It’s a little bit hard to sum up a year when so much has happened with me. I’m a Masters student in France and I’m writing this based on my own experience.
My first trip to France was as a student and not a tourist. It’s everything but “la vie en rose”… I mean it’s a really beautiful country, safe and easy, but it’s really challenging. You go through a lot of good and bad moments, different kinds of experiences, and you have to be nice and stay calm all the time when you have to deal with really weird people.
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Forget about the French you learned in School…
You know the French you learn in school and are so proud of going to France knowing its language. Forget about it and just imagine yourself speaking formal Arabic in Lebanon and you will know why.
If you can handle it, try spending most of your time with Frenchies and see what the real French is all about and then laugh at yourself.
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France is the best way to test your patience…
French people are really really nice!! That’s something you probably don’t know if you have never visited the country before; you are greeted the whole time by friends, strangers, SDF (homeless people), and sometimes dogs…why not since they are humans too…
You have to say “Bonjour” to everyone you meet even strangers! Whether you feel like it or not, you have to greet people you hate or try to avoid!!
And of course, after the Bonjour la Bise, French people will give you 2 kisses. Don’t make them 3 because it will look weird unless you meet a good looking girl/guy: “I’m Lebanese and you know in Lebanon…”
The thing is that after kissing more than 15 people a day, you will most probably catch a virus and get sick. Maybe you’ll just catch lice.
P.S.: French people are not so hygienic and I leave the rest to your imagination.
So Much Paperwork, they even invent papers to keep you busy!
Paperwork is a major problem that you will surely face in France whether you’re a new to the country or not. You have to deal with insurance papers, visas, bank documents and many other legal transactions daily. Patience is your only way to get through it. You will always feel like you’re running out of time and failing to meet deadlines. Have a little patience again.
Cold and clouds make it the most depressing country!
I also have to mention the weather if you are in Paris or Normandy like my case (it’s Rouen btw, you really don’t wanna go there). Weather is really a serious problem. In fact: 1/5 people in France have experienced depression which makes France the most depressing country in the world. (France 24)
Part of this depression goes to the fact that it’s always cloudy, cold, and raining, even in June and July.
It really has been a great experience and there’s only so much that you can like!
I know I have been a bit negative in this article but despite all of the bad points, it really has been a great experience; I’m so excited and motivated to go back and see what this year holds for me.
Here’s s what I really like about the country.
- Transportation: train,TGV, RER, metro, bus : life is easy… If we had this in Lebanon I would have never left the country (a little bit of safety also won’t hurt anyone
- Fashion is on a different level, (but I still in believe that Lebanese people dress better.
- I have seen how parents treat their kids, they are really amazing, supportive, and cool. Just watch Gad al Maleh – Le blond and you will get the whole picture.
- If you cook, clean, or do everything by yourself, your mom would be proud and you would be a hell of a champion!!
- You feel smart because you can speak at least 3 languages, considering their funny English accent,French people will look up to you, and even ask you for help since they only know French. But don’t be like “Kiss me Im lebanese”, they don’t care.
- They just know Beirut is a beautiful city and that Lebanese people know how to party. They will ask you if it’s true that you live day to day and don’t care about tomorrow, and of course that all you do in Lebanon is party. That’s what they know about us…impressive
- I love it when they ask me how I write Arabic, and why we write it on the left not like Latin letters but I’m too dumb to answer that.
- If you are a girl, you will enjoy peace, until you meet a Lebanese or Arab guy across the streets of Paris or wherever it is; Arabs and Lebanese guys won’t leave you alone and will bother you and will even creep you out.
- I got to experience that feeling when you hear someone speaking Lebanese, you be so excited like OH he’s from Lebanon I miss my country!!
- They love Lebanese food!! And Fairuz! I felt proud to be Lebanese more than I did back home.
- A normal day at work for a Frenchy : pause café, cigarette, lunch, pause café, again pause café and too much gossip! And they tell you Lebanese are not serious people!
- Gossip! talk as much as u want about her hair and her dress, her Gothic style… she just won’t understand a word… winner
- I sounded like an alien once when I was talking about the electricity problem at my country.
- Erasmus: you just meet people from different countries, Spanish people, REALLY Cute spanish guys with their French accent :D aww :$… I found out that they are a lot like us and are really friendly people unlike our Frenches…it’s not that easy to make French friends.
- Unlimited phone calls, msg, internet: D for only 20 euro!! Alfa and Touch??!! Lebanese people get excited when Alfa offers 500 mb for 10$.
- Stade de France!! Zlatannn Ibrahimovic … don’t have to wonder why I support psg now.
- Eiffel tour, Notre Dame de Paris, Roland Garros…Sous le ciel de Paris …really beautiful places to visit.
- Visiting Europe have never been that easy :D
- Unlike other cities, Paris is the city that never sleeps, reminds me of Beirut except there is no beach, cloudy, still you can fall in love with this city. It will become your inspiration.
So if you’re considering to continue your studies abroad. Bonne chance!