How I Found Friends as an Erasmus Exchange Student in Grenoble

From Heriot Watt CU to the FEU de Grenoble

Sometimes people ask me why I chose to work for the FEU in Grenoble. After all, there are much bigger and well known cities in France. Why here? Why not elsewhere?

Stick with me here and I’ll tell you why.

I distinctly remember my first few weeks here as an Erasmus exchange student. For several weeks before our easyJet plane landed in Lyon I had been researching the city, reading (or flicking through) the odd book in French and generally preparing myself for an easier touch down in unfamiliar territory.

I guess you could say that I was somewhat apprehensive about the prospect. Would I get totally lost in a new city ? (For the record this was and still is a frequent occurrence.) Would I actually succeed in making any friends? (Always the million pound question!)

Initially the sheer whirlwind effect of finding a flat, buying a bed from Ikea and hauling it onto the bus, bureaucracy happy enrollment in a French university and queuing for a tram card served to keep me from investigating the possibility of a social life in this new found land.

But how does one even approach such a task? Rocking up to people on the street and asking them to be my friend didn’t seem like the wisest method in the world and, I’m sure you’ll be happy to know, this was not my next move.

Rather, I turned my search to good old google. I had been a member of a UCCF Christian Union at Heriot Watt university in Edinburgh and I was eager to find out if such a thing existed in Francieland or if I would have to investigate other avenues of social life creation.

As part of my search I stumbled upon a Facebook group for the FEU de Grenoble. They were organizing a BBQ and, as I very much enjoy the activity of eating, I decided to go along for a nosey. When I arrived (45 mins late because I got lost) I was intrigued to see that, not only were there lots of other students who also reveled in the activity of eating, but who also attended the Foyer Evangelique Universitaire on a weekly basis.

I guess you could say the rest was history. I discovered that it was such a great place to get to know all sorts of people, talk about faith and find friends that several years later after my degree I decided to come back here and work for the FEU as a staff worker.


We still love eating so why not come and say hello and have a bite with us! It worked for me – it could work for you too! We’ll be hosting a variety of activities all week long – here’s the quick overview:

Tuesday, September 5th @19h –  Ultimate Frisbee sur l’herbe aux taillées

Play ultimate frisbee with other students from around Grenoble! We’ll meet up on the grass at Les Tailées

Wednesday, September 6th @ 18h – Soirée Chinoise au FEU

Come hang out with other Chinese speaking students from around Grenoble! Enjoy a good meal and fun times!

Thursday, September 7th @ 17h – Sortie à la Bastille (apporter un billet de tram et baskets)

We’ll take the tram to centre ville and then hike up to the Bastille above Grenoble. Wear good shoes!

Friday, September 8th – Open Night & BBQ (PAF 4€)

Come hang out and eat amazing food! Speak English or French!

Saturday, September 9th – Randonée au Lac du Crozet (2€ transport, nécessaire: pique-nique, bonnes chaussures)

Hike with other students to a beautiful mountain lake in the Belledonne mountain range not far from Grenoble! Bring €2 and a picnic lunch as well as good shoes for hiking. 

Sunday, September 10th @ 19h – Visite de Grenoble (billet de tram nécessaire)

Join us as we go visit downtown Grenoble! Bring a tram pass.


Keep in touch:

Instagram: @feu_de_grenoble

Facebook Group (Feu de Grenoble 2017-2018)

Ruth McGarvey, originally from Northern Ireland, is a former Heriot Watt Christian Union President and now a staff worker for the FEU de Grenoble.
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