When you get to a new city, there are already so many things that you want to do: picnic in front of the Eiffel Tower, go to Versailles, see Notre Dame, and do all the other fun touristy things. But you probably will want to go with people! It is nice to have other BC people here in Paris because at first, when you are in a big city, those are the only people you know. But if you are like me, I wanted to make other friends from other places, because I wanted to study abroad to be immersed into another place and learn a lot from other people! The reality is, though, that it is really difficult to make good, close friends that are not from BC. I have met so many people since being here, but the friends that I have kept are because that we truly clicked and became friends. Specifically at the Sorbonne, it is hard to make friends if you do not know the specific places to look. I made my best friends here in the week right before school started, and this is how: PARISMUS. Parismus is like an international student’s club where regular full-time students organize events for Erasmus+ (study abroad) students to go do things together and meet other people. I went to a bar night that they organized, which is where I met one of my best friends, and then I also went on a picnic where I met my other two best friends. At these events I had met other students, but I never fully kept in contact with them, besides following them on Instagram.
Another nerve-wracking thing is language. I was so scared to go to these events because I was so worried that my level of French was not good enough to talk to people, but I will never forget when I got the courage to ask, “what is your name in French”, to my now best-guy friend, and he responded to me “Sorry my French is not that good can we speak in English”. My best friends (from Germany and Spain) have made my experience so much better at the Sorbonne because they have classes at the same school I do, and I can hang out all the time with them. Making French friends is a whole other story. In my personal experience it is nearly impossible to make French friends because it seems like they have already solidified their friend group, and the French students I have worked with for projects are really nice to me, but we never meet outside of the “project working time”.
I have been lucky enough to make these friends in the beginning (in August/September) and they all also were staying for the whole year, which was also nice because I did not have to start all over again with making friends at the school. We talked about going to the South of France near the end of our studies (the talks started in October) and we finally planned our trip to the south of France a month before we left.
We are taking a road trip through the south (after taking the train from Paris to Marseille), where we will get to see Marseille, Anduze, Nice, and other cities. Although I live in an apartment this semester, my host mom from last semester offered for us to come visit her home in the south so we are going there for two days!
The trip we took was a ROAD TRIP through the south of France (although advised against this from the Paris advisor, but she said not to drive in Paris but she never said anything about the south of France). We started in Marseille, and walked all around the city, although it rained a lot while we were there.
Then we picked up the car and headed to my host mom’s house in Anduze, which is this small town in the “mountains” and so it was scary driving up there, but it was so worth it because I got to see her and see her house and my friends and I got to continue to practice our French, and we took a day trip from there to Avignon to see the Palais de Papes.
After leaving my host mom’s house we headed to the coast, stopping in Saint Tropez and then going to Nice! It was so nice to finally get some sun!
We took a day trip to Monaco from Nice in the car, where I got to pretend to be a race car driver because they were setting up for the Formula E race, and so it was scary to drive around that, but now I can say I did it! The last day of our trip we got to walk around Nice and finally sit on the beach. Finally, we took the train home to Paris and arrived at 11:10pm.
Although driving in Europe was definitely scary, it was so worth it and such a fun trip to do with my friends that I met here.