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“Studying in London gives you amazing exposure to giant companies as well as start-ups”

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London welcomed nearly 4,000 French students last year, who are studying in higher education institutions across the city. Study London spoke to three of the French finalists in the Mayor of London’s International Student Innovation Award about why they chose to study in London.

Félicie Eymard always dreamed of studying in London. The creator of Metamorphosis – a womenswear collection which transforms to reveal hidden layers – Félicie came to London after studying in Brussels. Félicie said: “It was always a dream of mine to study in London. After doing a Bachelor degree at La Cambre in Brussels I chose to study in London because I knew that the Royal College of Art (RCA) was one of the best design schools in the world. I think it is very important to do your Bachelor degree in one school and your Masters degree in another school because you get the chance to work with new tutors and experience a different way of learning. As the RCA is an international school, being among other students with different backgrounds from all around the world is absolutely magic and inspiring.” For Claire Berdugo, creator of Kpish – an app that allows people to quickly sell second-hand clothes online – coming to London was the best decision she ever made. Claire said: “I didn’t have a clear idea of what I wanted to do in the future. One day London popped up in my mind and I started to look at universities and courses. London offered me the opportunity to study as well as leaving me time to do personal projects. I had this urge of becoming more independent, of meeting new people and exploring new opportunities. The decision to study in London was impulsive, but it was the best decision I have ever made.”

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Simon Weill, creator of EyeShoes – a shoe that uses street mapping to enable blind and partially sighted people to navigate busy city streets – decided to study in London after weighing up the pros and cons of an education in France. Simon said: “I actually hesitated a lot before coming to study in London. I was unsure whether to go for the French elitist (Classes Prepa) system or to study at Imperial College London. After talking to lots of people, I decided to come to Imperial as it offered better opportunities, has an excellent international reputation, and offered an immersion in the English world.”

Simon continued: “London is the economic heart of the UK and the biggest and most international business hub in Europe. Studying in London gives you amazing exposure to multinational companies as well as start-ups. London also gives you more opportunities to network, meet people and find a job. It is connected, international and fast-paced.”

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For Claire, who is studying at University College London (UCL), the support system in London helped her to develop her ideas. Claire said: “London has an amazing start-up ecosystem, so you very quickly meet people who, like you, want to do things and impact people’s lives in many different ways. Over the years I have acquired an interesting and diverse network of friends in engineering; marketing; artistic fields; design and finance. As a result I know exactly who to contact if I need professional help, moral support or simply to grab a drink!”

Félicie commented that the decision to study in London has been life changing. Félicie explained: “Studying in London changed my life completely because I had the chance to meet incredible people and really dig into who I am as a designer. London is an international city where creative people meet and exchange ideas. London is vibrant, alive and surprising and a place where anything can happen.” And her advice for other international students? “You need to come and see London. You won’t regret it!”

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Félicie, Claire and Simon are studying in London?  Félicie is studying Design Products at the Royal College of Art (RCA) Claire is studying Technology Entrepreneurship at University College London (UCL) Simon is studying Electrical & Electronics Engineering at Imperial College London

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Royal Holloway, University of London

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