A Letter from an Exchange Student
Dear fellow students!
It didn’t take many days in Paris to realise that all the clichés are true. At the end of August last year, I decided to run off to France and do and exchange program at the Sciences Po University in Paris, which is known for its studies in the fields of Political Sciences and International Relations.
I swear, I’d been here for four days when I realised that that yes, everyone here eats croissants, drinks espressos, smokes, walks around with hats and French kisses in public. Paris, la ville de l’amour. Being single in Paris is kind of like being alone on Christmas, but that’s alright because there are so many other things to love.
The French people also give themselves a good time for lunch and more often than not a glass of Bordeaux to wash down the cheese. Before long I myself wasn’t any better than the French. I didn’t realise it until I caught myself cursing the tourists that were in my way while I was crossing Pont des Arts, holding my baguette while getting late for class.
French bureaucracy is another true cliché. There is a 100% compulsory attendance to all courses and they take up to three months to deliver grades. The exchange program is still definitely worth it even though it’s no joke. It’s common that participation in class counts for 30% of the final grade, so if you show up for class without having read the material, you can get into serious trouble. But yeah, I guess I came here to study. Despite all this, I still have some time to spend an evening at the banks of La Seine, or at the Eiffel Tower drinking wine with new friends, visit museums or sneak into fashion shows. You might think that I’m exaggerating but this is all true. Paris is a dream.
From Paris with love,
Elín Margrét Böðvarsdóttir, student of Political Sciences
Translation: Þorgerður Anna Gunnarsdóttir