Since I have been here for a few weeks now, I am basically an expert on studying abroad in Paris so I thought I would write a post answering a few common questions I get:
Q: Do you need to know French to study in Paris?
A: This really depends on the program you are applying to. On my program there was no language requirement HOWEVER I do think you would have a better time if you knew French/ had studied it at some point in your life. I came here knowing no French at all and honestly, it has been pretty difficult. Most people do speak English but it’s not something you should just expect people to know while living abroad. I wish I knew how to have a basic conversation. (I am slowly learning!) I do feel like my time here would be way more productive/ meaningful, if I was able to practice the language on a daily basis.
Q: Is Paris really as expensive as they say it is?
A: Yes and no. Yes, it is expensive if you do Paris the seen-in-movies-fancy way. To go out to trendy bars and restaurants or to go shopping in all the hottest stores, that is pretty pricey. No, because there are ways to get around all of that. It is easy to get into museums and other monumental things with a student ID card for free and to pick up a 2 Euro espresso every day. The plentiful boulangeries have a variety of cheap food items- small quiches, sandwiches, other sweet things- that you can buy to eat for under 7 Euros. There are ways to do Paris on a budget! (I swear!). If you are wise about your money, you can easily do Paris cheaply, even though it is a pricey city.
Q: Is it easy to travel around Europe and France from Paris?
A: Yes but it is way more expensive than I expected. Somehow it is less expensive and less time consuming to fly places instead of taking trains or buses… which would be more fun and allow you to see more of the country or region. Always look at budget airline sites or try to book as much as your traveling in advance.
Q: Is the public transportation in Paris good and easy?
A: Yes to both! The Paris metro is super easy and fast, however, it is pretty grimy and gross down there so wash your hands… NAVIGO passes are super great to have however they refill it per month for 67 Euros. (Then after you pay your monthly fee you get unlimited access to buses and metro). So definitely add that into your budget!
Q: What is life like in Paris?
A: Paris is a city… super urban and city-like. Don’t expect anything else! Sometimes cities can be stuffy and overwhelming, especially if you are not used to them.