Every person’s day-to-day will look incredibly different. My normal/chill days abroad are probably much more relaxed than my peers who make even more time than I do to go to museums or see new things every single day. But, something that I wish I had read up on more before going abroad is what a typical day in Paris looks like. Therefore, I will tell you.
I am not as much of a morning person and if you are definitely not, I don't recommend you pick an early class because you will also have to take into account the commute to the site which can range from a 15-minute walk to an hour metro ride. You would also have to take into account construction delays which could affect the amount of time your bus takes or problems with the metro—therefore add an extra 10-15 minutes to your travel. Therefore, after all of the math—decide how early you’re willing to wake up in order to travel to school.
I live somewhat close to the site and got lucky with a 25-minute bus ride. Therefore, I wake up for my 10 a.m. classes around 8:30 a.m. Then I walk 3 minutes to my favorite boulangerie right down the road where I get a ham and cheese sandwich on a baguette and a hot latte. Then, I get ready for school and walk ten minutes to the bus stop where I ride for 13 stops (about 25 minutes). On a day when I want to spice up my breakfast, I walk to school (about 51 minutes) where I pick a new boulangerie along the way to sit and eat.
I usually have class until about 3 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I have class until about 5 p.m. and I have no classes on Fridays. During my breaks between classes at the BIA site, I sit and do homework so that I have nothing to do for the weekends where I like to explore new things in Paris, or I (usually) spend the breaks chatting with friends and getting food at the boulangeries near the site.
After my classes are finished for the day, I take the bus home, and I will make dinner for myself. About once a week I will ride a few stops, and get off at a different stop (close to home) to try a new food place. When I’m back home I will eat and finish all of my assignments for the week.
I got lucky with my housing assignment and everyone in the building (which are 8 of us) became friends, so we usually end up chatting together in our different rooms while planning fun activities for the weekend or debriefing about last weekend’s trips.
I find a lot of comfort in my normal chill days in Paris because I feel like I can find a lot of similarities with my normal chill days back home which makes study abroad feel much less daunting and way more relaxed, therefore Monday-Thursday I am way less stressed and overwhelmed by Paris.
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My name is Alicia Strader and I am currently a junior at Fordham University. I am an International Studies major and I have a minor in the French language. I enjoy reading, socializing with my friends, and trying new restaurants.