EXPECTATIONS VS. REALITY

Authored by:
Esaaba A.

Hello everyone, this is Esaaba and this is officially my first post on typepad. Hurrayyy!!! Yaayyy me!!

Well, for my first post, I will be talking about the expectations I had prior to my arrival in Paris and their realities once I got here. I have made a list of FIVE(5) of which I will be sharing with you.

  1. WEATHER

Coming from the African continent, Ghana to be precise I was physically and probably not emotionally prepared for the cold I came to meet. Well, prior to my arrival I had been told it was going to be cold, but did I expect it to be this cold?...the answer is NO. I was Not READYYYY. I had to cover up all the time the first few days for my body to be able to adjust well. My lesson, pack well...My advice to everyone getting ready to come abroad; anticipate and pack for all weather conditions. You will be glad you did.

2. EXPLORING THE CITY

Prior to coming here I thought I will have a lot of time to go all around Paris, exploring and enjoying my Parisian life all the time. I knew I was coming as a student but I was hoping to be very touristy too. The reality on the ground is that that is not entirely possible. Don't get me wrong I have been to some very amazing places here in the city but it is different when you are a student with other commitments and when you are on a leisurely holiday. A gap year is not a year for fun...you have every sing
le day in your life for that. A gap year is for you to develop and build yourself and that is exactly what CIEE gives you. their program is really amazing and the art history course helps you to explore Paris and understand the reason why things are so. Thank you CIEE!

3. CLASSES

Being fresh out of high school, one major reason why people take gap years is that they will want to relax a little before going on to the next phase of their school lives. So well I expected the classes to be a bit more relaxed but woosh that did not happen. The classes at the Sorbonne are especially challenging but once you get past the shock of the fact that university and high school are two different things you will be fine. Just psyche yourself to study and you will soar.

4. METRO

So I had heard about the metro and I had personally experienced a little bit of it whenever I was in England but it is very different in Paris. Apart from the language which can be troubling for non-french speakers, it can be difficult reading the maps in the metro and it is usually very difficult to ask anyone for help. Don't worry this should not deter you, just put your geographical lenses on and you will be a pro in the metro in no time. One thing that usually helps is taking note of the landmarks around you and knowing your metro exits.

5. FOOD

I was ready for this...or so I thought. The bread, the cheese, the fresh fruit and vegetables but the truth is I never thought I would miss the food from home. I do. I miss it and I crave it. Most people coming to Paris just cannot wait to get here. They want to taste all the Parisian foods because well let's face it Ratatouille encouraged us and the exotic names connered and persuaded us. France has amazing food, true, however they is still no place like home. No matter where you go there is always going to be something that you will miss that you will never be able to get in a foreign land, especially if you are coming from Africa.

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