“I say it firmly, France will remain the country of liberty, of movements, of culture. An active, valiant, and a dynamic country”, President of France, François Hollande. France is not only popular for its culture but also as a pioneer destination to study abroad. Studying abroad does not only involve an academic experience for a student. It is a whole experience of moving out, new socializing groups and coping with the unfamiliarity with the norms of an alien land. While beginning a new chapter of life in an alien land, there are a few things that students must keep in mind for a better and smooth living. In this blog, we will be discussing 10 things that a student should not do in France!
Did you know: In 2018, around 325,000 international students chose to study in France, and this number is increasing yearly.
1. Not Learning French
On our list of things not to do in France as a student, the most important one is not learning the language before going to settle in France. To get the most out of your student life in France, learning French is a must. Be patient while you’re learning the language and do not give up soon because this would be highly rewarding. You can even enrol in French language learning courses as well to easily get a hang of it. In case of difficulties with a regular program, one can also look for an individualized course to get particular attention.
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3. Not Exploring ‘Tour France’
One of the biggest things not to do in France as a student would be to not utilize the student life in exploring some of the world’s most beautiful cities. As a student, you will have quite some public holidays giving you plenty of opportunities to tick numerous places off your bucket list. And contrary to proper belief, travel in France can actually be relatively affordable especially with a student pass. Thus, do not forget to visit the medieval cities, the Mediterranean beaches, ancient theatres, the extravagant fashion houses, classical art museums including the Louvre and monuments like the Eiffel Tower.
4. Delaying Your CAF Application
CAF or Caisses d’Allocations Familiales is simply a sum of money allocated to students by the government to help them pay for student accommodation. This is essentially a housing allowance that can help you reduce the expensive cost of living in France. If you are a student living in an apartment, a furnished rental, a studio or a flatshare for at least 8 months, in France, and if you are paying rent, then do not waste time delaying your CAF application. The process can be quite tiring, making it on our list of top 10 things not to do in France.
Pro Tip: Avoid speaking louder than everyone else, especially at night. When it comes to noise levels, the French are fairly respectful of others.
5. Not Exploring French Culture
If living a life as a student in France without exploring French culture, then you are truly missing a lot! There isn’t enough that can or has already been saying about this enriching culture. Since the 17th century, France has been regarded as a ‘centre of high culture. French culture has been significant in terms of world history and has made major contributions in the field of arts and science. Be it for fashion, cuisine, cheese, wine or cinema, France is well recognised across the globe. While you’re there as a student, take back as much as you can from their beautiful cultural experience.
6. Expecting Shops & Markets to Open on Sundays
One of the biggest mistakes that students make while beginning their journey in France as a student is to expect the local markets to be open on Sundays. To put it another way, the French are well recognised for keeping their family time intact. As a result, Sundays are frequently used to spend time with family and relax. Furthermore, the government has not permitted all stores in all locations to be open on Sundays. As a result, you won’t find as many places open on Sundays.
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7. Not Opening a Local Bank Account
Moving ahead with our list of top 10 things not to do in France, not opening a local bank account is among them too. Opening a local bank account should be top of your to-do list as a student. Having a local bank account will save your time and money, as you don’t have to pay unwanted foreign transaction fees and plenty of ATM withdrawal costs. Unlike other countries, bank account queries are run on an appointment-only basis in France. Thus, you must book an appointment and open a local bank account at the earliest.
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8. Not Using Student Discounts
One of the things that we highly recommend you not to do in France is probably not using the awesome student discounts and special offers that the country offers to international students. Student cards can bring discounts to you when you go to museums, the theatre, the cinema and more. Urban transit and inter-urban transit is cheaper for a student too. The urban transit companies in France offer preferred rates to students. They can have a really cheap three-course meal at just €3.30 (INR 286.25), in one of the 450 university restaurants in France. Carte Jeune is a yearly renewable pass for students that can cut one’s travelling costs between 25%-60% depending on journey and time of year. One can get it at just or just €50 (INR4338), One should not miss out on these benefits.
Did you know: Breakfast isn’t a popular routine in France. Even if they do, it’s either croissants, pastries, and brioche with coffee or hot chocolate, which are too sweet to start a day for an Indian taste palate. As a result, if you live in France or you must know how to prepare your own breakfast or would learn to eat the French way—that is, eat a lot at lunch and much more at dinner.
9. Missing Out on Scholarships
Education fees as an international student can be expensive, but higher education in France is heavily subsidized, even for international students. Thus, tuition fees are relatively low. There are also various scholarships by the French government or other institutions for international students like Eiffel Excellence Scholarships, École Normale Supérieure International Selection, Ampere Scholarships of Excellence at ENS de Lyon etc. One should seek out them as an international student and not commit the mistake of forgetting about things not to do in France.
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10. Taking Studies Casually
Now that we are towards the end of our list of things not to do in France, our final recommendation would be to not take studies casually. French universities operate on a work-hard-then-work-even-harder approach. Even though social calendars might vary with universities, there is a general trend of inclusion of societies, social events in colleges in France. The focus on studies is immense. Firstly, you’ll be expected to participate in lectures and seminars, so best start honing your note-taking skills. In France, lectures can start as early as 8 AM and end as late as between 8 to 9 PM.
These are the top 10 things you should not do in France while studying there as an international student. If you want to study abroad then our Leverage Edu experts can provide you with the right guidance to fulfil your dreams. Connect with us today!