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For international students, it's not a month spent on the beach doing nothing but enjoying the sun, no. Since I experienced Erasmus, I know for sure that July is usually a month when you spend time moving out of your flat, moving all your stuff to your parents' place and try finding a new flat in your next location (which is, of course, a city you know nothing about thousands of kilometers away). Or, if you're already 100% sure you have a room in a dormitory, you'll spend July trying to find more informations about your new home.
That's exactly why I'm writing this article today. I'm going to give you 5 tips so that you can enjoy moving to and studying in Lyon, be it for 1 semester, 1 year or your entire degree. I'm a local, but I've never studied in Lyon. However, I know lots of people, locals and internationals, who studied here, in the beautiful city of lights and I know as many things about the student life in Lyon as would any local student here.
In Lyon, we have three main universities and many different specialised schools. Then, you also have private schools. Overall, Lyon is a hub for students in France: according to a recent study, it's even the best city to study in France! The first important thing is to avoid getting lost in all the names and numbers and acronyms. Here are a few quick explanations.
Lyon 1 is the university specialised in medicine and sciences. Its real name is "Université Claude Bernard" (a French physiologist born near Lyon). All the degrees offered there are related to the human body. Learn more by clicking here.
Lyon 2 is the university specialised in political sciences (now I caught your attention, didn't I?), humanities and art studies. Its real name is Université Lumières (named after the Frères Lumières who invented the cinema). Its main buildings are quite far from each other, but the "historic" one is located in the centre of Lyon and it's quite impressive (see picture above). If you are studying political sciences at Sciences Po Lyon, you might attend some lectures there since Lyon 2 and Sciences Po have a partnership agreement. Many international students choose this university. Find out more here!
Lyon 3 is the university specialised in law, business and history. Its real name is Université Jean Moulin (you can read more about this man in my previous article). It has two campus, one in Lyon (the famous Manufacture des Tabacs, see below) and one in Bourg-en-Bresse, a city in the countryside about 1h from Lyon by car.
Sciences Po Lyon is the local branch of the Institut d’Études Politiques or IEP or, in English, Political Sciences Institute. It is located next to a very relevant building: the Resistance & Deportation Museum. It used to be the HQ of... the Gestapo in Lyon during the WW2.
It's important to know that each local branch of Sciences Po has different specialities, usually related to a region in the world. Sciences Po Lyon is mainly focused on Asia, but also the Middle-East and South America. It also has an interesting programme in European studies. You can read more about how to study at Sciences Po Lyon as an international student here.
If you prefer focusing on Germany, Russia or Canada, or if you wish to become a diplomat or politician, you might want to learn more about Sciences Po Aix, another local branch of Sciences Po not so far from Lyon.
You have a third option near Lyon, which is Sciences Po Grenoble. It is specialised in the social and economic development of territories, but also focused on the Middle-East and South America. It is worth mentioning that Sciences Po Grenoble is currently hosting refugees among its students. Grenoble is located only 1h by car from Lyon.
3) Architecture? Design? Business? Engineering?
Say no more, we have everything you need here in Lyon!
Let's start with INSA Lyon, the famous engineering school. Created in 1957, this school is located in Lyon 1 campus in Villeurbanne, right next to Lyon. Good to know: you won't feel too lonely there, since 30% of INSA students are international students.
Then, if you're studying architecture and design, you may want to see what ENSAL means and has to offer: it's the École National Supérieure d'Architecture de Lyon. Yes, I told you, we love acronyms here. It's the top architecture school in Lyon. It is located in "Vaulx-en-Velin" which is kind of almost in Lyon.
Now, for business school students, you will probably end up at ESCE Lyon or EM Lyon. These are the best two schools, but there are many others of course.
If you're coming to Lyon as an exchange student, you might get a room in one of the dormitories. However, you might want to find your own place since dorms are usually quite loud in France and not always located in pleasant areas. It is the case in Lyon, so my kind advice to you as a local is that if you have enough budget and if you want to live in the best possible conditions in Lyon, you should get yourself a room in a shared flat.
Here are a few areas where it's boths cheap and pleasant to live in Lyon (numbers = districts).
Lyon 4 (pictured above, and a view of Lyon from this district below): historically, it's the workers' district of Lyon; however, it's now a quite hype area and the flats are usually big with high roofs. It has a very lively atmosphere with many activities, bars, restaurants, markets, etc. Lots of students live in shared flats in this area. It's ideally located since it's close to everything including public transport! If I had to find a flat in Lyon, this would be my top 1 location.
Lyon 3: it's the district near the train station "Part-Dieu", the main and the international one. Though some streets are less attractive than others, it's overall a rather good area for students in Lyon since you have public transport, train station, shopping mall, restaurants, bars, everything nearby. If you're studying at Lyon 3 university, you might want to find a room there since you'll be close enough to go to the university by bike, for instance! And of course it's lively, since it's the business district.
Lyon 7: next to Lyon 2 university and Sciences Po! It's a good area, with a similar atmosphere as in Lyon 4. It's also easy to move when you're living there since it's close to two train stations (Jean Macé and Perrache), 10mn by tram from the main train station and it's a hub for local public transport.
Last but not least, Lyon 6: it's not a cheap area at all, but sometimes there are some good surprises and you might find a room in a shared flat for a reasonable budget. Located near the biggest park in Lyon (Parc de la Tête d'Or), it's one of the best areas in Lyon. When I say best, I mean "rich, clean, safe, attractive, calm, hype". And you get to live near a cinema and a huge park with a zoo. Just saying.
5) Budget: the worst ennemy of the international student.
How much does it cost to live and study in Lyon? You're probably waiting for the big news, anxiously checking your bank account. Let me be honest here: living in Lyon is expensive.
Accomodation: between 350€ and 500€/month ($400-600) for a room in a private shared flat.
Food: between 100€ and 200€/month minimum ($100-200) depending on what you eat of course.
You might want to add 50-75€/month minimum if you want to enjoy nightlife and other activities in Lyon.
Then, public transport in Lyon costs 31€/month for a student ($35).
Overall, you will therefore need a budget between 550€ and 800€ ($600-900) per month to live in Lyon. If you want to avoid bad surprises, you should plan your stay in Lyon with a 650€/month ($700) budget.
That's all from me for today! Thanks for reading!
I hope you found this article useful and if you have any question, don't hesitate to ask them in comments, or via private messages! I'll be happy to help you planning your stay in Lyon.
Are you into traveling and love exploring different countries? Then you should definitely visit and join the new travel community at Voyagehacks and start sharing your experiences today!
Université Lumière Lyon 2, Lyon (FR) | Tanguy Hussin | Flickrflickr-free-ic3d pan white
Université Jean Moulin-Lyon III, Lyon | Flickr - Photo Sharing!
Lyon: Croix-Rousse | Lyon: Excursión por el Barrio de Croix-… | Flickrflickr-free-ic3d pan white
Croix_Rousse_01 | Flickr - Photo Sharing!
(All pictures are under Creative Commons copyright policy and are not mine.)