Last June, we gathered the testimony of Johan, a student like no other since he is part of the Atlantis program offered by the BBA INSEEC! From Sweden, he tells us what this program, rich in encounters and memories, has brought him, with a triple diploma at the end.
YOU ARE PART OF THE ATLANTIS PROGRAM, WHAT DOES IT INVOLVE?
The Atlantis program is certainly one of the best programs offered by the BBA INSEEC. At the end of this program, you will graduate from 3 different universities, in 3 different countries: France with INSEEC U.; Sweden with Linköping University; and the United States with Western Illinois University or DePaul University (Chicago area). We even end up with a master’s degree in the United States (MSc or MBA) and all this in 4 years. It is an opportunity not to be missed because it is equivalent to a BAC+5 in France. During the program you are in a class with Americans and Swedes and you move every year together. It really creates a cohesion in the group and it is completely different from the experience you can have being in the usual BBA INSEEC curriculum.
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO FOLLOW THE ATLANTIS PROGRAM?
I chose this program first of all because I wanted to be able to travel as part of my studies and if possible to travel to two different countries. In the third year of the INSEEC BBA, an academic exchange abroad is mandatory and the school offers several choices of countries and combinations. The Atlantis program gave me the opportunity to discover 2 destinations, with the added bonus of a degree! The other advantage of this program is that you start your first semester in France in a class with other Swedish and American students who are doing the same program. The class is also completed with other Erasmus students from the school. From the very beginning of the program, you enter another world and are already considered an Erasmus student. You will mainly speak English but also Spanish, Swedish, German sometimes and you will build a small family that will follow you for the most part during the 2 years of the program.
WHERE ARE YOU NOW? WHAT CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT THIS COUNTRY, ITS CULTURE AND TEACHING METHODS?
At the moment I am in Sweden! It is really a great country and so far ahead in terms of sustainable development. In homes, universities, public spaces, everything is done to encourage us to recycle and consume less. We even give you money when you recycle your bottles and cans. The culture is also different of course, and the cliché of polite and reserved Swedes is not totally false. But nothing beats a good “Fika” (equivalent of the coffee break but much better) to loosen the tongues and exchange with the Swedes around a good cup of coffee that you can refill at will and a Kanelbulle (Swedish specialty with cinnamon). The teaching is also different. Here you study one course at a time. To summarize, you have one and the same course for a month, a mid-term, a few days of vacation and a new course begins. I really find it easier because you can focus on one course at a time.
TELL US YOUR BEST MEMORY
I have so many good memories that it’s hard to choose one! But I would say my trip to Lapland. It was really different from anything I had visited before in my life. It was a trip organized by the Erasmus association of the university and we had a lot of activities planned: snowmobile, dog sledding, ice-fishing, visit of a Sami village (local population). We had good weather and it was beautiful to see all these snowy landscapes. When it was cold, we went to warm up in the sauna by the lake, heated by a wood fire. The most courageous could refresh themselves thanks to a trap door that led directly under the ice of the lake. Be careful, you have to dive in one go otherwise you will never get in completely! The nights were long and dark, but the darkness was soon illuminated by the dances of the northern lights. This trip will certainly remain my most northern trip of the globe (200km north of the Arctic Circle) and I strongly recommend it to all those who go to the Nordic countries.
WHAT DOES THIS PROGRAM BRING TO YOU PROFESSIONALLY AND PERSONALLY?
Professionally I would say that by graduating from the Atlantis program shows our determination and seriousness. This can be a real advantage to stand out from other candidates for a potential position. We also improve a lot in English and we even learn a little Swedish. It can always be a little extra that shows an open mind. And then we learn other ways of working that can enrich us professionally. And personally I would say that we leave this experience (only Sweden for the moment) completely changed. We learned a lot of things, met a lot of people from different countries and different points of view and I think it’s really important to build an opinion about the world. Many people say that Erasmus is a great experience, but you have to live it to realize what an extraordinary adventure it is.
AND FOR THE CONTINUATION, WHAT IS PLANNED?
Well the year is coming to an end, it went by so fast! I still have so much to do before I leave. First I have to finalize my thesis and pass my defense. Then it will be the graduation and the sad farewell ceremony… I met once again great people that I hope to see again later. I keep my accommodation in Sweden two weeks after the end of the course to travel one last time in this country that welcomed me for 6 months. Then the summer will be an opportunity to decompress, find a summer job and finish the housing/VISA/travel arrangements for the United States. I am leaving for 1 year this time, starting in August, to begin the last part of the Atlantis program. I will be going to Western Illinois University to do an MBA. After that, come what may!Updated 24 February 2022