Why You Should Study Abroad: Paris Edition

Many of you will be lucky enough to study abroad. If Paris is one of the choices on your list, take it into high consideration (READ: “7 Reasons to Study Abroad in the UK“). Paris is a beautiful city with wonderful cultural, culinary and artistic experiences to enjoy and remember. You may be an art history major or you may be learning about any particular subject that happened to be offered in the Paris study abroad manual but the important thing is to soak up the city and learn about French culture.

study-abroad-parisImg: Eric Pouhier

1. Paris offers art museums galore

If you will be staying in or near the city for any amount of time, make sure to stop at these fabulous museums and plan to spend at least half a day. Students of art history and culture can view rooms full of impressionist art as well as Europe’s most famous paintings from the Masters. Consider getting a museum pass to maximize your education and save a bit of money.

2. Walking! Wear comfortable shoes

Most of the Paris side streets have cobble stones and even if you are staying on the lager walkways you should wear very comfortable walking shoes. Parisians tend to walk much more than the average American due to convenient public transportation and so plan to walk at least three miles a day (READ: “7 Tips for Studying While Traveling“).

3. Currency: Know what the Euro is worth

The Euro is the currency of France (along with most of Europe) so remember that prices will be in Euros, not USD. Currently, the Euro is worth more than the dollar so make sure to bring your currency converter app with you or be ready to do quick calculations in your head. It is very expensive to exchange money in Paris so I highly recommend that you order some Euros from your US bank before going on your study abroad trip. Many smaller merchants still use cash so have at least 10 Euro on you for emergencies (READ: “Why You Should Study Abroad“).

4. Know the public transportation system

It is really important to know how to get around the city. The Parisian public transport system is similar to that in London, except it is not in English. If you are in Paris to study French, but are not fluent yet, make sure that you feel comfortable navigating the Metro (underground train) system and always travel with at least one friend. English-only speakers will be best off traveling with a translator or in a taxi. Be aware that many taxis won’t take travelers a short distance so be prepared to walk any distances under 3-5 miles just in case.

5. Eat on the cheap

Food in Paris is delicious but very expensive. If you can afford to eat in a Parisian café even once I highly recommend it if only to get the experience (CLICK: “The Top 10 Foods You Have to Eat in Paris“). Try shopping and eating at the Monoprix or a similar market to maintain your student budget while still getting some delicious food. Whatever you do, don’t take the bread or pastries yourself even if they are displayed in open air and within reach, instead ask a server to help you. Check out the deli for pre-packaged meals on the go and pick up some French milled soap at about 2-5 Euros a piece ($15 a pop back here in the US).

6. Learn some French!

Even through about 90% of the people who live in Paris speak English, it is important to try to speak a little French in order to make a cultural effort. Check out the latest French language apps here: Ten Best Apps for Learning French

Planning on studying abroad in the near future? Talk to your Orange County private academic tutor, odds are they studied abroad or know someone who has.

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