I still think about the first day in Paris where we walked to the Eiffel Tower in bright sunshine passing by all these beautiful streets with the cutest cafés and restaurants and how endlessly enchanted we were – and I am still today. But of course, fear and insecurity play a big part in the beginning. I won’t lie, it was like this for me. I was totally nervous but after the first day I was just in love with this beautiful city and all my fear disappeared.
The best tip I can give is, to look for an apartment early!!! I have not done this and I have to pay half a fortune. Arrondissements that I can highly recommend for a living are the 11th and the 15th. I stay in the 15th arrondissements with a friend, from where we can walk to the Eiffel Tower in half an hour. It’s super safe even at night, super quiet, and beautiful. Also very important is that if you can, avoid living at the very top in the north, because it is a bit of a rough surrounding there, especially in the evening. And another thing: I find Paris really expensive, both for living and for eating and with expensive I mean for a coke above 5.00€, that is expensive.
Arrived in Paris:
Again, you can learn from my mistake. After you arrive in Paris, please do not take the metro. I had a 40kg monstrous suitcase with me and thought I’m going quite easy from the train station to the apartment with the metro because it’s cheaper. The only problem was that in many metro stations there are no escalators, but a billion stairs, and believe me, that’s no fun.
A few words about the public transportation system. The metro system is very well developed and easily understandable. Taking the bus is super nice if you have a lot of time because you can see so many beautiful areas, but you should not use it if you have an appointment because the buses often have massive delays and due to heavy traffic do not move very fast. Super convenient is the metro app RATP. At 1 am at night the metro closes so you should download the Uber app or the French Taxi app Q7.
Studying at the Paris School of Business:
Studying here in France is a bit different from studying in Germany. I will now list the most important differences and mention what is also important. First, Macromedia has taken care of everything concerning our courses, so you don’t have to take care of anything. Important to mention is, that attendance is mandatory and is also documented. If you don’t come to class for no reason, the professor can give you a lower grade. Being late is not well tolerated here, and the professors can also deny access to the course to someone who is late. So please always be on time. There are security guards at the entrance door who want to look into your bags. At the beginning it was weird, but now I think it’s nice to be greeted with „Bonjour Madame“ every morning and to be said goodbye again. Another big difference which is important to mention are the mid-term exams. These are presentations, assignments, or case studies that are graded throughout the semester and make up 50% of the final grade. The other 50% is a Final Exam at the end. The timetable here is not the same every week, it always varies, I could not find any system behind it. We always had 3-4 times a week university (mostly quite long) but because of that you also have free time during the week which is, of course, great because there the tourist attractions are not so crowded. Since PSB is an international university, you really get to know people from all over the world. What is also worth mentioning is that the professors are mostly entertaining and funny, so it is amusing and diversified despite the relatively high workload.
Exploring the city:
Now about the city. The biggest highlight for me this semester abroad. I’ve been to Paris before and really liked the city as well but now I’m completely blown away. So, Paris is really one of the most beautiful and charming cities ever. First, of course, we visited the tourist spots. From the Eiffel Tower to the Louvre, Notre Dame, Sacre-Coeur, Arc de Triomphe and Champs-Elysée. But the most beautiful thing about Paris is simply strolling through the streets with all the beautiful buildings, restaurants, and nice cafes. We also checked out the typical Insta-spots right at the beginning, like Rue de l´Université, Avenue de Camoens, Trocadero, and so on. The places are usually infinitely crowded but the view is beautiful and it’s worth it.
A few tips to add at the end: Speaking a few words of French doesn’t hurt. The French are very headstrong when it comes to other languages and the cliché that many French people don’t know a word of English is unfortunately also true. So, you might be treated more nicely if you just say Bonjour instead of Hello.