Alizé and Zélie on a university exchange in Florida to “forge their own experience”

Alizé Brandenburger and Zélie de Valence, two students on the Bachelor’s degree in International Hospitality Management, have chosen to study for a semester at one of our partner universities, University of Central Florida, Rosenn College in Orlando, USA, as part of their second year. They agreed to share with us their experience there:

What made you want to go on an exchange programme?

Zélie: “Last year I spent a whole month with army children who have spent their lives travelling from country to country. In my opinion, they have experienced more than we have because they have lived among many different cultures and therefore have a very different approach to life than we do. This is why I wanted to go abroad. So that I could develop my very own experience.”

Alizé:I chose the hospitality sector because of the opportunities to travel and change scenery. I also wanted to discover another culture and another school system.”

Why did you choose Florida and the United States?

Alizé and Zélie: “Ever since we were little, we both wanted to visit the United States and study on a genuine American campus. It was therefore natural for us to apply for this stay in Orlando, USA”.

What are you learning there, in terms of skills but also from a human perspective?

Alizé: “We were free to choose our modules, but some were compulsory so that we could develop the same skills as our classmates in France, namely human resources, finance, accounting and marketing.

Personally, I chose the introduction to events and consumer behaviour.  In human terms, I noticed many differences. Each person is different and this is reflected especially in the way they dress, because here everyone dresses as they wish. Socially, people are diverse too. Some Americans are quite reserved and others are happy to interact with us”.

What is life like in Florida and Orlando?

Zélie: “Life in the United States is really different from that in France. First of all, here we are not of legal age, so this limits our outings somewhat.  Also, what you don’t necessarily realize from a distance is that the States are pretty big. Everything is far away, everything is remote. And in a city like Orlando, you can’t do much on foot”.

What have you learned from American culture?

Alizé: “American culture has taught me that food is really like you see in the movies, with a lot of fast food and few local restaurants.  People make compliments to each other even to strangers and I learn that in Europe, or more specifically in France, we have to try to become more open and not be afraid to confront people we don’t yet know.”


Zélie: “As far as I’m concerned, I would add that thanks to this exchange, we’ve been able to travel to different cities in the United States or bordering countries. I went to New York, New Orleans and Cancun. In these three places, the culture is really different. You can see that the United States is really a mixture of cultures. In Orlando, it’s a mix between American and Puerto Rican (and other nearby Hispanic) culture.”

Do you think today that this experience will be a stepping stone for your future career?

Zélie: “This exchange programme has given me a taste for travelling, and I’m thinking of trying to travel more when I return to France”.

Alizé: “Professionally speaking, we had career fairs that were similar to the Career matches career matches back home, so maybe I will come back here for a job soon”.

The international dimension is part of our school’s DNA. We train decision-makers who are agile, responsible and open to the world of tomorrow. For us, international mobility is an invitation to travel around the world to nurture diversity, open up to resolutely global careers and become a citizen of the world.

As part of our Bachelor’s degree in International Hospitality Management, a semester abroad is compulsory.