A Day in the Life: Paris Edition

Julia Himmelberger
December 6, 2021

When I was looking at study abroad programs, I read about all the excursions and fun extra activities offered, but what I really wanted to know was what a normal day looked like for a student. So, here's a look into my daily life in Paris! 

My Mondays/Wednesdays

On Mondays, I don’t have class until 1:15 (France and Francophone Africa), so in the morning I usually go grocery shopping, exercise, or do homework. If I don't have much homework, I'll go to a museum or walk around the city. In my 1:15 class, we're learning about the history of France's colonization of Africa. It is one of my harder classes (I had to write a 12 page paper for it! in French!) but I am learning a lot in it and find the topic very important and interesting. After my 1:15 class, I have my sociology class at the Sorbonne at 4:00, so I get home around 7pm and eat dinner and do homework. My Sorbonne class is on the sociology of work and it is both the easiest and hardest class I have. It's easy because it is one day a week, I don't have any homework in it, and don't have any tests until the final. It's hard because the professor speaks extremely fast (because the class is all French students) and not having homework/tests before the final means I don't have a way to see what I know. BUT I have made two friends in the class, Luce and Kiessée (both from Paris) who make it better! We chat during class and on the metro home, and they're so fun to talk to! I've learned a lot about French culture from them.

Wednesdays are the same except I don’t have my Sorbonne class, so there’s more time to explore Paris (or do homework, depending on the week)! 

My Tuesday/Thursdays (earlier morning and more classes calls for a more thorough play-by-play)

7:15 Wake-up to my alarm, open my balcony door for some fresh air. Get dressed, brush teeth, and pack my backpack.

7:35 Walk 3 minutes to the boulangerie. Order half a baguette and a chocolate croissant. Walk back with the warm goodies!

7:45 Enter the shared kitchen to make breakfast. Usually this is yogurt with granola and fruit and a chocolate croissant or baguette with jam. Pack a lunch (usually a PB&J baguette or leftovers from dinner the night before). 

8:10 Leave my apartment, meet other IES Abroad students in the lobby, and walk to the metro station together! (8ish minutes)

8:18 Hop on the metro, ride 12 minutes, get off, and switch trains. Ride another 15 minutes.

8:45 Get off the metro and walk 8 minutes to class at IES Abroad. 

9:00 French class! All my classes are in French, but in this one I learn about French culture and grammar so that I can apply this knowledge to my other classes and everyday life!

10:30 Run across the street for a coffee from the local boulangerie (Yes, I’m a coffee drinker now!—Abroad changed me—)

10:45 Conversations and Current Events class! In this class, we research the current events in France and the world, and then discuss them! Our professor gives us background information about the history of France and its politics to help us understand what’s going on in the country. This class is my favorite! I love talking about politics and current events :)

12:15 Eat the lunch I brought with friends in the courtyard. Discuss our weekend plans, our classes, and everything in between!

1:00 Do some homework, study, or read. Perhaps walk down the street to the open market to purchase some fresh cheese or vegetables for dinner later.

3:00 Histories and Legends of Paris class! In this class, we’re learning about the history of Paris through its people and places. We go on field trips to many of the iconic landmarks of Paris (Sainte-Chapelle, Le Marais, Panthéon, etc.)

4:30 Take the metro back home for homework and make dinner! I share a kitchen with other IES Abroad students, so we cook together and socialize. It's a great way to debrief the day, hear about other people's adventures, and just spend quality time together!

On weekends, you can find me exploring Paris, France, or Europe! I’ve taken trips to Holland and Belgium, Italy, and Spain, as well as some day trips to regions in France. When I stay in Paris, I like to go out for dinner or happy hour with friends, go to pick-up frisbee on Sunday morning, and then go to my favorite library, la Bibliothèque Sainte-Geneviève. It is absolutely gorgeous, and also reminds me of my favorite study room at my college (the Reference Room, for those Oles out there!)

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Julia Himmelberger

<p>Hi! My name is Julia (she/her) and I'm from Wellesley, MA. I study French and Political Science at St. Olaf College. I love to read, play ultimate frisbee, and swim!</p>

2021 Fall
Home University:
St. Olaf College
Wellesley, MA
French Language
Political Science
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