Graduation 2021

Congratulations to Cohorts 8 and 9!

The FIPDes students of Cohorts 8 and 9 received their diploma at the Fondation Biermans-Lapôtre (Belgium house) in the Cité Universitaire in Paris on September 3rd, 2021.

Watch the whole graduation ceremony

Student Testimonial from Paula KHATI, Cohort 9, Lebanon

How did I feel before embarking on a two-year Erasmus Mundus Masters experience with 24 strangers in a country I know very little about? Absolutely terrified. How do I feel today, a few days after the long-awaited graduation ceremony? More empowered than ever.
Here’s a brief snapshot of how a typical FIPDes journey goes: pack, travel, settle, explore new cities, ingest new foods, digest new information, and repeat…three or four times.
Besides the obvious expertise I acquired in packing my entire life in a suitcase every six months, what FIPDes has equipped me with, both on professional and personal levels, is invaluable. I thought I stopped growing when I hit the 184 centimeter mark, but I was wrong. I grew, in every possible sense of the word…the couple of extra pounds of fat I carry around my waist from indulging in out-of-this-world ethnic dishes included. What the FIPDes programme does to a person is indescribable, and the few words splattered onto this page definitely do not do this life-changing experience any justice.
I remember waking up in Paris for the first time, buying a baguette for the first time, meeting my future friends and professors (now family) and thinking how extraordinary and frighteningly admirable they were for the first time, working on a project with people coming from countries that are on my travel bucket list for the first time, celebrating my birthday abroad for the first time, and having my phone stolen on the metro for the first time (indeed, as the wise voice in the metro says, “attention aux pickpockets”). And then figuring out a way to fit six-months’ worth of memories and French living things in a couple of suitcases, for the first time.
Whether in Paris, Dublin, Napoli or Lund, we were always able to wear new hats (and masks, thank you COVID). From just being students, to becoming food engineers, physicists, chemists, microbiologists, prototype developers, project managers, food business creators, marketeers, packaging designers, and full-on researchers, we fell into so many different roles and eventually came face to face with the ones that fulfilled us most. Along the way we never missed a chance to flex our creative muscles, free ourselves from barriers and to either pick new skills up or polish existent ones. These leadership and technical skills are most definitely game-changers for our future careers and the business ideas that we have in mind.
Some of the experiences almost felt like pineapple on pizza for Italians at first, they did not make total sense. And at times we definitely felt the pressure mounting around certain responsibilities. But we soldiered through them all together (you know, “no pain (au chocolat), no gain”). We always benefited from an infusion of professional feedback and academic support, and even more so when we found ourselves exploring unconventional ideas. In retrospect, FIPDes truly worked its magic to harness singular talent and to nurture an unmatched curiosity culture that is fed by mind-stimulating teaching techniques and exposure to innovation in the industry. We were incrementally injected with this particular cultural flexibility, and armed with the wisdom of foresight. Coming out of it, we are better able to see all angles of an unfolding situation and to become take-charge persons who face challenges as they arise.
Before we even knew it, it was time to defend our master theses, choose well-deserved summer vacation destinations and shop for graduation outfits. September 3rd officially marked the end of it all, and though I have been looking forward to this day, I couldn’t help but feel heavy-hearted. The ceremony was nothing less than spectacular, and the emotionally-charged speeches and videos served their purpose of making the entire day extra special (yes, I cried like a baby, no shame here). For some of us, having our parents attend the graduation was the cherry on top, but we all celebrated like a big happy family anyways (“cohort wine” is a hard-earned title…we know how to celebrate). We were repeatedly told that the two years were going to go by in a flash, but I low-key never really believed it. And here I am, two seconds (I mean years) later confirming it to the new cohort coming in. FIPDes goes by as fast as your mouth waters when you walk into a French bakery early in the morning. And it leaves you craving change, travel, projects and experiences that satisfy your wanderlust, taste buds, and sense of self-realization.
FIPDes is not just another master’s programme, it is a mindset and a piece of identity that we will carry with us from here on out. I am not sure about the rest of us, but if I could, I would unquestionably do it all over again.

Pictures by Gabriel Sauvageot


- Updated December 2021 -