Tips for studying abroad in Paris

Sorry for the lack of posts but I've been busy with school and planning my spring break trip so I haven't had much time nor the energy to update my blog but I'm back with a helpful post. I've been in Paris for the past 7 months and I can honestly say that this year has been the best of my life despite it being the most expensive year in my life. If you're thinking about studying abroad in Paris I just want to let you know people aren't joking when they tell you that Paris is EXPENSIVE. Rent is especially expensive if you want to live in Paris intra-muros which consists of the 20 arrondissements and everything from tooth paste to cereal is more expensive than in the United States. Here are my tips and advice that will hopefully help you save some money and avoid stress during your time here.

  • If your exchange program requires you to search for housing I advice you to live outside of Paris intra-muros and look into apartments outside of Paris in the suburbs. I live in Paris intra-muros but I've been a my friends places in Nanterre and Bécon les Bruyères and their apartments aren't only nicer but also bigger than the place that I'm staying at. They're basically paying about the same rent as I am so it pays off living a little outside of Paris. Also consider having a roommate so you can split the rent.
  • If you don't want to worry about the hassle of looking for an apartment or studio then maybe being an au pair is a good option for you. You get housed with a French family and have to take care of their child/children. It's like having free rent and a job but some of the kids are not well behaved so consider that your warning. My friends who chose to become an au pair having nothing but horror stories about the kids they're taking care of. If you're good with kids and think you can handle living with a French family this is a great option since your French will improve by hearing it being spoken around the house.
  • If you have a French students currently at your school I suggest you to either get in contact with them with help of your school's international office or join the French club. I know my boyfriend met his friend and now roommate back in his home university through the French club so you never know if you'll meet your future roommate back home or at least have some French friends by the time you come to study in Paris.
  • Avoid eating out on a regular basis, not only is it more expensive but also portions are a lot smaller here than in the United States.
  • When grocery shopping I've found that Carrefour is the cheapest option. I've stuck with their generic Carrefour Discount brand items and not only are they cheaper but they are almost as good as the brand name items (except for Nutella, there's only one Nutella).
  • Another great option is Auchan which is located at La Défense (RER A and line 1) because they have a Self Discount Section which is amazing for those living in a budget.
  • For transportation for the first few months without an Imagine R card (I'll write more about that in an upcoming blog post) get a passe Navigo which you can just put in money once a week or a month. It'll be a lot cheaper than buying a carnet (pack of 10 tickets) trust me. The card is 23€ and the cost of the plan depends on how many zones you want.
  • Think of opening a Bank of America account and a BNP Paribas one if you're coming here for a school year. Bank of America and BNP are affiliates so they allow you to take money out of your Bank of America without any fees and you can directly deposit that money into your BNP Paribas account at any ATM. If you're thinking of coming here for the semester then you'll do just fine by taking out euros here and there.
  • Do your research before coming here! For year long students that have to study at a French university that means getting familiarized with arrondissements, the metro, and especially the universities. The French are a lot more independent that Americans so you can't come here expecting people to be doing all the work for you. 
  • For year-long students, begin your OFII process as soon as you find an apartment because it does take about 3 months to get your medical appointment and carte de séjour. Mine took almost 4 months so please don't get impatient, its normal to for your paperwork to take really long to get processed.
  • Try to bring stuff like toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, and razors from back home. I'm not kidding you when I say that they are a lot more expensive here and there are no such thing as a Sunday newspaper coupon book here. I will do either a vlog or blog about what to pack for year-long students in the near future.
  • Try to bring enough clothes (especially underwear) that will last you at least 2 weeks because the price of small load of laundry at a Parisian laundromat is around 4/5€ and 10 minutes in the dryer costs about 1€.
I hope to do at least one vlog at a French grocery store especially to show you all the prices of things but hopefully I'll be able to film in one. I will have the 7 month update tomorrow and I've decided that I'm going to vlog for the whole month of May to show everyone what the last month studying abroad in Paris will be like.

I hope everyone had a great weekend!

1 comment:

  1. My cousin recommended this blog and she was totally right keep up the fantastic work!

    Study Abroad