I was in Paris this past semester and absolutely fell in love with this city. Leaving Paris was one of the hardest things I have ever experienced because I gained a new perspective and met so many amazing people during my time there. Through the IES Business & International Affairs program I was able to meet new friends, go see a French ballet, take a trip to Normandy, have interesting classes, meet my language partner, be able to live with an amazing host mom; just some to say the least. These are experiences and relationships that I still carry with me now and have fond memories of.
Going abroad everyone is worried about making friends, but honestly on the first day talk to as many people as you can. You are all in the same boat but you all have different stories that you can share to get to know each other more. The people I met in this program were the ones who I went on adventures with; like taking random trips to Notre Dame, eating sushi on Boulevard de Sébastopol, going out to experience Paris day/night life, or just hanging out on the Seine. Find people who will encourage you to go out and have fun because it is impossible to see all of Paris but you have to try and experience the most you can.
The IES program has a raffle every month that you can sign up for and go to different events. I did this and ended up winning tickets to go see a French ballet. It was so beautiful and was unique to me because I had never seen a ballet before. Also, IES provided an opportunity for students to go to Normandy, here I was able to learn more not only about French history, but British and US history as well.
Now moving on to IES classes they were great and the professors are so interesting and intelligent. They were so friendly and loved talking to their students not just about classes but about their lives in France. One thing to note is that the program was mostly made up of US students so it made it harder to meet people from France. This is why I would recommend choosing to live with a host family and signing up for the Epitech language exchange program.
I was nervous to live with a family that I did not know at all, but I have no regrets because in my opinion I got the most amazing host mom in the world. She was so patient with my awful French and helped me in finding new things to do in Paris. Also, she made great food and don’t believe what people say about France having smaller portions because my host mom always fed me so much, and honestly not complaining about that. I was comfortable asking her anything and she let me look at her photo albums, her husband’s music collection, etc. She is such a great person and I learned so much from her.
The language program was another great opportunity for me to meet people in France. I contacted representatives from Epitech through IES and they assigned me a language partner. I met my partner and he was so easy to talk to and really showed me Paris through a different lens. He showed me parts of Paris I didn’t even know existed and introduced me to his friends. Through this program I was able to meet incredible people who I love to talk to and experiences that I will never forget.