GUEST POST: My first month as a student in France

It has now been about a month since I moved to France and Paris to study dentistry at Paris University, Sorbonne. My impressions have been numerous and sometimes I have also been surprised in different ways.

What struck me the most since I came here is the fact that you are incredibly independent, ie. You have to take everything in your own hands to make things happen, if you do not yourself, it never happens. One can for example get a schedule that does not go hand in hand, but to solve it, you can hunt the study supervisors to ask them for help, it’s not somebody taking the time to make sure that all the students’ schedules go together. One reason for this may be that we are so incredibly many students, especially those who go first year, when there is a law in France saying that all citizens who want to be entitled to college education, the state universities can not deny an applicant, In other words, there is no limited number of seats, which unfortunately often leads to unjustified students giving college studies a chance that often does not lead far.

Another thing that differs from schools in Norway (now, I mean, for example, upper secondary schools since I have not attended college in Sweden and can not compare this way) is how little technology is used. Instead of automating the system and registering each student electronically, I have had to hand in about 4 filled sheets to different professors, so that they check their students. The same applies to the paintings the teachers write. Here we are not talking about any remote, modern whiteboard boards that some of the classrooms at my high school had. Here we talk super oldschool griffeltavlor everywhere.

As far as the studies themselves are concerned, I have not experienced particularly big difficulties with the language, maybe it is because I prepared it before, by imagining myself that it would be difficult at the beginning but learning over time. And so, you learn very quickly over time. However, sometimes I may feel frustrated by not being able to express myself equally well in essay writing and the like. As far as life in Paris is concerned, it is absolutely wonderful. I think Paris is a city that makes one happy just by the atmosphere in the city. Here, there are always things to do, whether you are artistic, fashionable, party or what you may be interested in.

One thing to be prepared for, however, is the difficulty in finding accommodation. If you plan to rent an apartment, the landlord often wants a “guarantor”, what we in Norway call for someone to go to the castle about. Often, the guarantor must be French and all his documents (payroll, job certificate, etc.) are in French for the landlord to agree to rent the apartment, which makes it extremely difficult for foreign students to find accommodation. Another option for this is to open an account at the bank where you lock approximately six months – one year’s rent, so that the landlord can be sure that the guest has the money available to pay the rent. When you leave the apartment, the account will be opened again and you will receive your money. This may sound easier, however, given that six month rent corresponds to about 45,000 norwegian kronor, maybe it is not as obvious.

In addition, the organization “Crous” helps students find accommodation. To get help from them, you must submit their application between January and April for the coming academic year. Therefore, it is difficult to get help from them when you read the first year, when you do not even know if you are taken in January – April (the answers will be in the summer.) It is therefore not impossible to find a place to live in Paris, but one must be prepared for the difficulty, it is because of not giving up and, above all, starting to look in time. Personally, I was lucky enough to know someone who could help me, but it took time before I found myself correct.

This entry was posted in My Blog.