De Montfort University

Joseph looks at exhibition items during his Erasmus+ placement

Showcasing design work at world famous Louis Vuitton as a result of Erasmus+ 

Architecture student Joseph Royle never thought the language skills he would develop during his Erasmus+ placement abroad would lead to exhibiting in one of the world’s leading fashion houses. 

Joseph, a second year architecture student from De Montfort University in Leicester, studied for a year in France at Ecole Supérieure d'Art et de Design d'Orléans (ÉSAD Orléans). Specifically his aims were to improve his French language skills and to develop professionally. 

World class talent from the UK: Joseph's story 

Joseph says a highlight of his optional placement year was the opportunity to showcase designs for a raised outdoor pavilion at the Louis Vuitton headquarters where employees would work and socialise. Joseph reflects that the day he presented will always stay with him.

Joseph explains: “This was a large project that I worked on with two French Postgraduate students; I was the only non-native French speaker there so I felt a huge amount of pressure to perform linguistically at the same level. It was a nerve-racking experience but after slowly easing myself into it I was able to introduce the design in a good amount of depth and also respond to questions from the staff.” 

It allowed me to gain confidence and experiences that I could have only gained through a diverse international programme such as Erasmus+.

- Joseph Royle 

As a result of choosing to study abroad, Joseph says he has gained a wider perspective and more practical experience in his field. In addition Joseph, who was not studying French as part of his degree in the UK,  says it helped to develop his language  and communication skills in both French and English. At the end of the Erasmus+ period, Joseph achieved a C1 French level defined by the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages criteria.

Academically Joseph says his time in France has developed his knowledge, and prepared him for his third year of study with new skills and techniques. Professionally he has increased his confidence in presentations and managed to build up an international network of friends and fellow creatives that offer numerous opportunities. Overall Joseph says Erasmus+ has prepared him for life after graduation.

Joseph explains: “I engage with and enjoy my academic work a lot more now and I think this is down to having the external perspective of a year abroad. With architecture being such an international profession, I feel like having this international experience is something that will stand me in great stead post-graduation.”

Social mobility through international placements 

DMU’s international offering aims to give up to 50 per cent of students an opportunity to travel overseas or enjoy other international experiences, to show the importance of creating openings for everyone. Sarah Thomson, DMU’s Director of Strategic Partnerships, says #DMUglobal offered all students incredible life experiences and not just a privileged few.

She says: “We usually find that young people who are extensively travelled, have had gap years or gone abroad to find themselves are oozing with confidence. It is about offering all of our students those opportunities. There are still many at DMU who are the first generation to study at uni. They deserve the same opportunities as everyone else, to get a degree and a job."

#DMUglobal Officer András Fésüs says the Erasmus+ experience had been an excellent opportunity for Joseph to develop personally and professionally. Joseph’s international engagement has not stopped there. Since returning, Joseph has taken part in two further #DMUglobal opportunities including an academic trip to Prague and a #DMUglobal trip to New York with 1,000 fellow DMU students as part of the university’s #LoveInternational campaign.

Take a look at more participant stories celebrating 30 years of Erasmus+ on our anniversary webpage.