La Réunion – Université de La Réunion

Reasons people went to this university/place

  • I chose the university for its exotic location. I thought that an Erasmus exchange would be the easiest way to visit an oversees department and also the only chance to do so

Recommended semester to go there

  • I would always recommend to do two semesters, no matter what university. Two semesters will give enough time to settle in, make friends, travel, get in touch with the local culture, perfect your language skills. I felt that during the first semester I was only a tourist, but the second semester I actually had a life in Réunion Island.

Before going there

Accommodation experiences

  • During the first term, I lived in a student dorm, CROUS, which is on the university campus. During the second term, I lived in a shared flat with people from mainland France. Visit to get an idea of it. CROUS: Students who stay for two terms usually live in cité international. Rooms are tiny, but at least you have your own bathroom, a small fridge and maybe also a balcony. The community kitchen is rudimentary equipped with a sink, a stove, a table and chairs for people. The dorm is a good place to start your stay, I made great international friends and also got in touch with the locals. Shared flat: I moved out of the dorm because I wanted to speak more French. Finding a decent place can be tricky however, especially when your budget is tight and you don’t have a car. But check out to get an idea. You will most probably find a shared house, with 4-6 other roommates, and a possibly a pool.

Special items to pack

  • There is nothing you can’t buy on the island, but you should bring your hiking gear, the nature is amazing and breathtakingly beautiful. Stuff for the beach, a mosquito net is practical during the rainy season, shorts! Proper sunglasses, a head torch!

How people who went there handled their finances

  • Since it’s France, they have the Euro. I simply withdrew money from the ATM whenever I needed some, the rent was payed via bank transfer.

University Information

Rough semester schedule

  • End of August to beginning of December for winter term, beginning of Februry to May for summer term. You can find that out easily by searching the calendrier académique.

Holidays during the semester

  • 2 months of holiday during winter and summer term

Number of ECTS the university expected former exchange students to do

  • The French department at Uni Wien demanded I did 60 ECTS; I think UnivRéunion made the same request. Which is manageable, especially because you can get credits for culture and sports courses.

Course restrictions and when the university informed students about those

  • I studied languages and as far as I can remember, there were no restrictions for me. I attended bachelor and master courses, there are also ERASMUS courses.

Did the university actually offer the classes students originally planned to do?

  • Yes.

Recommended courses/modules

  • I enjoyed the translation classes, histoire des idées du monde anglophone was interesting, sociolinguistics with professor Lebov-Equem

Exam period

  • Depends on the course, but usually during the last two weeks of the term.

How exams look like

  • Written exam, open ended questions

Other information

Recommended restaurants, cafes, bars, shopping centers, ect.

  • I’ve heard that all the good clubs in St. Denis have closed, unfortunately, but we went to Les Potirods, les Recreateurs, prince, there are lots of clubs in St. Gilles les Bains, but we usually had our own parties at the beach; the restaurants around the church in St. Denis are great! The market in St. Paul is nice, but for the real cultural experience go to the market in Le Chaudron (Wednesdays and Saturdays) and Jumbo Score.

Recommended secret spots in the city/town

  • Les Trois-Bassins close to St. Gilles, but any good travel guide can provide information on the best natural sights, you’ll have an amazing view from any of the summits, Bassin Nicole, Plage de Trou d’Eau, Trou de Fer

Recommended day trips

  • Bassin Boeuf, Bassin Nicole, beaches in l’Ermitage, Les Troi-Bassins, Le Brûlé

Recommended places or events to meet new people/make new friends

  • La Rondavelle in St. Leu (every Sunday I think), Dipavali Festival, at your scuba diving club

Public transport offered in the city/area of the University

  • Public transport is unfortunately really bad! Local buses stop running around 8pm, “long-distance” buses which connect the major cities don’t take any more passengers once they are full, get yourself a schedule as quickly as possible, get up early to make the most of your day, or rent a car! It can be as cheap as 20 Euros a day. I bought a bike, which made me a little more independent, but be prepared to cycle uphill a lot! Some friends bought a car, but pretty much everybody was somehow ripped off and had to invest quite some money into reparations.The University is located in one of the “bad” areas of the island. I was never afraid, but simply be vigilant and act sensibly, like you would in any new place. I only walked around in a group of friends when it was dark, but there is nothing much to do around uni anyway. In st. Denis center its fine to walk by yourself

Other recommendations

  • Do as many trips as you can, don’t worry about uni, immerse yourself in the varied culture of the island, buy a hammock! Have fun, eat tropical fruit, go scuba diving!!! 
  • Don’t bring any academic work! Finish ALL your papers at home, it’s terrible to have to spend time at the library for a seminar paper at home, while your friends are having fun at the beach!
  • The University is located in one of the “bad” areas of the island. I was never afraid, but simply be vigilant and act sensibly, like you would in any new place. I only walked around in a group of friends when it was dark, but there is nothing much to do around uni anyway. In St. Denis center its fine to walk by yourself. Locals can easily tell you are an international student, just be aware of that. See a doctor who is specialized in diseases in tropical regions before you go.

Is this University the right place for me?

You should spend your semester/year abroad at this university or place

  • if you like the outdoors and sports, want to see a different side of France, you are interested in cultures, adventures and traveling
  • because it’s a tropical island!

You should not spend your semester/year abroad at this university or place

  • if you hate the sun, afraid to be far away from home
  • I honestly can’t think of a good reason not to go, but money always plays a role in such decisions. Flights are pretty expensive, cost of living is higher than mainland France, but not as bad as I expected

(all information provided is based on 1 filled out questionnaire)