Chunlong, a graduate of SouthEast University in the Chinese province of Nanjing, first heard about IMT at a presentation in a lecture hall. When he arrived at Mines Douai after 3 months of French classes, he specialized in production systems and… chose to stay in France where he found a job as an engineer at Valéo, one of the world leaders in automotive equipment.

I got my first intercultural experience in Taiwan, where I spent four months. It was an opportunity for me to see things in a different light and it set me thinking about studying abroad. I discovered the Institut at a presentation in a lecture hall. It caught my attention and so I checked it out on internet and saw that the French higher education system is renowned for its engineering courses. It also has a lot of ties with industry, through the internships that provide an insight into the professional world before students finish their studies. There are also the links between the courses in the different schools that provide a way of enhancing our curriculum, and which are much appreciated in industry. That is something I had never seen anywhere else and which is really typical of France and IMT.

I chose Mines Douai for its production systems department, which was the perfect follow-on from my previous course, a Bachelor’s Degree in systems automation, but with the added benefit of the internships. The training also includes a lot of classes in management sciences. Although an engineer obviously needs technical knowledge, being trained in management and its issues made it easier for me to find my footing in a company.

I did not have much information about France, however, and if there was one thing that made me hesitate, it was the issue of cultural and linguistic differences. When I arrived, I had only been learning French for three months. Fortunately, I did the French Summer School at Mines Nantes – an experience I really enjoyed, being welcomed by French students and then surrounded by international colleagues from Russia and Spain. It was perfect and got me off to a good start learning the French way of life.

“The school gave me the desire to work and showed me how, rather than just teaching me knowledge.”

I found the teaching in France very different from what I was used to in China. At Mines Douai, there are no more than 30 students in each class, so each of them gets much more in the way of resources. In addition to that, the school also fosters team spirit. In China, because of the pressure of the examinations, the high level of stress discourages teamwork. In France, we have to work together on projects. Ultimately, the school gave me the desire to work and showed me how, rather than just teaching me knowledge.

I am now working for Valéo and hope to be able to continue working here in France for two more years. After that, I may return to China, although ideally to work for a French company. Back in my country, there are great opportunities for people who have studied in France in the environment, automotive and supply chain sectors.