Parc Manceau
Musée Picasso

Study Abroad Student Life in Paris

Paris student life offers so many interesting and exciting opportunities. One of the big challenges is simply choosing which of the countless activities to pursue–because there is so much that students won’t be able to see and do everything they want. And luckily, France is a great friend to the young and offers free or reduced prices on many cultural activities to those under 26 years of age. Cinema, Museums, Dance performances, Opera, Theater, Music, café life, night clubs, restaurants. Great architecture but also great natural parks in and around Paris.

But with all the great stuff to see and do Paris can still require some adjustments on the part of newcomers. There is, of course, the French language which can sometimes be challenging. And the French do things a little differently from what North Americans are used to. Shops aren’t open 24 hours a day, sometimes they close at lunch time. You can’t go into any restaurant at any hour and expect to be served (lunch is usually served from about 1 to no later than 3 p.m. and it’s hard to get dinner out in a restaurant before 7 p.m.).

Paris is a big city with a great public transport system (buses, trams, metro and more means you’re never more than 400 meters from a public transportation stop in Paris). As a big city that does sometimes mean big city inconveniences: some neighborhoods can be a little noisy, the metro can sometimes be very crowded during rush hours. When first arriving, it’s best to not overdo comparisons to your home town. Things will be different. There will be some inconveniences you’re likely to experience. A longer wait than you’d like for a night métro. Sometimes one can be disappointed by a less than perfectly friendly service in some cafés and shops. Try not to take these personally; in the end all the positives in Paris should more than make up for the few aspects that aren’t perfect! It’s a very rare student that leaves Paris who isn’t mostly thrilled with how his or her experience went.

Other PICA pages which may interest you: