Paris, France - romantic, tough, particular, expensive, cultural
I worked in Paris so I found it quite difficult to make friends at first, as most of the people at the office were older than me. Housing was also a pretty tricky affair, as you practically need to present your bank statements to get anywhere! Having said that, Paris is full of life and cool places to go to, particularly the Marais which has so much charm. I really learnt a lot about food whilst I was out there, and once I got past the first few important milestones (getting a flat, settling in, making some French friends), I really enjoyed my time out there. Paris is a capital city and a pretty tough one at that, so make sure you say yes to everything and you don't take it too personally if people don't smile - it's part and parcel of being a true Parisien.
Useful local words: 'C'est pas possible, Mademoiselle', 'CAF', 'fonctionnaire', 'p'tit ponch'.
What not to pack: Most student clothes, as I had to look quite smart at the office.
What to pack: Some teabags and comfort food from home.
Couldn't have done without: ALL my documentation from home.
Word of advice: Don't be put off by the initial unfriendliness of Parisians - you'll soon fit in and love this city. Work can also be a little hard to get used to, but be polite and it will take you a long way.
Francis, French and Spanish, Bristol University
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