The first two weeks of our course in La Rochelle have been filled with some of the best experiences- both inside and outside of the classes. La Rochelle is a medium seaside town with the biggest marina in Europe, two beaches and tonnes of cafes and shops!
It certainly exceeded expectations proving to be a friendly and relaxed town without the crowds of Paris, with an ease of getting around with everything being walking distance- whether it is to the university, grocery shops or to get a gelato.
Our first week of classes involved getting an orientation tour of the town, some much needed French classes that helped us to navigate the basics in conversational language, along with two project presentations that we completed as part of our assessments. Outside of classes we often would go out for dinner, have a picnic, go to the beach or go out. The course also enabled us to mix with a variety of nationalities with students from Australia, Mexico, Quebec and America making a culturally rich experience.
In the first two weeks, we additionally went to a number of field trips such as to La Grande Terrasse Hôtels & Spa where we learnt about the side of luxury hotel management and design. After this we had free time in the afternoon where we went and got lunch at a beachside café before heading back to La Rochelle. This trip was related to our topic on Fundamentals of Luxury Business and Brand Management that we studied in the classroom where we learnt about the difference between luxury, premium and fashion brands that exist.
Another notable field trip was to Normandin Mercier cognac tasting just outside of La Rochelle’s center which felt as though you were in the countryside with its beautiful surroundings. Here we learnt about the family business practices and undertook some cognac tasting to sample their luxury products.
Lastly, for our field trips in La Rochelle we visited a few small local sustainable businesses to learn more about their practices and processes of producing their products. This fitted into our unit of Luxury innovation and sustainability that we learnt about in the classroom earlier in the week.
It is also worth noting that the music festival-Les Francofolies de La Rochelle is on at this time so it’s a great weekend event to attend in between your study time! Although, if you do not get tickets, you can still enjoy the music and vibrancy of the festival from the waterfront with some dinner!
The next part of our trip involves us travelling into Paris for the night to visit Musee Du Parfum De Fragonnard and Van Cleef, a perfume and jewellery company, and maybe even a picnic by the Eiffel tower by night.
Our last week of the course will be in Florence where we spend the trip further visit luxury brands in Italy and visiting their businesses for some hands on experience.
My name is Issi and I am currently in my last semester at the University of Wollongong studying Communications and Media (majoring in Marketing and Advertising). The Luxury Brand and Fashion Management program will be my last subject before graduating University and it will the perfect step into practical experience in the industry. I currently work in the luxury cosmetics industry and hope to pursue a career in digital media marketing and PR in the near future. My main interests outside of study include- the beach, yoga/pilates, boxing, playing with my dog (and rabbit Kiki) and spending time with friends. I have also always loved travelling and Europe is my very favourite, so a month in a European summer studying is the ultimate experience for me!