 minutes. Unlike in Germany, the entrance to the university is guarded.

My Bedroom
© Eveline Jagla

The PhD student I was allowed to work with introduced me to her research and soon I was working independently. I was working on the catalysis of the degradation of cellobiose with LMPO-like catalysts. In a short time, I collected a lot of data using UV-Vis spectroscopy, fluorescence spectroscopy and HPLC. During the group meeting on Friday, I presented my results. The group was mixed with French, Indians, Brazilians, Spanish, Americans and probably more, everyone is welcome, and I felt very comfortable. Since I was there in the summer, the lab was pretty empty, and so was the campus. Everyone was fleeing the heat. I was able to try touch rugby on campus during a couple of practice sessions. It was a lot of fun, and I was sad that the practice was discontinued during the hot summer months. For lunch, you could bring something and eat with the others in the break room, or you could go there while the cafeteria was still open.

In my free time I spent a lot of time at the beach. My favorite places in Marseille are Vallon des Auffres, Prado (very beautiful sunset and many different beaches), Maldormé and Plage Catalans is nice because it was only 15 minutes from my apartment. I spent a lot of time in the Calanques, especially in the Calanques of Cassis. And there, the Calanque Port Pin is my favorite place. Once you reach the beach, you hike and climb a bit on the right side and then you reach a rock where you can lie down. The calanques of the Côte Bleue are also very beautiful. There my favorite place in La Redonne is

Calanque des Anthénors in La Redonne
© Eveline Jagla

the port and the Calanque des Anthénors. To visit this place you can use the TER and with the Pass Côte Bleue you only pay 5 or 6 € and you can take the train all day. Many people also like Niolon, but I haven’t managed to go there yet, but I will on my next visit. Since I am very interested in sports, I tried climbing for the first time. I did it three times in the Calanques and I also bouldered in Arkose. It was so much fun and it is definitely a sport that I will continue to do in Germany. With Monde Vertical I discovered the Calanque of Sormiou and the one in Cap Canaille. The view of the different types of rocks and the sea was fantastic!

Since I was in a shared apartment, it was easier to make friends. But I also met some people through Bumble and the Erasmus Student Network (ESN). Unfortunately, the ESN didn’t offer any activities during the summer. But Marseille is so friendly and open that it’s easy to make friends even when walking around the city alone. I was also allowed to invite four different visitors so that we could explore the city together. I also had the opportunity to travel a bit. With a friend we went to Nice and Gordes du Verdon. Gordes du Verdon was fantastic and the Aqua rando where you float through the gorge was a lot of fun with an amazing view. Nice was a nice smaller town, but you could feel the different atmosphere. People were more well dressed and seemed more arrogant. We never had any really friendly service in the restaurants…. After our trip, we were very happy to return to Marseille. That’s what I love about Marseille. You can be who you want to be, and people don’t judge you. Some other tips in Marseille are: Bouillabaisse TURFU for a delicious

Calanque de Port Pin in Cassis
© Eveline Jagla

and small portion of bouillabaisse, Flashback at Vieux Port for a drink, co-working, lunch…, Green Meal for vegan and vegetarian food, Friche la Belle Mai as a nice event location, generally the metro card “la carte”, a visit to Cassis: a very cute little town, L’Art Haché: a hidden bar at La Pleine with jazz music (when we were there) and they only accept cash.

Feedback: Before I came to Marseille, I seemed very happy in Germany and didn’t want to leave. In the first weeks I could not imagine life in Marseille. Compared to Germany, it is very chaotic and disorganized, rules have less importance, and it is very dirty (the city has a big garbage problem…). But once I got used to the city and the lifestyle, I started to love it. I had a fresh start and could be who I wanted to be. I made some friends and the scenery with the Calanques is just amazing! I was very sad to leave Marseille and the lab, even though I didn’t quite like the topic in the internship. I gained a lot of valuable experience, and I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to be in Marseille and in the iSM2 lab! I am very sad to leave and if a new opportunity to come back to Marseille arises, I will be very happy.

Making magical memories in Paris

October 13th, 2023 | by
  • Medicine
  • France, Paris
  • Sorbonne Université
  • 07/2023 – 09/2023

Application/Finding an internship.

For quite a long time I dreamed of going to Paris for working and living there. That`s why I decided to spend 2 months in this beautiful city during the practical year in my medical studies. Once my intention was clear I started looking for contact persons being responsible for international affairs at my preferred university, the Sorbonne. After several email exchanges with the head of the international office at the medical faculty, I received a list with free spots left for my preferred period. Fortunately, I sent my application early enough (nearly one year in advance), so a few free places were still available; I hereby confirm applying as soon as possible because even one year in advance, places were limited and already reserved for French students. In the following, I had to upload my application with all the necessary documents (including CV, proof of language, Health insurance, Letter of motivation, Erasmus-Learning Agreement) on a Sorbonne interne platform to complete my application. I also applied at the medical service directly (even when the head of the international office will manage this for you) to get sure of having tried my best for realising my dream.

Accommodation & Living expenses.

Living in Paris is quite expensive. As all the big cities in the world, cheap apartments near to the city centre are rare and the housing market is hardly disputed. Personally, I was quite lucky because I knew another Erasmus-student who was looking for the next tenant. What I can really recommend for finding an accommodation is to participate in a preparing course of “Campus France Deutschland”. There you will get plenty of tips on which platforms you can find a room for your stay for example “La carte des collocs”, “leboncoin” or “A partager”. For the monthly rent the average price in Paris should be estimated with 700-1000 Euro. If you are lucky enough to get a place in a student housing, like “The Crous”, the rent will be lower, but places are hard to get, and you have to apply early in advance.

Paris is divided into different districts. I have lived in a multicultural area near to the train station “Gare du Nord” not far away from famous Montmartre, known for its artistic history and the well-known church Sacré-Coeur. Even when this area is renowned for many conflicts in the past due to poverty issues and immigration conflicts, I really appreciated living in this area during my stay because it gave me the possibility to get an authentic insight how it feels to live in Paris not as a tourist but as an inhabitant. Besides, there are many charming restaurants in the streets around the hill of Montmartre and street life is always vibrant. Compared to Germany, food prices are much higher in the supermarkets. For vegetables and fruit, the cheapest way is to go to the local market which takes place on Wednesdays and Saturdays just near to the metro station Barbes-Rochechouart.

Everyday life/ the internship

During my internship I worked at the university hospital Saint Antoine in the 12th arrondissement, near to “Place de la Nation”. To get there I took the metro, the Parisian subway, which is quite the easiest way to move around the city. Sometimes I went by bike which was also a wonderful experience. I really enjoyed cycling the big boulevards and nearly everywhere you can find spots to rent a bike, I truly recommend discovering Paris by this. In the hospital, medical students so called “externs”, work under the supervision of “interns”, who have already finished their studies. Thanks to the system that every student is guided by a certain medical staff member, there is always an experienced person which you can ask for help. My daily tasks included the anamnesis and physical examination of patients, including the medical documentation of each patient concerning their progress of disease and therapy. Two times per week there were assemblies where the disease history of every patient was discussed with all doctors of the service. Normally medical teachings for students were planned for Friday mornings but not during summer. In general, my working day started at 9 in the morning and ended in the afternoon. All in all, I got the impression that patients were treated in detail and that the medical staff invested a lot of time for personal contact.

Free time/tips

Paris as a city has so much to offer: Whether museums, parks, bars and restaurants – there is something for everyone. Since I had already been to this wonderful city several times before my Erasmus stay, I was able to focus on a Paris off the beaten path during these 2 months.   4 days after my arrival, one of the biggest events of the summer was on the agenda: “La fête nationale”, the French National Day. In addition to the morning parade over the Champs-Elysées, where President Emmanuel Macron was received like a pop star, the Eiffel Tower shone in full colour on the “Champs de Mars” in the evening. With such an impressive firework, which is unparalleled, one can get an idea of the pride with which the French revere their country. And they are right! When thinking of France, everyone immediately conjures up images of fragrant croissants, picturesque cafés and a good glass of wine – if a country had invented pleasure, the French would be right at the forefront. Paris itself has so many boulangeries and delicacies to offer- probably a whole year would not be enough to test all of them. Since I lived in Montmartre district, I went on a culinary discovery tour especially there, what I can recommend to everyone. In the small streets not far away from the church “Sacré Coeur”, your own taste buds are sent on a world tour: Whether it’s a typical local flan, oriental couscous from Morocco or Argentinian empanadas – the 18th arrondissement lives cultural diversity on all levels. In case you feel homesick, you should order a portion of potato salad with Wiener Schnitzel including wheat beer fresh from the tap at the beer garden of the “Kiez Kanal, a lovely place near to the “Bassin de la Vilette” . In addition to culinary variety, Paris also offers an immense wealth of mental nourishment: from classics such as the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower or the Champs-Elysees to lesser-known leisure activities such as a walk along the disused railroad line “Petite Ceinture” or a visit to the impro theatre “Theatre de la Gaite” at Montparnasse district – boredom is a foreign word in Paris! On the other hand, if you feel more like nature and relaxation after the hustle and bustle of the crowds, you will find plenty of green spaces in numerous parks, such as the “Buttes Chaumont” or “Bois de Vincennes”, to unwind.


Describing Paris in a few words remains impossible. This city simply has so much to offer that even the Parisians admit discovering new facets each day again and again. For me, it has always been a dream to live in Paris one day and to be able to immerse myself in everyday life. After these 2 months I am incredibly grateful to have made this experience. I’m taking with me a suitcase full of magical memories back to Germany; impressions of a city whose charming atmosphere is always worth a trip. I was able to learn a lot, both professionally and personally, and I am firmly convinced that I can make use of the skills I learned here in the future. To anyone who has good command of the French language (or is willing to learn it), without exception, I would immediately recommend doing an internship abroad in this wonderful city, it is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that may not return anytime soon! Or as Audrey Hepburn put it: Paris is always a good idea!

Working in a hosptial in Saint-Pierre – La Réunion

August 4th, 2023 | by
  • Medicine
  • France, St. Pierre
  • Centre hospitalier universitaire la Reunion
  • 03/2023 – 07/2023

I applied about a year in advance through the e-mail address The application required a CV, a letter of motivation and the certificate of matriculation. Compared to Martinique and Guadeloupe, you get a pretty reliable answer when applying for la Réunion. At first, I only received a confirmation that the application had arrived, and even with more inquiries, I did not receive the final acceptance until the beginning of December. Therefore, perseverance and patience are required. However, the lady in charge, answered all my questions very quickly and reliably. After the acceptance, I still had to send some documents such as a copy of my passport, liability insurance and vaccination certificates. Overall, I found the application process somewhat lengthy but uncomplicated.

© Jana Mattes

Accommodation and living costs
I started looking about 1-2 months in advance. The French and also the Reunionese are still very active on Facebook, which is why I joined various Facebook groups (just enter Colocation Saint-Pierre/ Coloc Réunion or similar on Facebook). Furthermore I searched on Airbnb and leboncoin. Leboncoin is more or less the French Ebay. In the end, I found a small one-bedroom apartment near the central bus station on leboncoin. I also bought a bicycle through leboncoin, which I also highly recommend for the way to the hospital, as traffic is really annoying on the island. The apartment was quite expensive (800 euros/month) and since I got to know two other German students over time, I moved in with both of them after two months. Here it is worth asking around in the hospital if there are doctors who travel for a while and unrent their house. We were lucky and lived the last two months in a large house with a pool 5 minutes walk from the hospital (400 euros/person).
Also, if you want to do something on the weekends, it is worth renting a car. Five of us shared a car for 450 euros a month. There are buses, but these often do not go to the starting points of the hikes and you are much more flexible with the car.
Otherwise, I have found the cost of living is not much more expensive than in Europe. You can get fresh fruit and vegetables very cheaply at the weekly market and free lunch at the hospital.

The internship
My workday began at 8 a.m. in the visceral surgery department. At first, no one really felt responsible for me. A nurse got me work clothes and then I went along on rounds. The rounds were generally kept very short and there was no teaching. After that, I was always sent to the operating room. Since there was only one resident at the time I was there, I was often the first resident in the operating room. Here, questions were always answered nicely and the atmosphere in surgery was very relaxed and less hierarchical compared to Germany. Once or twice I was also allowed to help with suturing, but in Reunion, unlike in Germany, this is often done by the senior physicians themselves.
At noon, I almost always had lunch with the other erasmus-students and since the doctors work relatively long every day (until 18/19h) and do not send you home, I went home at some point usually around 3 or 4 pm.
After 6 weeks in the visceral surgery I changed the department, because I also wanted to see other departments. This was possible without any problems. I then spent 2 weeks in the emergency room. Here I was able to work very independently, examining patients, suturing and writing reports.

© Jana Mattes

The last weeks I was in the orthopedics department together with 3 other erasmus students. Here I often switched between the outpatient clinic and the operating room, the doctors here were really nice and the medical standard was quite high.
Overall, you have to have a high level of personal commitment and show a lot of initiative to learn something, but if they notice that you are interested, it is quite possible to learn a lot. You can also arrange the working hours as you like. The doctors are overall very relaxed and nice, but they don’t really know what to do with foreign students. In addition, they don’t pay much attention to possible language barriers, which is why I only recommend an internship there if you speak a sufficiently high level of french.

Free time
Reunion is an really beautiful island in terms of leisure! For anyone who loves hiking, climbing, nature and outdoor activities, the island will be a paradise. We spent most weekends backpacking and camping in the mountains. Must-dos are of course the volcano, Piton de Neige and Mafate. During the week, we often went to the beach bar on the small beach of Terre Sainte in the evenings. On Sunday evenings there are always free live concerts in Saint Leu, which are worth a visit.

© Jana Mattes

There are always many new people on the island who only stay for 1-2 years, so it is quite easy to meet new people. Also in the hospital we were a group of one Spanish, three Germans and three Swiss. French students were few, because in la Réunion you have to continue studying on the mainland after the 6th semester.
Overall, of course, it was very hot and humid in the first months (March, April), then it cools down considerably in the winter.


Overall, I can recommend a stay on la Réunion to anyone who likes nature and mountains. The landscape there is simply insanely diverse and beautiful. In the hospital you have to be very proactive and stay quite long in the evening if you want to learn something. Otherwise, you can be very flexible with your working time and also take a day off if you want.

Writing my Master’s thesis in Paris

June 20th, 2023 | by
  • Business Administration and Engineering: Mechanical Engineering M.Sc.
  • France, Paris
  • Neoen SA
  • 10/2022 – 03/2023

I had the opportunity to write my external Master’s thesis at Neoen in Paris and had a very positive experience. I generally recommend gaining experience in a company, whether in your home country or abroad, just before the end of your studies, as it helped you better understand the sector and learn a lot. Neoen SA is a French company that operates in the renewable energy sector and was founded in 2008. The company is involved in the development, construction, and operation of wind, solar, and energy storage projects and is headquartered in Paris. With over 6 GW of renewable energy projects worldwide and a strong focus on sustainability and innovation, Neoen is a key player in the renewable energy sector.

© Marie-Sophie Braun

It was much easier than I expected to find a PhD-student willing to be my responsible party from university side to supervise the thesis. None-the-less it remains a lot of extra work in terms of organization and also identification of a topic that will meet all the needs. Also, you do have to acknowledge that at some points, you will have to help out with non-thesis related tasks at the company: It will be a strong learning opportunity, but requires a lot of self-organization, especially in a foreign country.

The experience of living in France was particularly emotional for me because of a close connection to France from my childhood and family bounds. I thoroughly enjoyed the purely French environment and appreciated being able to speak the language in a work context. I do emphasize that a solid language level is a prerequisite for most of the French work environments. Even if the official language in companies could be English, I guess you could be the odd-one-out if you are the only person in the company not speaking the countries language and while it would be a problem for work-related topics, it might be difficult for a chat at the coffee machine.

© Marie-Sophie Braun

The parisian work environment is very chic and neat. Jeans or sneaker were not seen. Guys weren’t allowed to wear polo’s at work and this will go without saying. Good clothing and good food are important in France in gereneral, I assume: This includes long breaks for lunch and an additional espresso after the meal. Even though, people are very chic, everyone was very friendly and open-minded.

© Marie-Sophie Braun

I lived in Batignolles, in the 17th arrondissement and fell in love with the part of the city. It is a very nice, safe and friendly neigboorhood. Additionnally, I was able to get everywhere quickly by bike, which is the best means of transportation in Paris. I also recommend cultural centers (tiers lieux) and state museums, which are free for people under 26.The night life in Paris is very dense and differentiated. Depending on where you go it will be different. Less touristic parts of the city can be found for example in the 11th or 12th arrondissement and also, you should watch the sunset from the top of the parc de Belleville there. People more often meet outside then inside because appartments are small and the French terrasse-culture is very strong. In all seasons, you will find people outside and in a good mood.

In conclusion, I strongly recommend to anyone who speaks good French the opportunity to write their Master’s thesis in Paris. I had only had the best emotions. Although Paris is not a cheap city, I was able to pay the rent with the company’s expense allowance and overall had a very positive experience.

Medical internship in Lyon

June 6th, 2023 | by
  • Medicine
  • France, Lyon
  • Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1 – Hôpital Edouard Herriot
  • 10/2022 – 02/2023


Around 6 – 7 months in advance I started applying at university hospitals in France that had a partnership with my university in Aachen. As soon as I got the approval for a 4-month-internship at the University Claude Bernard Lyon 1 I applied for the Erasmus + traineeship programme with the support of the international office at my hometown university. Within a few weeks everything was set and I only had to take care of the needed insurances for the internship and started looking for accomodation in Lyon.

© Semiha Apaydin


First of, housing in Lyon can be very frustrating. For my part I ended up doing a sort of flat-hopping. I had already heard a lot about the difficulties of finding housing in Lyon. Since I had a student status I could apply for student housing offered by the Crous but ended up not getting a spot. Therefore, I tried several months ahead to find a room in a shared flat on websites (, that people recommended in blogs. In the end I decided to text people who posted into Facebook groups about sub-letting their rooms for 1-2 months and finally ended up living in three differents apartments during my four months. This might sound very exhausting but it actually made my stay and experience very special as I got to live with different people in different parts of the city and made a lot of friends in an unique way.


To go to my internship and almost everywhere else in the city by metro (or bus) I had a public transport card from TCL which costs 25 Euros/month for students. Additionally, I subscribed to Velo’v bikes which were really useful when staying out late or just having an afternoon stroll along the river. Bike stops can be found everywhere in and around the city and the subscription costs 15 Euros/year.

Daily life:

As one of the biggest French cities, Lyon has a lot to offer without being too big or chaotic. Everything can be reached with the metro in less than 30 minutes and there are always events around the city. Especially if you are interested in going to museums, the cinema or the theatre, I can highly recommend the Carte Culturel for about 18 Euros which offers free or at least discounted entry fees.

© Semiha Apaydin

© Semiha Apaydin

On warm days everyone is meeting up at one of the two rivers or in the Parc de la Tête d’Or which was also one of my favourite spots in the city. A common thing to do after work or just with friends are Apéros which are usually just a little get-together in a bar for example. It is mostly before dinner and includes drinks and snacks.

Every day life including grocery shopping, going out for drinks or a restaurant were generally a more expensive than in Aachen. Concerning payments I always paid with my German Debit or Visa Card and barely needed cash. Also, I kept using my German mobile phone number and contract.

Additionally, it is very easy to travel around Lyon as Paris, Annecy, Nice and a lot of other pretty cities are easy to reach by train or BlaBlaCar (long-distance carpooling application) which is very popular in France.


During my first six weeks I was in Internal Medicine. As we were only two externs (students are called externs at the hospital while residents are called interns) there was a lot to do for us. I mostly covered administrative tasks including phone calls and and preparing patient files but was also responsible for being the first one who examines newly administered patients on the unite. In the beginning I was a bit overwhelmed especially when having to do phone calls. On the other side, this helped me a lot to understand the language and speak freely in a short amount of time.

© Semiha Apaydin

I spent the followoing six weeks in Digestive Surgery. This internship was rather observatory. The interns explained a lot but I did not feel like being a great help to them as there were almost no tasks for us students. Every thursaday, the department organised a teaching session with the students and one of the doctors. Each week two students had to present a patient’s case which was then discussed.

During my last six weeks I was assigned to the department of Dermatology. Dermatology at HEH consisted mainly of accompanying a residents for the planned or emergency consultations. Every student was assigned to resident. One of my tasks was to carry out skin biopsies, this way I additinally got to work on my suturing skills.


Even though I struggled a lot finding an apartment in the beginning, everything else was so easy going and made me love my stay in Lyon a lot. Lyon offers everything one could search for especially regarding cultural activities while yet not being over-crowded. Especially with it’s two rivers paired with the French enthusiasm to go out, especially after work, the city has an inviting charme that inspires for deceleration.

Incredible experiences in Paris

June 6th, 2023 | by
  • Computational Engineering Science B.Sc.
  • France, Paris
  • Wiremind
  • 10/2022 – 03/2023

Application/ finding an internship

Since I went to Paris in august 2021 for two exchange semesters at a university, I decided that I’d like to stay longer. The resulting conclusion for me was therefore to search an internship in Paris. I’m currently enrolled in a Bachelor of Computational Engineering Science. For this cursus it is mandatory to make an internship that lasts at least three months at the end of our studies.

Luckily, I already collected some recommendations for the application process in France during my time at the university over there. I sent two applications to start ups in Paris. The application process for the two positions included first an online test and afterwards a personal meeting where I introduced myself and presented what I’ve coded in the exercises before.

To search for open job positions I can highly recommend having a look at This platform is used by startups as well as larger, classical companies (e.g., L’Oréal). The company where I made an internship as “Junior Full Stack Software Engineering Intern” is called wiremind. They offer optimization solutions in the context of transportation.

Concerning the language, I can highly recommend having already basic knowledge in French before the internship. During my internship I met some people who are not speaking French neither are willing to learn it. Not speaking French is in general not a real problem in the background of business questions, but it is difficult to integrate in the French culture and find friends (that are French) if you don’t know their language. Besides of this, no French person is going to judge if you try to speak French, but you are not yet fluent. I met a lot of people who had German in school and they where always impressed by French, because they compare it to their knowledge of German.

Accomodation and living expanses

Paris is a very expansive city. During my internship I earned 1500€ of salary (brut). It is common in France that the employer pays the half of the transportation per month. Another particularity of working in France is that they hand out restaurant checks to the employees. In general, the company pay for 20 days 5€ per day and they subtract directly 5€ from the employee’s salary and add it to those restaurant checks (around 160€).

The cost for an appartement varies between 750€ and 1300€ for small appartements. It highly depends on the location of the appartement. As an example, I’m living with my boyfriend in a 32 square meters appartement with two rooms that is fully equipped, and we pay around 1500€ in the “quartier latin” near to the Pantheon. I met many people who are living outside of Paris in the banlieu to save some money.

I would all the costs are higher in Paris especially in comparison to Aachen. Thanks to the inflation in Germany, it feels like the difference for food prices in comparison between France and Germany is decreased, but this could as well be just a feeling.

Everyday life / the internship

During my internship of six months, I got six days of vacation. Personally, I really appreciate the working hours in Paris. Normally I’ve started around 9:30 am and worked until 6:15 pm. In the lunch break we were making some sport or playing FIFA or Mario Kart. According to my contract I’ve worked around 35 hours, which is the legal limit in France.

Free time / tips

Paris is a city which is not only incredibly beautiful but also busy city. If you are under 26 the most of the museums are free. I’ve started during my internship to go running with my colleagues in the lunch break. After 5 months I made a half marathon together with one of them. There exists an entire running culture in Paris. During the week at around 12 am there are many runners at the quay of the Seine (which is stunning with sunshine). Another advantage of living in Paris is the fact that from Paris you can reach nearly every important city in France by train without switching the train. Staying for some time in Paris gives you the opportunity to discover France.


I would do it the same way again and again! My internship was incredible in terms of my tasks and my colleagues. I really appreciate every second I could spend at wiremind!

As I mentioned before, I highly recommend to already speak French or at least being willing to learn and speak it. Especially if it comes to jobs where you need to interact with customers it is necessary to speak French. Furthermore, I recommend Paris as city for an internship. Since I’ve already done an Erasmus exchange at a university in Paris and an internship in Paris, I tend to recommend the internship. In my opinion Paris itself is not a student town. It’s too large and honestly just too expansive if you have no income like a salary due to an internship.

Getting to know a different culture

February 6th, 2023 | by
  • Mechanical Engineering B.Sc.
  • France, Signy L’Abbaye
  • Beuret Sarl
  • 09/22 – 12/22


My internship in France

The company I worked for produces agricultural equipment and steel structures for buildings. Since the company moved to a new location recently, they needed new custom equipment like tool cart for storing and moving heavy tools. I spent the majority of my time developing, designing in the office and manufacturing this equipment in the factory. Having the responsibility for those projects and completing them was a truly rewarding experience.

Even though I did not work on the division of the company that was responsible for the buildings they let me go on the respective construction sites a few times during my stay. Although this was not at all part of my internship, I still enjoyed discovering the big machines and assembly techniques they used to join the massive components that were previously prepared in the factory.

Working in a small company (about 10 persons in total) helped me to get to know all the people very quickly. I had a great relationship with both the employees and the supervisors from the beginning on which made my time in the company really enjoyable.

I worked a total of 40 hours a week which is not necessarily typical in France. Many people only work 35 hours. This makes room for other activities after work. Also, the meals have a much greater importance than in other European countries. Lots of companies have 60 to 90-minute lunch breaks and it is common for grocery stores and other shops to close during midday. But many stores make up for this by opening their doors on Sunday morning.

 © Dimitri Robert

© Dimitri Robert

Luckily, on Fridays I only worked till 12 pm which made it possible to plan longer activities for the weekend. I tried to discover as much as possible of the “Champagne” region. It’s especially known for its production of champagne and its vineyards.

On another occasion I had the opportunity to travel to the beaches of the Normandy and admire the breath-taking landscape. These places are not only beautiful but also have an undeniably interesting historic relevance.

Travelling to these different destinations by train is difficult and takes a lot of time. In addition, the company I worked for was situated in a very rural area. So, having a car was a necessity in this region of the country.

 © Dimitri Robert

© Dimitri Robert

Something you need to get used to when you live in France are long and late dinners. Most of the time, they start with the well-known “apéro” where you have a few drinks and snacks before beginning to eat your meal. I really enjoyed those convivial evenings. I also observed that drinking wine at dinner was a lot more common than in Germany. Even a lot of young people enjoy drinking a glass of wine instead of beer. In general, the locals are proud of their local wine and especially champagne.


Helpful information

 Good news is my phone worked without any issue thanks to EU-Roaming. On the other hand, German mobile network operators have put in place a limit of months that you can spend abroad. Exceeding this time limit will result in them charging you extra roaming fees. Luckily, many French carriers provide very generous offers for the first year of contract. Combined with a pricing that is generally much lower than in Germany, getting a mobile plan with a lot or even unlimited data becomes very affordable. Your mobile plan can even replace Wi-Fi. So, if you plan on staying more than a few months in France, I would definitely recommend getting a French mobile plan.

Same thing goes for your bank account and credit card. You should check with your bank if the card you plan on using works abroad. Opening a bank account was not necessary for me but it made withdrawing money free of charge and receiving my salary was also easier this way.

 Keeping in mind that finding a fitting internship and going through the application process would take a bit longer than in my home country, I started to plan my stay more than 6 months ahead. This gave me enough time to prepare everything properly and I would recommend this to anyone who wants to go abroad. All in all, my internship abroad was a great experience for me. Getting to know a different culture and improving my language skills while completing a mandatory part of my curriculum was amazing and I would recommend it to anyone who has the opportunity to do so.

My practical year in France

October 25th, 2022 | by
  • Staatsexamen, Medizin
  • Rouen, France
  • Hôpital Charles-Nicolle de Rouen
  • May 2022 – September 2022


The preparation began about a year before I started my Practical year (Praktisches Jahr- PJ). For the registration and application, I contacted Ms. Watteel directly, who is responsible for Erasmus stays at  Université de Rouen Normandie. She was my contact person during the entire Erasmus stay and took care of all formal requirements and certificates in a timely manner.


Accommodation can be found at (something like Ebay in Germany) or Facebook. There is also the possibility to apply for student residences, but I did not do this. Furthermore, there are many real estate companies in Rouen that rent both furnished and unfurnished apartments. It should be noted that if the apartment is rented through a company, a fee of approximately one month’s rent must be paid. For students, the right side of the city is warmly recommended, because most of the activities and parties are on this side of the city. There are good bus connections to other parts of the city, but they are very limited at night. The university hospital is located almost in the city center and is easily accessible by public transportation.

Job and everyday life

© Lara Gubeljak

© Lara Gubeljak

I completed a PJ tertial in the clinic for general surgery (chirurgie digestive). There I was in the OR every day and was allowed to assist most of the time, be it directly on the patient or administering the instruments. There were many opportunities for me to actively participate. I found it very good that I was allowed to sew up, that I could participate in organ donations, and that I was also able to perform some tasks beyond the student tasks. A normal day started at 7:30 a.m. and ended between 4:00 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. The visceral surgery team was very nice and had a lot of patience, especially when I occasionally didn’t understand things because of the language barrier. There were some doctors who also explained things in English, although this is not the rule in France.

For the internship, you get a reimbursement of about 250€ per month, but you must check with the HR department often and have a French bank account. All students who are currently doing their internship in a surgical department share the 24 hour duties among themselves. These services are additionally paid but are not obligatory for exchange students. During the night duty you have to do instrumentation and assist in the OR. You get your own room with your own DECT phone. If you are lucky and there are no emergencies, you may (and should!) sleep.


© Lara Gubeljak

© Lara Gubeljak

I was very fortunate to have a large circle of friends in Rouen, which made the stay overall very social and gave a different perspective to the busy PJ. It is very common to end the evening in a bar or café, although it must be said that due to the early working hours this was often not possible. Rouen is a student city and there is always something going on. In summer there are concerts every Thursday, there is the daily Cathederal de Lumiere, which was exciting every time again. It is a beautiful city from the Middle Ages, so there is a lot of history to see. The numerous museums are free until the age of 26. The surrounding cities like Paris, Le Havre, Étretat or Vernon are very worth seeing and easy to reach by train.


Rouen should and can definitely be recommended for tourism as well as for the PJ. I learned a lot there, was able to do a lot of practical work and strengthened many social skills in the professional setting. The beginning of the PJ was very exhausting, because a lot of things happened very quickly in the hospital and the medical terminology is clearly different, plus it contains many abbreviations. It was a great opportunity to deepen my French and to get an insight into general surgery. Four months were enough to settle in well and to get a little insight into the rest of Normandy.