STUDY ABROAD: STUDYING IN FRANCE

Studying in France is a popular choice for many in the world and we are lucky to have Rosie share her experience studying abroad.

Rosie is the host and producer of Popcuria, a narrative travel podcast where locals tell their story.

We love working and living abroad so, on this blog, you will find a collection of Working Abroad interviews for those interested in making the big move.

Tell us about your experience working abroad

I lived as a full time student for two and a half years in Tours, France. Though I spent most of that time studying (and partying) I also had a handful of part-time jobs. Living abroad was incredibly rewarding and challenging.
 
It was my first experience living on my own and it was very difficult learning how to manage my life as an adult, for the first time, in a foreign country and language. I am so thankful for the experience, particularly the empathy it created for new arrivals to my own country, but I left a bit defeated.
 
However, once I arrived back home in the US, I saw how I had matured leaps and bounds past my peers (which presents its own challenges!). Ten years later, I know that I would not be the same badass I am today. But it’s only now that I wonder if I want to tackle living abroad, again.
Studying in France

What made you choose to travel and work abroad?

I loved French class! I wanted to become fluent in French and live out the authentic French experience. I thought I wanted to be an expat for the rest of my life.

Tell us why you decided this experience abroad?

I landed in Tours, France originally as an exchange student. The location was picked for me but it ended up being a great college town.
Studying in France

How did you come across this work experience? What was the interview and application process like?

Have you been able to travel whilst working abroad and where to?

I traveled all over Europe on a shoestring budget: couchsurfing, hitchhiking, eating way to much pasta and rice. I was a blast!

What is the most challenging thing about working abroad?

Everything was made more challenging by the language barrier. People had a particularly hard time understanding me on the phone because of my accent. Every interaction dealing with the electricity, internet, bank, etc. was really difficult.
 
I also made incorrect assumptions about how my professors or customer service professionals would make decisions or handle my concerns. I’m very direct, even for an American, and I routinely felt like important information was left unsaid. You were just suppose to know. Looking back now, this would likely be true in almost all foreign experiences, not just a French-American exchange.

What does a typical day look like for you?

My day as a French student didn’t look that different than my days as an American student. The key differences for me was that I was treated as an adult because I was over 18 (and under 21).
 
I had a great social life filled with sitting in cafes and brasseries – and no binge drinking. I also couldn’t get over how old all the buildings were. Walking through the cobblestone streets of the historic area always amazed me – the buildings were older than my country!
Studying in France

Are you able to fund your travels with your position working abroad? Are you able to save much?

I had some money saved up from summer jobs back home. I was only ever able to make pocket change while in France. But I was a full-time student.

What is the most expensive place you have travelled to whilst working abroad?

Russia – two week trip. It was a fabulous experience. It felt pretty daring as an 18 year old to travel there alone.

What is the cheapest place you have travelled to whilst working abroad?

Hungary in January. It was freezing and everything was cheap.

What has been your favourite place to visit in the world and why?

Ilulissat, Greenland – incredible to see the icebergs floating by. The town itself also felt very untouched.
Studying in France

What ‘must pack’ items would you recommend for those looking to travel abroad?

 

Pack light, bring a “comfort” item or two, get what you need there.

What advise would you give to someone thinking about moving abroad?

 

Go for it! Expect that it will be harder than you anticipate because of what you can’t anticipate. Have an exit strategy. And people’s experiences living abroad will be different depending on the country (and language).
 
My experience living in France showed me that what tourists see is just the beginning of what’s going on in the country. You have to talk to the people living there to really get a feel.

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Studying in France
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