Is your Parisian Erasmus experience underway? Are you preparing for your stay in the French capital? Whatever stage of the Erasmus exchange you are at, you can be sure that you’ve made the right choice staying in Paris.
However, no cultural immersion comes without its difficulties. Paris’ lifestyle is like no other and foreign students may encounter some teething problems. Not to fear! Mômji is on hand with the advice you need.
Mômji works with thousands of internationals in Paris every year and we pride ourselves on our relationship with Erasmus students. To join the Mômji movement and find a perfect part-time job, get in touch with by filling out our online form.
#1 Why is everything so expensive?
Parisian prices can be breathtakingly high. Claiming joint top spot on the Economist Intelligence Unit’s worldwide survey on living prices this year, it’s often the biggest shock for Erasmus students.
However, there’s no need to despair. Look out for the city’s plentiful free activities every day, make the most of top-rated restaurants’ lunch deals and enjoy a cheap and cheery evening sat by the Seine with Parisians.
Finding a part-time job is another great way to add a little income whilst getting a taste of French culture, Mômji can help you out there. Parisian prices can indeed be shocking, but they aren’t unavoidable.
#2 I’m not speaking French…
For the majority of Erasmus students, the great appeal of spending time abroad is the chance to get to grips with a new language.
Although, in reality, many Erasmus students spend the majority of their time speaking English with their foreign student cohort.
If you find you aren’t speaking as much French as you had hoped, you should try thinking outside of the student comfort box. If you play a sport, avoid Erasmus-orientated clubs and get in touch with a smaller local one.
Head along to language cafés and workshops which are plentiful in Paris. And don’t be shy of Parisians. Sure, they may have a frosty exterior, but trying short conversations with shop workers and stall owners each day can lead to vast improvements. You'll have mastered the language of love in no time!
And go to this page if you want to learn French and work in France
#3 Dealing with homesickness
For the vast majority of Erasmus students, their time abroad is the longest they have ever spent away from their home country. Therefore, feelings of homesickness are to be expected.
Every student has their own way of coping when missing home and there’s not one guaranteed remedy. However, study abroad advisors often advise that the best way of getting over homesickness is, in fact, to avoid travelling home too often. The longer you give yourself to adapt to your new home and embrace the culture shock, the more comfortable you’ll feel in the long term.
#4 How do I get around the city?
Paris’ infrastructure system can be an overwhelming beast. What’s the difference between the metro and the RER? Why didn’t the bus stop even though I was sat waiting? Why are there so many different taxi companies operating in the city? Where can I find one of the city's trams?
These are all questions that Erasmus students figure out independently as they adjust to the hustle and bustle of Parisian life. After a few wrong metro directions and confusing line changes, it's by making mistakes that you learn the best. If you are struggling, make use of the plentiful online tools. RATP have a fantastic journey planner and the CityMapper app is second to none for getting around the city. Having a metro map, which can be picked up at all stations, in your rucksack at all times is a good idea too.
#5 Why am I not having the best year of my life?
It’s a well-known fact – Erasmus is the best time of your life… right? Foreign students’ social media posts and indulgent stories would certainly lead you to think so. That can put a lot of pressure on an Erasmus student’s experience if it isn’t quite living up to the glamorous expectation.
That’s not a problem. Every student, no matter what they say, has peaks and troughs whilst abroad and experience moments of struggle. If you’re struggling whilst in Paris, be assured that’s okay. Seek some help from your host University or placement, get in touch with some friends – you’ll find you aren’t alone!
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