Studying and living in France, knowing French is definitely an advantage whether it be bank work, buying things from the supermarket, university stuff, everything is in French…………the French are proud people and seldom speak in English. So I used to often help my Indian friends who did not speak French.
France is liberal as any other European country. There is nothing that there is more or less of……….it takes time to get close to French people, but once they accept you they can be fun to hang out with.
Yes we know that many French and European exchange students devote 75% of their time on their pursuit of the other sex. Both with girls and boys it is the same. Only 25% of the time to their academics. Whereas we Indians give more importance to academics.
Many of my friends are today settled in France and some of them are living in, married to a French woman/man. People do have relationships if they stay for a long time. French people in general are very curious about the Indian culture, Bollywood, dance, music. But they are also quite miserly when it come to contributing for an occasion for someone else and very choosy. They are very rational and they love to spend for themselves.
Food and wine: Food and wine is the highlight of one’s stay in France……..like Indians, French people love eating and the cuisine has a lot of different textures, taste, sauces, just as we have a lot of spices. Pastries, bread and chocolates are a favourite with everyone. The meats – beef, pork, rabbit, with different sauces is worth trying. The food in Europe is usually quite bland for Indians but in France there is a lot of variety with their different sauces. It’s a little difficult for vegetarians unless you are in Paris
Movies: In Paris you have quite a lot of Hollywood movies(and Bollywood)and numerous theatres but in small cities, there are few theatres that screen Bollywood. French cinema is also very popular in France and there are some great movies that release every year.
Pubs and restaurants: Well there are lots of pubs and everyone goes once in a while. More than that there are gala nights and parties on roof tops, terraces, people’s homes. So even if one does not have money for pubs which are not very expensive, nor very cheap, you always have party options.
Restaurants in France are quite costly and most students eat in the University cafeteria or a Mcdonalds. Quick and KFC are options. Cheap restaurants also have some meals (starter + main course + dessert + drink) at 8 to 10 euros. Paris it’s much more expensive.
Students have to manage their work load in every course, but there are breaks to refresh oneself. I think money is a factor to really enjoy every weekend but even without scholarships one can party and enjoy the night life.
Well I managed to travel and have a lot of fun, discover new places in Europe. I also had some money left to try out delicacies, visit the Lido and Moulin Rouge, and do other sightseeing. Usually for students Paris is a paradise as there are so many discounts and offers if you are a student and below 26.
During holidays, we would plan and go visit neighbouring countries. I with my scholarship money was able to visit Italy, Netherlands, Belgium, a little bit of France and Germany.
The most difficult part of the education in France is getting an internship as it is not the same notion of campus placement. You have to market yourself and convince the companies to take you. Sending 100 applications a day and getting an interview call after 1000 applications is normal. Getting a job is tough but not impossible. Often how wisely you chose the internship determines your job opportunity as many employers keep their interns. The other difficulty is renewing your visa once the course and internship is over.
All in all it was an experience, a complete one. Today we can all cook a little, we are more tidy, we have an exposure and we can adapt to situations better in our professional life and most importantly living alone in a foreign country teaches you how to be independent, self-sufficient and disciplined and more responsible.
Things I wish I had but couldn’t get
May be a car to explore some of the places in France or neighbouring countries ………even though driving is really easy in Europe, getting a license is pretty tough and expensive!
Indian students on Facebook
https://www.facebook.com/indiansinfrance is a useful page, has 823 followers, but not very active.
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