Adjusting to the Year Abroad (2017)

Words from November 2017

It has reached a little over two months that I’ve been living in Paris now and it’s safe to say that I’m getting on just fine. Having comfortably settled into my neat 9m² room in a shared apartment at the heart of Paris’ 1starrondissement.

After the last two years shirking a large part of my French studies and instead, spending my time struggling to keep my head above the unfathomably deep water of Mathematics, studying at a French university came as quite a shock.

It’s a confusing environment to have yourself flung into, especially socially and being often the only foreign student in my classes gives quite a bizarre perspective. The courses I’ve chosen to study are as follows: 1st year Philosophy (on the sociology course), 1st year programming, 3rd year logic (Maths) and Masters Philosophy of science. The first years are mostly shy but are just starting to meet perhaps lifelong friends while adjusting to this new step in their education where they will surely flourish. A stark contrast are the 3rd year maths students who have good relationships with a large number of their course mates and as a result are very sure of themselves. The Masters students of course have far more important things to be doing than mingling and exchanging small talk, these are a mature group of people who know why they’re here and what they want to achieve.

Going between these diverse groups sometimes seems like a juggling act, all the while grappling with an inevitable language barrier and nuanced cultural differences.

On a daily basis I take solace in hearing a familiar tongue when I come home to the English voices in my flat. Two of my flat mates are interns, working long weeks at translation companies and the other two are students at the University of London Institute in Paris.

Dinner at Bouillon Chartier with flatmates Lucy and Hannah


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