Studying Abroad in Paris: Answering Your Questions!
Seeing as I did a study abroad program in Paris in 2015, I thought some of you might be curious and want to know about how it went for me. A few weeks ago on our Instagram page we asked if you had any questions, and this is what you guys wanted to know:
What were your biggest daily challenges and how did you overcome them?
My biggest challenge was probably the disorganization. France is really known for that. It’s still pretty challenging at times.
For example, opening a bank account was really difficult. We went to the bank 3 different times, spoke to 3 different people, and they all told us something slightly different in regards to opening an account. And after all that, we ended up using another bank.
Also administrative tasks are very confusing and time consuming. A lot of times the people working at the préfecture de police (where I get my visa) seem to not really know what they’re doing. It gets really frustrating, but c’est la vie.
Despite the challenges, I love living in France so much. This is an amazing country. I love the social benefits we have like the 35 hour work week, low medical costs, and paid vacations, so the minor inconveniences I’ve encountered were well worth it in the end.
What do you think of French people?
I love French people! I mean I’ve been living in Paris for the past 4 years and I live with a French woman haha.
What do French people think of Americans?
In my experience, most people here think it’s really cool that I’m American. They always seem really excited when I tell them I’m from Los Angeles or that I used to live in NYC.
I have never had any negative experiences regarding this during my 4 year stay in France.
However, lot of French people have brought up a few American stereotypes in conversation with me. They might jokingly say that Americans aren’t very smart or educated sometimes, they’re way too patriotic and love guns, they don’t travel or speak other languages, etc…
But it’s not a problem, as we have our own stereotypes of the French so it evens out ;)
How was speaking French with natives at school?
It was great! I wasn’t exactly the most social person, especially at school, but I learned a lot speaking French with them and listening to my professors at school.
Do many people speak English?
Yes! In Paris, a lot of people speak English, but in smaller cities it’s much more rare. Sometimes, you’ll be in a small town and almost no one will speak any English.
Are there university programs in English?
Yes there are, it depends on the school/program though. I have a Japanese friend who studies art here despite not really speaking English or French very well.
How much did it cost to study in France?
I think it was pretty affordable compared to prices in the United States, but I guess that’s not saying much. I think I paid about $3,000 for the academic year, but I know some students paid about 400€ for the year. It might be different now though. I heard they just raised the price for foreign students.
My particular program was that price because my home university in California went through a company that specialized in helping American students study in France. I’m sure costs vary depending on the program.
And for living expenses, again I think it was pretty affordable. Maïa and I share an apartment so that helps keep costs down. Also you don’t need a car, health insurance is included in your tuition, and there are a lot of things that are cheaper for students under 26 years old like the metro, movie tickets, etc…
How was the adjustment?
Since I had already been to Paris before, the adjustment was fairly easy. The only thing that was hard was the disorganization I mentioned earlier. Also not being around my friends and family for years at a time takes its tole sometimes as well.
Best place to buy health and beauty products?
Check out stores like Naturalia, BioCoop, and Bio C’ Bon. Pharmacies are also a great place to buy beauty products, or so I’m told.
What’s your favorite part about living and studying in France?
My favorite part of living in France is being with Maïa <3 I also enjoy going for walks and bike rides. Picnics by the Seine are a favorite pastime of mine. I love all the cafés as well and the food here is amazing.
As for studying in France, I really liked some aspects of the French university system. There is usually no homework and there might be only 1 or 2 tests throughout the semester. I loved it!
How can I study/work in France?
This is a very difficult question to answer since I don’t know anything about you. It really depends on what you want to study or your skills and qualifications.
If you’re currently studying right now, talk to your university or professor about going to France as they might have some connections or know of a way you could make that happen.
If that doesn’t work, I would just do a ton of research and find a way to study or work in France. Use Google ;) Find some schools and contact them. It’s not going to be easy but if you’re persistent and you really want it, you might be able to do it.
Well this was a lot of fun and I hope you enjoyed reading my answers to your questions. If there’s anything else you’d like to know about living/working/studying in France , just leave a comment and we might do a part 2!
Thank you so much for reading! If you found this blog helpful and would like more help learning French, try our FREE conversational French e-Course. We also have a lot more content on Instagram and Youtube.
Merci et à bientôt!