I found the overall experience of the summer school to be very enriching and could see positive changes in the way I approach problems.

Zafar Azak
Zafer Azak
Summer School at INSA Lyon in France
BEng Bioengineering
Zafar attended a summer school at INSA Lyon in France.
Zafar Azak

How did you find the Summer School academically?

I found the overall experience of the summer school to be very enriching, and in the end could see positive changes in the way I think and approach problems. Using communication and collaboration skills was essential through the course of the programme to interact and exchange ideas effectively with my colleagues in the group project for Management and Innovation in Europe. Additionally, interacting with locals for researching our topics and collecting data was a great challenge to utilise these skills. Despite the language barrier, we were tasked to walk around the city and survey local French citizens. Where my French was not adequate I had to rely on translating to communicate and interact in many cases, which, in the end turned out to be very effective. The aim of the group project, which lasts for three weeks, was to build a company with a unique service to suite the Lyonnaise culture, with emphasis on community engagement through innovative approaches. This required us to learn and adapt to the way of life in the city, engaging in the community to learn what the people would benefit from the most. As a result, keenly collaborating with group members and doing extensive market research by speaking to local business owners and citizens, we decided to build an app which would bring people together to experience the Lyonnaise food culture. We finally had to pitch our idea to a board of experienced entrepreneurs, where we received great feedback and a successful outcome.

What extra-curricular activities did you take part in?

Field trips organised by the Summer School:

  • Lyon City Tour
  • Day trip to Oingt, Auvergne
  • Lyonnais food day
  • Lyonnais food market
  • Day trip to Chamonix
  • Cruise cocktail

Additionally, we organised weekend trips to make the most of our free time. This was with the people we met during the programme. For my group this was a trip to Annecy one week and Grenoble the other. Some of the activities we did included:

  • Speleology
  • Cycling
  • Swimming
  • Hiking
Summer school student Zarar Azak in Lyon

What was the accommodation like?

We were given studio rooms on campus equipped with a bathroom & kitchenette, since sharing rooms were not safe due to covid-19. There were no social spaces, which was not very ideal. The accommodation was also very outdated, this meant no wi-fi but just ethernet in rooms. This caused a lot of issues and complications since most people had to purchase adaptors. Apart from this, they were clean and spacious, so very happy overall.

How would you describe the experience overall and why?

The overall experience exceeded my expectations. The social side of the whole experience, getting to know people from different countries and backgrounds was great.

What advice do you have for future students attending this summer school?

I would definitely recommend learning some French before, even though beginner lessons are basic, it will be useful for living there.

Four students laughing while sat at a bench, outside the Students' Union

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