The opening thoughts of a future Erasmus student

Michael Hansford in action. Photo: Abbie Felton (

Erasmus student Michael Hansford anticipates life in the Capital of the Alps, where he will be studying at Université Pierre Mendes France and playing for the Centaures de Grenoble American football team. 


Sometimes I do need to pinch myself that I’m really going on this adventure – one that I have been thinking about for nearly five years – literally next week.  Suddenly, every thought and feeling you have had over that time fades into insignificance as you realise it’s all about now. The moment, if you will.

My name is Mike Hansford.  I am 20 years old and I am an International Business Management student at the University of Lincoln.  For the next ten months I will be living in Grenoble, studying at the IUT2 (UPMF) College in Grenoble as part of the Erasmus exchange programme.  In doing so, I hope to gain a Diplôme Universitaire de Technologie in Economics, bringing that all back to Lincoln with me and using what I’ve learned to have a highly successful fourth and final year.

I could probably start a list of clichés in all of this, but I genuinely have always wanted to do a placement for a year as part of my degree – if I could make it abroad for a period of time that would be even better.  The thought of going away and getting some experience either working or learning a foreign language was very appealing, especially given the kudos it carries with prospective employers.  Even if it didn’t, the idea of perfecting a language I have been learning for 10 years and getting into a new culture was always high on my list – you can sit in a classroom all you like, but there’s no substitute for being there and learning with the native speakers.

I’m due to leave for France on the 30th August and can move into my accommodation on the 3rd September.  The temptation was to fulfil the Erasmus stereotype and rent a private house – given that it’s a long way for me to travel to come and take a look I ultimately decided to stick with some halls of residence, courtesy of CROUS.  Some umming and ahhing finally lead to me accepting a room at Arsonval – can’t fault EUR168 a month for a highly convenient location and nearby restaurant!

During my free time I play American Football – I played for two years at university before coming to Grenoble.  In September I will start training with the local team, Les Centaures de Grenoble.  It sounds like it’ll be a long season but I am very excited to be joining them – hopefully I will be able to develop as a player and take this back to Lincoln!

Of course, there are a few challenges ahead, ranging from quickly getting used to the language to how best to deal with missing my family, friends and girlfriend.  Normally I’m near the people I know and that’s all fine – being in an unfamiliar place is quite another.

I shall be writing more for Grenoble Life over the coming months as I experience new challenges and adventures.  I also maintain my own blog which details what I’m getting up to – it is being read across Europe and is proving to be an excellent hit!

I look forward to writing more soon!  In the meantime please feel free to take a look at my blog and ask any questions you may have.

2 thoughts on “The opening thoughts of a future Erasmus student”

  1. Hey Mike!

    Welcome to Grenoble! I’ve been here a year and let me assure you, this place is wonderful! I had some apprehensions before moving here last year. But it’s all gone now. Since you already know french, you should be able to gel in very easily.

    Here’s wishing you a super year here in Grenoble. Have fun :)

  2. Hope you settle in to your new life in Grenoble, the first few weeks will be hard but you’ll soon meet loads of other international students. Be warned though – I came as an Erasmus student to UPMF 12 years ago and I never went back…
    Grenoble is a great place to place to live – Enjoy!

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