Studying in France: Theresa’s Experience at ENSAI 

A student at LMU Munich, Theresa Kriecherbauer joined ENSAI’s second year of the Engineer Statistician program. We asked her about her semester as an Erasmus+ student in Rennes, now that she is back in Germany.    

Internationalization is a priority for ENSAI. The school maintains a network of over 40 academic partners in Europe, the United States, Africa and Asia. Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München is one of them.

Why did you choose ENSAI of all places you could go to with Erasmus+?

Theresa Kriecherbauer: I chose ENSAI because of three main aspects. First of all, it allowed me to deepen my French skills, that I had acquired during high school. Secondly, the small size of the school enables a more familiar atmosphere among the students and a closer interaction with the teachers.

And thirdly, ENSAI’s reputation as a “Grande Ecole” promised an interesting and demanding learning environment.

France definitely was part of the equation when I made my final choice. After my arrival, I soon came to realize that Rennes is the perfect city for students with many universities and thus many other young people, activities, a broad range of bars and restaurants, etc. It is a great spot from which to explore Brittany: hiking on the coast, visiting other cities such as Saint-Malo, Nantes, Vannes, Brest or even taking day trips to Paris.

As I was living in the center of Rennes, I enjoyed escaping the city and studying in such an idyllic and green environment as the Campus de Ker Lann during the day.

What was a typical day for you at ENSAI?

T.K.: For me, a typical day started at 9:45 am with a first course block finishing at 12:45 am. For lunch, I went to the canteen together with my friends or ordered the menu cooked by the student association “ENSAI Junior restaurant”. At 2 pm I attended my second course or independently studied in the library at ENSAI. Usually, I took the bus to return to my residence at 5 pm but often stayed longer for social activities or sports classes.

I’m extremely grateful having experienced student life in an almost unrestricted manner during my stay at ENSAI probably because of the smaller number of students. My highlights definitely were the Gala, clean walks on the campus, and cooking events with the international students.

Were the teaching methods different from what you knew?

T.K.: In Germany, we have more freedom when it comes to deciding what courses we want to take and when we take them. Also, attendance is not mandatory at my home university. These two aspects were a bit surprising for me at the beginning but I quickly got used to them.

I particularly enjoyed a course about microeconomic modeling where we read microeconomic papers and discussed econometric and machine learning models used by important economists in their research. It was very interesting to get a first glimpse at the often very complex applications of the methods we deal with during our studies and understand their relevance for society.

What are your plans for the future?

T.K.: I have a strong interest in Fairness in Machine Learning and Data Ethics – two topics that I hope to further focus on during my master’s degree in Statistics and my job.

What advice would you give to an Erasmus+ student who is looking to join ENSAI?

T.K.: I can strongly recommend actively participating in the events offered during the first days and weeks after the start of university. You’ll surely make great friendships whether with the French or international students that will last throughout your whole stay and beyond!

Find out more about ENSAI’s international partnerships.