When I first found out that I was coming to Paris for my fall semester, I certainly had a plethora of questions that I just felt lost in. Where was I going to live? Was i going to have a roommate? Did I have to take a French class? What’s the best way to get cash in Europe? Should I open a new credit card? What happens if I do not fill out my Visa form on time? Would I not be allowed into the country?
All these questions were running through my mind and I found myself quite overwhelmed. So overwhelmed in fact that I considered not coming all together. However, I obviously decided against that decision and I will always be grateful that I made that decision. There are definitely some pieces of advice I would offer to any future students planning on studying abroad at NYU Paris.
First and foremost, please listen and stay in contact with your Study Away Advisor. With all my dizziness of questions my Study Away Advisor was a huge help. She sent out weekly emails jam packed with helpful information about studying abroad. She was also there to answer any questions about studying abroad lifestyle, visa questions, and if she didn’t no the answer to my question she knew exactly who to turn me over to. Your Study Away Advisor wants you to have the best study abroad experience as you can and they will try their very best to make this big transition as smooth as possible. I am extremely grateful for how my Study Away Advisor kept in contact with us and made sure we were on the right track. She made us feel very safe and informed throughout the whole process.
Another piece of advice I would offer to someone studying abroad would to be, if planning of travelling, to wait to book travelling plans until after you’ve arrived. I waited to book travelling until after I arrived in Paris and I’m happy I did. I wanted to wait and see where I would want to go and if there was anyone I would meet in Paris that I would want to go with. Since arriving I made friends in the program and went on many trips wight them. Overall, I’ve went on six trips and all were made with friends I had made throughout the semester. If I had made travel plans before I had gotten to Paris, I would’ve been restricted to a travel schedule and I probably would not have been able to travel with as many people as I did.
On the same token, my largest piece of advice would be to travel. Living in Europe is completely different than living in the states. Getting to another country only takes a couple of hours by bus, train, or plane. Your time studying abroad is probably a once in a lifetime opportunity to travel as frequently as possible. In one semester, I’ve been two six different countries and I still have another trip planned. Travelling experiences you to new places, food, cultures, and lifestyles. Travelling has one hundred percent been the highlight of my study abroad experience. Exploring new lands has been refreshing and is the perfect way to spend a weekend. There’s just nothing like the feeling of being able to go to on a spontaneous weekend trip to another country.
Studying abroad is a certainly exciting and exhilarating experience, but I know from experience that it could be very overwhelming. Do not be afraid to ask any question that comes to your mind. Someone will without a doubt be there for you to help you through this very big change in your life. Be prepared for a huge culture shock and remember to just be open minded. That’s the biggest piece of advice I could give to anyone studying abroad. Keeping an open mind will open you up to a whole new world of cultures and ideas that you would have never thought was there. It’s certainly been a life changing experience.
- Saint Vitus Cathedral in Prague: Jason Vu