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Nice is the fifth largest city in France and combines all the culture and sophistication of that country with the movie-star beauty of gorgeous Mediterranean beaches and palm trees.
Located on the Mediterranean coast of France, Cote d'Azur, Nice is a fabulous mix of old and new, modern and ancient, classic and contemporary. Nice was founded by the Greeks in 350 BC and named for the goddess of victory, Nike. Today, the city is home to over a million people, boasts many enticing museums and markets like the Musee Massena or the Cours Saleya and is a true gem of the Mediterranean.
Being over two thousand years old and located at the crossroads of some of the world's great civilizations, Nice has built its fair share of culture. While you may find yourself at the beach simply for the sand and surf, be sure to check out the Promenade des Anglais, a 19th-century walkway along the sea from which many of the city's sights are available. If you'd prefer a taste of Nice's sensory splendor, visit the Cours Saleya, the city-wide fruit, vegetable and flower market, but arrive early to avoid the crowds!
If you're looking to really dive into Nice-specific culture, consider taking a few lessons in Nissart, the local dialect of Nice. Don't worry - locals don't expect you to know how to speak it, but if you really want to blow away local shopkeepers and guarantee you're getting the "locals only" price, try swapping out your "bonjour" for "boanjorn!"
Don't worry, though - as a student, you'll never be alone. Nice is one of the most popular study-abroad destinations in one of the most popular study-abroad nations, and with several universities located throughout the city, there will be plenty of people with whom to practice your language skills.
Studying abroad in Nice can carry a wide range of price tags, but students can expect to spend around $7,000 - $9,000 on a program. Prices vary based on accommodations, meal plans, credit hours and services included (airport pickup, laundry service, etc). Nice can be a pricey city, but if you're savvy and stick to the local places, you should be able to avoid the wallet-shock of cities like Paris.
France uses the Euro, so if you want to get the most "bang for your buck", or "use for your Euro," keep an eye on international exchange rates and strike while the iron is hot. Further, because of Nice's size, most establishments will accept both European and American credit and bank cards. Some places, though, like the market at Cours Saleya with its private vendors, will require cash, and small bills at that.
Most museums in the city are free for students, and many local cinemas and nightclubs offer student discounts with a valid ID.
The pace of life is slower in France, and while many students find the charm in this, it can be frustrating for many. Expect many shops to close their doors from Noon to 2pm daily for a siesta, and expect your waiter to not visit again after taking your order. People are not rude, but perhaps not as over-the-top friendly as they are in the States. Take these changes in stride, and try to remember that the French way is neither better nor worse, but simply the way it has always been in Nice.
If you're feeling like you could use a little more support, the Erasmus Student Network is present in Nice for those looking for camaraderie, and the Universite de Nice Sophia Antipolis offers "English hours" where local and foreign students sit down together for coffee and practice their language skills.
If traveling with a study abroad provider, be sure to check in with them regularly. Odds are they're sure to have lots of group excursions planned, as well as local culture classes to help ease assimilation.
Get more "Use for your Euro" by checking out these happenin' scholarships.
Jason Rogers is from Virginia and has studied in Paris and worked in China. When not wondering how his life got to this point, he enjoys playing hockey and writing. Check out his blog at Learning to Sweet Talk & follow him @HeyJayJRogers.
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