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Thematics :

Fourth-year Irish student in the CESEM programme at NEOMA and high-level swimmer, Lara receives special planning for her studies. She shares her story here.

I’m currently an Irish student on exchange at NEOMA, and as a swimmer, I train between 16 and 22 hours a week at the Stade de Reims club with midday and evening sessions, 6 days a week.

How was your special studies modification set up?

As an international student, I felt very welcome at the school because my university contacts sincerely wanted to help me in every way possible.

I first submitted the requested documents to the Wellness Centre at NEOMA. Then I discussed my training hours and competition dates with my programme director, as well as the cases were the times conflicted with my schoolwork.

The office and all the personnel were very helpful. All of my professors were informed about my situation. They are all very understanding and ready to help me in any way possible.

I was given greater flexibility with deadlines for submitting work and taking exams as well as a modified schedule where I would get to class late or have to leave early.

What problems have you encountered while studying and having a career in sport at the same time? How does NEOMA’s studies planning help you?

The main problem that I’ve encounter was managing my time and the schedule due to my training hours that coincided with my courses and my competitions that are held during the week.

NEOMA helped me by giving me the flexibility with deadlines for handing in work and taking exams and also with when I get to class and leave, ensuring that I will not loses attendance points if I was absent for a competition. I can also do make-up work during my free time if I missed tests.

In this way, when I was training and participating in competitions, I could concentrate completely on swimming.

What benefits do you get from this dual activity?

I’ve been given the invaluable opportunity to pursue my sports career and my academic career at the same time.

My dual activity has allowed me to improve both in and out of the water and in my courses. When I was in the pool, I could concentrate on my training without worrying about my university studies, and when I was in class, I felt comfortable knowing that NEOMA was always there to support me.

Swimming in Reims has given me many opportunities to immerse myself in French culture, improve my language skills and above all compete against the best swimmers in France and accept numerous organisational roles in my club. I never would have been able to persevere without the help of NEOMA.

Any advice for students who would like to take the same path?

A lot of adolescents and young people abandon sport after secondary school because they think that they will not have the time to focus on it once they start their university studies.

But there are a lot of ways to make it work and there are a lot of people who can help you. Practising a sport at the same time as studying offers you a different lifestyle than many other students. It’s a unique opportunity to study and learn in a way that will allow you to stay at a high level in your sport.

My advice is to not make too many quick decisions. Explore all the options that you’re offered, because at NEOMA, they really try to create a solution for everything.


Associated programme


Immerse yourself in another culture, acquire the key skills to become a bold and global-minded manager in this 4-year double degree programme!
  • Full time
  • 4 years
  • Partner's university, Reims