Confessions of an NI girl in Paris
Contrary to what you see on Instagram, she doesn't spend her weekends eating baguettes at the Eiffel Tower, says International Business with French undergraduate, Francesca Morelli
Confession 1: The early starts are scarier than the culture shock.
Francesca enjoying some downtime in Paris
When I arrived here, I was smacked in the face with 9-6 life. Oh. My. God. WHY DID NO ONE WARN ME. Hello?! Fair enough, we all knew it was going to be hard coming here and starting a new job, new language, new culture etc, but the whole world failed to mention the transition from student life to 9-6 office life (in a really challenging job may I add!). OUCH. I thought I led a tired life getting up at 5.45am every morning to train, go to uni, and go back to training again. Nope. This is exhausting. So exhausting in fact, that me and my roommate (angel sent from heaven) Sarah, spend our weekends in a pool of guilt lying in bed watching TV, scrolling for hours, and drinking stupid amounts of home tea. I know, we’re in Paris, we should be exploring, soaking up the culture etc etc etc, which brings me onto my next point.
Confession 2: We take for granted how easy home is.
Sampling some beers in Brussels
Gone are the days I could dander down to Sinnamon for a latte, dander into town, pop to a friends, go to the gym, all in one day. Here, you wanna go for a coffee in the centre? Be prepared to be out all day, out a fortune, and return home minus energy. To do anything here is so much effort. Maybe I’m just incredibly lazy, but oh my goodness, living in a big city means it takes so much time and energy even to go out for a coffee. No jumping in the car! No using your spare change to pay for the coffee! Me and Sarah got coffee and cake yesterday, one latte and one slice of lemon meringue pie each. 27 EUROS. If there was ever a time for a laugh or cry situation….
Confession 3: Big city living is not for me.
Sightseeing in Paris
Don’t get me wrong, I realise how lucky I am living in one of the most amazing cities in the world, learning a new language and working in a proper job for the next 9 months. And there are days I look around me and think oh my god I love Paris. And I do! I really do. It’s honestly a beautiful city with- wait for it- AMAZING PEOPLE. I’ve realised that Parisiens get such a bad rep because the only people that tourists ever come into contact with are waiters and cashiers who- admittedly- can be a nightmare. But once they think you’re one of them- you’re in. Parisiens are the most polite, friendly, and loyal people ever. But while I do love Paris, I don’t think big city life is for me. And like any relationship, new job, new experience; if it doesn’t teach you what you want in life, it teaches you what you don’t want. And that’s just as valuable, right?
Confession 4: Instagram doesn't tell the whole story
Francesca in Bruges
Newsflash: I don’t spend my weekends climbing the Eiffel tower with a baguette in hand whist muttering fluent French. Sometimes, I wash my facemask off, stick on X factor, and relax in preparation for the week ahead. Don’t let the Instagrams fool you:whether you’re a year abroad student worrying that they’re not having the best time EVER, or someone sitting at home feeling jealous of your mates living it up in a foreign country, remember that me - and most of my year abroad pals - take the odd snap when we’re actually doing something. I’m not about to Insta my beautiful green face and my pyjama attire on a lazy Sunday afternoon. If you’re like me, just doing your thing and trying to get through, we’re doing just fine.
BSc International Business with French | 3rd Year | Northern Ireland
I am 21 years old currently working in a startup in the centre of Paris from August '17 to June '18 for my year abroad. I have been a competitive rower for 7 years, and I am currently a member of Queens University Belfast Ladies Boat Club. I come from an Italian family, and so I have grown up with a love for Europe and European languages. I’d like to write about my year abroad for what it really is, and hopefully help someone who is planning to move here next year; no sugarcoating allowed!
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