Je suis arrivé à Fontainebleau! Actually, I arrived a little over a month ago, but my new life at INSEAD has flown by faster than a New York Minute. It’s only now that I have finally found a moment to stop and reflect on it all. So here goes.

Let me invite you into my new home Villa Vivanté.

Villa Vivanté is an 18th century home with eleven bedrooms, almost as many bathrooms, and two living rooms and kitchens. There are 11 of us fresh-faced MBA students living here at the moment. Between us, we speak over 15 languages and come from all corners of the globe – specifically from Australia (me), America / Jordan (Rayan), Germany (Carlo), France, Canada, Georgia, Brazil, Belgium, India and Japan.

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(More photos on my personal blog: http://oliviaoyster.com/blog/2016/villa-vivante/)

Like many of my INSEAD peers, I had my heart set on living in a nearby chateau or villa shared with other classmates. Sounds ridiculous I know, but when else will we get the chance to live in a chateau in the French countryside? And when else will we get the chance to live under the same roof with ten other intelligent, fun, multi-lingual and overachieving young professionals from ten different countries? For me, this is a once-in-a-life opportunity that makes the INSEAD MBA experience truly unique.

Accommodation was the first thing that I organised after I got accepted to INSEAD (having applied in the second application round), and I highly recommend incoming candidates do the same. There are plenty of accommodation options in Fontainebleau, but if you want to stay in a large shared house or chateau, then supply is limited.

It was a bit tricky finding information on shared housing options, so below is a short list of where some of my December ’16 classmates are living to give you some guidance (in no particular order). Bonne chance!

Houses next to campus (within 10 min walking distance):

Club 16
Maison Royale
Marcel Lods (separate apartments with some shared common areas)

Houses near campus (within 30 min walking distance):

Villa Vivanté
Villa Foch
Le Parc

Houses / chateaus further from campus (within driving distance to campus):

Chateau Fleury
Chateau de Montmelian
Chateau de Courances
Shangri-La
Le Puits Carré