A day in the life of a student abroad

Rise and Shine: Mornings for a student studying abroad are more or less the same as mornings for students on the Queens campus. There is the begrudged moment when students shuffle out of bed for early morning classes. Just in case they’ve managed to sleep through the siren like alarms going off in every direction on campus, the “chime” of the church bells next door will make sure you are up and at ‘em.

Once arriving at the cafeteria for breakfast, they are hit with a wave of nostalgia and appreciation for Montgoris. Alas, the European idea of a solid breakfast consists of baguettes, yogurt, fruit and/or cereal. This isn’t a bad breakfast, but most students studying abroad have been quite spoiled with the buffet of eggs, bacon and tater tots available to compensate for waking up before 10 a.m. This breakfast gives students a twinge of bitterness and omelette withdrawal.

From 8:00 a.m to 12:15 p.m., most study abroad students find themselves in classes. This works out perfectly because a majority of the stores and museums don’t open until 11. Having a semester of classes crammed into a five week period seems daunting at first, but it’s a surprisingly easy adjustment. While the classes are longer and run four days a week, the courses only last five weeks. Imagine, only five weeks of metaphysics…then viola, fin!

Dejeuner: Left to our own devices for lunch, the Paris students prowl and hunt the streets of Paris for a cheap lunch. On occasion, this means sitting in a quaint little café, sipping on espresso or café au lait. But more often than not, lunchtime means hitting the Carrefour Supermarche or the Djerba halal restaurant, offering amazing fries and giant kebab gyros for under five euros.

Now that the weather isn’t frigid and gloomy, students have lunch picnics and study in the local Jardin de Luxembourg. Soaking up the sunlight, maybe strolling around or reading makes up the perfect lazy afternoon activity.

On rainier days, students go to the Musee d’Orsay, which is set up in an old train station, to sit among impressionist paintings and do their homework, read or just enjoy the art. The best part is that museums are free for students in Paris.

When their budget is feeling more flexible than usual, shopping in the Bastille, Rue de Four or Hotel de Ville is always a welcome escape from studying or museum overload. Shopping in Paris feels the same as shopping in SoHo as H&M, Zara, Oysho, Pimkie and Gap rule the storefronts.

Dinner on campus is always a bit of a culture shock. The food is always pretty good, but the choices are limited. Veal has appeared on the menu at least one occasion, as well as whole – roasted chicken thighs usually sided with green beans. Once getting past the intimidating nature of the staff, who only speak French, it becomes a much less nerve wracking experience.

Whether it’s a shopping or going to museums, students studying abroad have multiple outlets for discovering the region. While the eclectic types of food can be daunting at first, by assimilating to the culture, students can have an amazing time in Europe.