What degree are you enrolled in, and what is your major?
Bachelor of Arts (Languages) - Majors in French, Italian and Linguistics.
Where are you on exchange (Country/City/University)?
Paris IV (La Sorbonne), Paris, France.
What made you decide to apply for this exchange?
My degree has a required exchange component however the reason I applied for this exchange (and for the degree) was to return to France to perfect my French, study at an overseas institution, experience another culture and become more independent.
What has been your favourite part of the experience so far?
Travelling! It seems silly to say that I prefer to leave the city where I'm living as Paris is an amazing city, but living in Europe really gives you the opportunity to discover so many different languages, countries and cultures without having to travel too far. As an Australian, being so close to so many countries is something I had to take advantage of!
What has been the most challenging aspect of the experience so far?
The initial organisation can be a bit overwhelming, sorting out bank accounts, phone numbers, apartments, rent, transport passes, university admin etc. It's sometimes difficult to understand how the French system works and can be frustrating having to wait around for days or weeks to organise your life.
What advice would you give to someone considering going on exchange (in general, or at this location in particular):
Be a "Yes man". Say 'yes' to any and every opportunity that presents itself. You may be exhausted or just want to sleep or study, but the more you say 'yes' the more you'll really get the most out of your experiences. There are so many times I've been asked to do something I wasn't particularly keen about or wanted to do, but they turned out to be some of the best experiences where you really get to see parts of the city you wouldn't otherwise have seen, and meet people (and especially locals) who you wouldn't have spoken to otherwise.
What is a “must visit” spot for someone coming to your host city?
The park Buttes Chaumont in the north of Paris is beautiful. There's a bar inside the park called Rosa Bonheur which is amazing in the summertime, with huge tables outside and heaps of people relaxing at the end of the day. Reminds me of the Courthouse in Newtown, very chilled vibe and lots of friendly people.
How has the scholarship you received helped you to pursue your academic and personal goals?
The scholarship helped me to choose an apartment that was slightly more expensive than I would have picked, but far more central than anything else I'd looked at. The comfort of the apartment, its location and proximity to the centre of town, plus the locals in the area were part of the reason I applied to stay another semester!