This article comes from a long thought about how the foreign students coming to UPEC could enjoy their stay -the best possible . Lot of pieces of advice could be given but it seems clear that two very main points cannot -definitly- be avoided .
I did think about how both tough and magic a exchange program is : plenty of experiences and so much to learn is blantantly quite a chance to feel as deeply as possible the culture of France and the quality of UPEC University .
Nevertheless this kind of occasion doesn't happen that much ( unfortunatly...) and knowing how former exchange-program students did learn to get the best of their semester or year in France can be In fine quite useful .
I will use the two pieces of advice two american girls gave me : Both did - at least seemingly - really enjoy their stay . But both were very inflexible about their leitmotivs .
Premier conseil : " I come to France to learn French and I know it is the occasion of my life to maximise my skills in French language"
When you arrive in a foreign country in the beginning you do feel a bit lost and after all it is normal and even maybe nicely thrilling . In a University especially in classes where there's a lot of foreign students you will have an easy access to people of your own language and you will definitly feel a bit more comfortable as if the people of your own culture are a kind of link to you country . Nevertheless if you plan to learn maximum of French and to learn as much as an exchange program can allow you to , you will have to meet French students . UPEC is a good place for that , there're clubs for extra-curriculum activities where you can meet French students , there're an association that can help you and lead you .
You can really meet people in the cafeteria . There is no proper reason to be afraid of seductive behaviours if you do settle things rapidly . Often I did find people who would like to speak a foreign language and would be glad to spend time to speak french if in exchange you do speak them your home-language . If you don't find why not leaving a note on one of the University board or telling it to a teacher that teaches your language to French students ... I am just giving some possibilities and you have so many ways to do . Other very useful way to learn French : going to the movies . Paris has lot of cinemas but they are quite expensive for a student ( around 8 to 11 euros) , if you do search a bit you will find cinemas for less than 6 euros . Think of all the "cinema d'arts et d'essais" where you can broad your cinematographic culture and in the same time learning french with a delighting old French movie for a little price . In little shops called "kiosque" or in some "Presses" you can find a paper for less than 50 cents which tells you everything about culture in Paris and around for the week . Well but this is much more about the second "conseil" ...
Second Conseil : " I come to France and especially to UPEC which means I am in a very enjoyable place for learning French culture and civilization . "
Admittedly you will hear about the Louvre, maybe you will want to go to the Eiffel tower and enjoy Montmatre and Champs Elysees . No comment : It is very beautiful and you are right of course it is somehow places "to do". But Paris is full of wonderfull and magic places that are more 'hidden'. Here are some little tracks .
Did you know that even if so many people come to Parc du Luxembourg they never see the third Statue of Liberty ( one in the 16th , one in NY and one - very little one - in Parc du Luxembourg , 5th ) because it is a bit hidden . Let say I don't tell you where it is so you can enjoy searching it .
Why not going in Parc Monceau and in the same time just maybe cast a glance to the original chinese pagode very close to it ? Actually I tell you that since being in Parc Monceau you will also be quite close to the cimetiére Pére Lachaise where so many French great men are burried .
You love having quite times to read the heavy books of Balzac ?
Did you know you can visit the dedicated museum to the great writer ( 16th ) . Personally I do prefer the Hugo's : if you go there you will necessarily see the place du Louvre which is so charming .
Hope these two "conseils" can help you enjoy your exchange program .