Tag Archives: cultural differneces


Check out these Twenty in Paris Approved Articles on the Paris Study Abroad Experience

(photo by: bostinno.streetwise.co)

I came across these 5 articles, each offering something unique about Paris, French culture or the study abroad experience. When preparing to study abroad, it is important to look up all types of information on any available source.

This first article is more along the lines of the typical ‘Yeah, I’m in Paris and I’m going on a food tour!” type blog but the student is doing something really neat by visiting and blogging about every district in Paris. There are 20 unique districts in Paris and It’s important to visit each one to get a better understanding and appreciation of the city.



The second article is an even worse blog than the 1st in the regard where it’s the perfect summer abroad in Paris, the student merely brushes over the experience of taking classes abroad, and goes right into all the food she’s eating. The only post of substance I could find was about a trip to Disneyland Paris which gives great insight into the European customs and culture on personal space, PDA, and helping strangers.



The third article is a video from Comme une Française- if you haven’t signed up for her free mailing list, you really need to! These videos are so helpful and fun about different aspects of French culture and language. This video is on 5 things that scare non-French people about French culture. Andrea’s tips- watch it and then know what to expect. Don’t be afraid of the differences! Remember , YOU are the new one, not the French.



Dating is something that I never cover on this blog- why? Because I have no experience dating abroad (and I’m not sure if my guest bloggers do). So when I find an article about an aspect of life abroad that I don’t go into (like dating), I get real excited to share it. Here is an article from My French Life about dating in France.



One area that we can never go too much into, is how to better learn French. It is the most important aspect to the Paris (or anywhere else in France) study abroad experience. If you’re not speaking and learning French, then you’re only having a superficial experience abroad. The French are extremely proud of their language. They are in love with it. To not speak it while staying there is considered disrespectful and will only distance you from the culture. This article from My French Life goes over the different types of learners to help you identify which one you are and how to make the most of that style when learning French.



Should You Visit Home During A Long Time Abroad

(Featured photo by: thecrowdwire.org)

I feel like this is one of the hardest questions you face when you’re planning a trip abroad for ten months to one year. The pros and cons are all there- you shouldn’t go home because then you may not want to return to the foreign country, but then again it can be like recharging your battery to go home and see family, etc. Most of it depends on the individual person, but sometimes the situation is easier to read.

The younger you are, the more you should NOT visit home, at least considering that the time is not more than one year. Why? Because the less experience you have being away from home, the more you’ll be tempted to simply return home for good and miss out on so many wonderful opportunities abroad. Of course, it’s hard to put an age range on this, but the age range of study abroad-ers from about 18 to 24 is probably the hardest hit. However, I would say that it’s more accurately those who are going abroad on their own for the first time, especially the first time for a one-year duration, that are most encouraged to stick out the long stay without the visit back home.

If finances are hard, even for your parents/guardians, don’t empty that savings account just because the chance to go home is really nice. Being a young person abroad, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll be able to afford the tickets home and back, which means you’ll be leaning on others for the expenses. Some travelers are lucky enough to go home when desired, but don’t put that pressure on family if they don’t really have the funds either. My advice is to ask them for a care package instead. It can still be pricey to send a box abroad, but it’s nothing compared to a plane ticket, and some little things from home make a huge difference in your happiness abroad.

Despite these important factors, I think the most crucial one is to plan from the beginning whether or not you’ll go home. If you wait to decide until you’re a few months in to see if you have the time/money, the chance is that you’ll be making the decision during your “down” time on the “W scale”, which will make you want to go home for the wrong reasons. And if you don’t plan on going home and it works out as a happy accident, great! But if you plan to go home and then it falls through because of lack of preparation, you’re going to be in for a rough ride. Your ducks have to be in a row no matter where or when you’re traveling! This has been my most recent problem and now the homesickness is worse than before.
Lots of big decisions have to be made before your time abroad, and whether or not to go home is a huge part of that. Write out the pros and cons, evaluate your own personality and situation, and make a choice that you can stick to. But if you can’t go home- don’t despair! Most families can afford small care packages, or if not, little mementos and lots of Skype calls will do the trick. It’s not the end of the world to be away from home for a year. Stay positive and have fun!


Chelsea Fairless

Chelsea is a home-bred Texan currently living in Geneva, Switzerland and studying French at the University of Geneva, while living and working with a family as a part-time nanny. She has been living in the Geneva area since August 2012. You can follow more of her story on her blog http://parolepassport.blogspot.com/ and other social media sites.

Sneak Peek at Up-coming Posts

Bonjour mes amis,

I’m sorry I didn’t have a post for you hier. I went to a crazy French flechettes soirée Thursday night and I didn’t get home until real late which means that my old lady butt was not waking up at 5am as usual on Friday morning. But just in case you were wondering, if we ever cross paths at Sherlocks Pub in Addison, TX, I am a mean dart player so be prepared to bring your best game  :)

280px-Darts_in_a_dartboard(Fléchettes dans une cible (darts on a target / dart board) by fr.wikipedia.org)

Besides honing my French and dart skills, I am also working on 2 new posts to be featured real soon. Here’s a sneak peek:

Number-One-star-trek-women-8427144-750-600(photo by: www.fanpop.com. Because Nurse Chapel was a better Number One in 1 episode than Commander Riker was in 7 seasons)

10 ways studying abroad prepares you for real life

Studying abroad is not just a one-time thing you did in college. It’s an experience that will impact your entire life- personal and professional. We’ll discuss what those things are and how they’ll make their impact. Stay tuned to find out.


21300641(photo by: hellaoccupyoakland.org)

Selling Reality: Why do people like to buy the idea of dreams?

As a culture, Americans love to buy the idea of dreams. But should study abroad ever be marketed the same way as Hollywood movies? I don’t think so. There is a difference between reality and fantasy and we’ll delve into our fascination with fantasy and how there is a growing trend for to buy reality, especially with the study abroad experience. Check back to find out more in this post.

What’s trending on Twenty in Paris?

SE terms

These are the most unique and diverse search teams that I have ever seen. Let’s give a woohoo to the introverts who want to study abroad!

Don’t forget! The Twenty in Paris  “How to pack for studying abroad” video series is going to début very soon. I’ll also be having some familiar faces come back with guest posts. So lots is going on and if you didn’t check them out already, here’s 2 guests posts I did recently on The Study Abroad Guru and GoAbroad.com. For the GoAbroad site (image below) the post is the column on the right with the red building titled “How to Study Abroad in Paris.”
guest post
Bon weekend – Andrea

Twenty in Paris Approved Blogs

Bon weekend à tous! Here’s this week’s edition of study abroad blogs that earn the Twenty in Paris Seal of Approval.


third year abroad


Blog name: Third Year Abroad

URL: http://www.thirdyearabroad.com/

Who: n/a

What: Third Year Abroad is the UK’s biggest network of students who study or work abroad during their degree.All the blog posts are written by students in addition to a having an interactive forum. Third Year Abroad covers every country. For American students, you’ll want to stick to the experience / packing / language immersion information as the career and scholarship info won’t apply to you. My favorite article of the moment is an oldie but a goodie on Culture Shock: Paris


jessica oliver sgg


Blog name: A Semester in Paris on SGG

URL: http://jessoli.studentsgoneglobal.com/

Who: Jessica Oliver

What: A few weeks ago  Students Gone Global (SGG) made it onto the list of Twenty in Paris Approved Blogs for its general website but one blog in particular made the cut this week. Jessica is an American student studying abroad in Paris for a semester who shares her stories navigating Parisian life and university system. Honest, funny and true this blog is a must read but do it quick- she’ll be coming home real soon. The article that caught my eye is Budgeting Tips for Abroad





Blog name: Non piove piu

URL: http://asongoficeandfirenze.tumblr.com/

Who: unknown American student

What: This self-proclaimed 20 year old Seattleite is staying anonymous on tumblr. As an American student in Florence, Italy, this blog mostly covers Italian life but what made it get the Twenty in Paris Seal of Approval is how refreshingly honest about dreams, hopes, realities (which don’t always fit the dreams) and how she is dealing with the flux of emotions of this experience at the ripe age of 20. The post that caught my eye is called That Girl about how an American student sticks out in an foreign classroom



baguette1Do you like reading about the experience of other students’ time abroad on blogs? How about diaries with someone’s intimate secrets and tips on the study abroad experience? Do you like personable yet relatable and easy to read? If so, check out  The Paris Diaries: The Study Abroad Experience Uncensored. Download the free Kindle App to your smart phone or iPad for on the go access.