Mon Voyage #3: The Settling In

One month in and life has begun to feel slightly more settled. Welcome back to the series where I bring you along on my life in Paris!

 

If you read my last article in the series you’d know that the first few weeks here were quite the struggle in terms of isolation. Trying to make friends in a foreign city during a pandemic isn’t the easiest task let me tell you. But after making it to the one month mark, it’s safe to say I now feel a lot more relaxed and at home here. 

 

Last week I attended a few Erasmus organised meet-ups which really helped to put myself out there and make friends. Visiting places – predominantly parks, let’s be honest, including the Jardin du Luxembourg, the Panthéon, and the Eiffel Tower (of course) has made me truly fall in love with the city. Plus, without the usual mass of tourists, it feels all the more special to be able to explore. With bars and restaurants also open for takeaway food and drink, grabbing a pint outside has become our go-to hobby. Even in the snow people can’t resist a cheeky pint. 

 

As I started uni in the French beginners class, the year abroad always seemed like a challenging prospect. Yet being immersed in the culture and language has already begun to improve my skills, even if it’s not that noticeable yet. For example, whilst meeting other Erasmus students French sometimes becomes the default language in order for everyone to understand the conversation and despite most people speaking English (handy for me). Some easier ways I’ve found to practice the language is just to have a couple of drinks with friends and go from there. This method may not be encouraged by lecturers, and perhaps it’s more of a personal approach, but the added confidence and relaxation from having some drinks has made it a lot easier to practice my French. Even playing ‘ring of fire’ where someone made a rule to not speak English for the rest of the game was a fun, laid back way to incorporate some practice. Language learning doesn’t have to be all grammar rules and conjugations; the smallest of interactions or experiences may teach you something new.

 

(Side note: I’m not encouraging you to get wasted every time you want to practice foreign languages. Do what works for you)

 

In other news, this weekend I’ll be visiting Normandy and Bretagne which is exciting! Despite having a curfew from 6pm-6am and wearing masks everywhere you go in France, we’re still allowed to travel to other areas of the country which is somewhat unusual. But I’m also not complaining that’s for sure. I’ll update you on the trip in my next article, along with any other insights I discover. 

My main takeaways: the more you put yourself out there, the more you’ll get in return. Whether that’s with meeting people or practicing your language, sometimes you just have to bite the bullet and go for it.