So I’m finally embarking on something that I’ve always wanted to do! I’m gonna be living in Paris for a whole year… Well for the “location police” 40 minutes outside of Paris but I haven’t been telling people that. And although it may not seem as brave or as big a leap as traipsing across the planet to Australia or Outer-Mongolia.. I must admit to some nerves and being incredibly overwhelmed by the amount of short-term PREPARATION that is going into just getting my 5’4-self across the channel!
So my hope is that in reading this and my other posts, you will maybe be a bit more informed, relaxed, excited or even tempted by a year abroad in France or wherever you will go! [insert The Calling track here].
Yes. I bet you didn’t think we’d be starting here. However I cannot stress how many trees I’ve wasted in trying to fill out numerous forms over the last six or so months. It’s been emotional to say the least. Emotional but necessary. I spent most of the time
asking, irritating other “year abroaders” as to what on earth I’m supposed to do with a before mobility learning agreement. (I can confirm I now know!)
So yes, it is a lot. But you will have so much help with this from start to finish and as I’ve gone along its only made the layout of my year clearer! So if you are starting second year thinking “I still don’t know enough about my year abroad”.. you will be bombarded with so much information, dates, prices and places you’ll regret you ever said it! Don’t panic!
Enough of that though.
Choosing my uni was almost a no-brainer for me! With a huge range of places to choose from in France and Switzerland I still knew I wanted to be as close to the capital and the fast-paced lifestyle, as possible! As a business student ESSEC was my best bet. I put down a second and third choice almost against my will, because they seemed wonderful but nothing on Paris for me. I wanted to be in a place that was vaguely familiar to me from previous visits but also somewhere I could make new experiences and discover new favorite spots on the globe that can only be found by living in such a vast city! I also hope to travel throughout Europe which will seem just footsteps away whilst living in the heart of it!
So now to decide whether to stay in halls OR to live in a house in France, with no previous experience of French housing…in the capital city…having blagged my way through second year knowing nothing about bills/ rent …and doing all this in French. I mean I’m not trying to sway YOUR decision but for me I just wanted an easy ride when it came to accommodation. So I went with the international halls of residence . I think the little welcome package including bedding, cutlery, pots and pans probably swayed my decision. I would recommend speaking to previous Erasmus students to help you make an informed decision. As much as the Erasmus team helps nothing compares to people who have actually lived through these experiences!
THE ESSENTIALS LIST.
So here is my checklist of maybe less obvious things I think you need before you step out into your year of self-discovery(see elsewhere for perhaps a more serious list)…
- Passport: just in case you know.. There’s always one
- Photos from home: so you can limit your homesickness to one little corner in your room
- Camera: any photo taking device will do.. But essentially to prove to everyone that you are constantly having the best time and not engaging in that mentioned in 2.
- A list of great places to visit: compiling a list of places to go will mean you are never bored! Speak to people who have lived where you are going who know the “path less traveled” so you don’t end up going to just the Eiffel Tower every weekend.. And can find the cheaper, cultural gems of where you are
- Guide to [insert city here]: although I personally prefer the opinion of people who have done what I will be, this is still a handy thing to own!
- Flight/ train ticket: book it in advance, keep it cheap.
- Diary/ Scrapbook: if you are into it / have the patience this is such a good way to document your time and to visually show people the timeline of your year abroad! Great one for the grand-kids too!
- Notebook: Jot down all the words you don’t know along the way.. or just rack up all those phone numbers you’ll be getting!!
- Translation dictionary: always good to broaden your horizons .. There will always be words you don’t know!
- Backpack: they are actually both practical and cool, mine is tan leather and it’s great, I take it everywhere
- EUROS: I think that is self explanatory!
- Sunglasses: also cool, regardless of temperature.. Sun= sunglasses!!
- International Bank Card: just so that you can avoid any excess payments across currencies!!
- Torch: again you just never know when hard times are gonna come.. Thank me later!
So.. I don’t know about you, but I am certainly going to be packing all those into my little backpack – even the torch! Au revoir l’Angleterre!
À la prochaine!!