Bachelor of International Studies
Bachelor of International Studies

Pain...avec fromage...avec du vin...avec la Seine...Aah the life of a Parisian! What an adventure it has been experiencing “the Paris life” and whilst I did really enjoy myself (amidst dodging the hectic bureaucracy of the place!) there are a number of lessons I learned during my time as a resident of the Right Bank, studying at Sciences Po, on the opposite, Left Bank:

Paris has taught me that amidst the harshness of human beings, there are always the beautiful souls who may reach out with merely a smile and change your universe for just that moment but have it mean a lifetime; there is value in sitting in a garden and just...being; a macaron can provide a sucre twist at the bitterest of times; every crossing of a street is cause for a rush of adrenalin - a green man is no encouragement to cross and red is often the hottest of tickets - especially on Rue Etienne Marcel; a strut up Rue Montorgueil need relax itself into a stroll when passing by all of the culinary extraordinaires, but most especially when the Poissonerie presents itself - if the waft of the Atlantic and Mediterranean don't alert you to it first of all; foliage can mean the most to a mood - especially the comfort it came to provide to la Seine in my final month of study; Boulevard St-Germain is the greatest tease to any student on their way to an 8am - Lagerfeld, you genius - your work will inspire funds in my account - when I eventually decide to embrace day; don't ever welcome conversation on the Pont des Arts - it's the bridge of love after all and those locks are beguiling - just like the seedy, yet somewhat charming men who frequent their presence; disclaimer: embrace the persistence of rose-bearing hommes on Valentines Day - you will be sweetly rewarded; taking spur-of-the-moment strolls through the Seine islands can bless the dullest days with musical magic - La Vie en Rose style; the Cafe Panis must be the first stop for quintessentially Parisian bliss - minus the quintessential Parisian romance - the waiters are smooth to a point that sass transcends any kind of intimate interaction; the Palais Royale gardens are the sweetest slice of cake on any day of the week; the Jardins du Luxembourg however, will only make for a pair of stone-dusty shoes near-impossible to restore; for the grandest night view of the City of Light, the Arc de Triomphe is recommended just before the hour, after 7pm - the Iron Lady will do her thing and help one to truly appreciate the grandeur of this city; if an escape from the Parisian Paris is desired, the Parc des Buttes Chaumont provides the most gorgeous of sojourns - an oasis amidst the metropolis; French bureaucracy is a force to be reckoned with - it may take 15 trips to four different government departments, but you will win eventually; the best view of the Notre Dame comes from strolling along the Seine, coming off Ile St Louis - look back once you reach Canal St Martin and voila!; all three airports are costly and annoying to get to - some flights have cost me close to the amount of the bus ticket to the terminal; Hotel de Ville is the most gorgeous building - after la Conciergerie of course - and not many people even know where it is (le Marais) - best at night; Montmartre and the Tuilleries gardens have the cutest carousels and will suit all ages - take it from me; go to the back of Sacre Coeur - it's even more stunning than the front; the Square du Vert Galant - it's tip, right where the weeping willow is - is THE most perfect place in the entire city.

But wait – there’s that little thing called credit for that bigger thing: a degree. The university…well let me tell you! Once you have overcome the sign-on process and the general bureaucracy of Sciences Po (note: expect to hear repeated reference to “the French system” as justification for slow processing), you will hopefully be blessed with the same level of teaching staff that I was lucky enough to encounter! Indeed two of my teachers worked for the UN (one of whom was an Associate Professor at Oxford), another was a former advisor to the Prime Minister of France during the Sarkozy Government (she left his realm due to an inability to withstand the level of opulence, arrogance and dishonesty of the system) and I even had a guest lecturer come and speak who just casually mentioned that during his time with UNICEF he led the reform of the Cambodian education system after the fall of Pol Pot. No biggy. I also studied a course titled Contemporary Africa and International Actors and got to design my own youth radio program to implement in Rwanda. There were so many amazing courses to engage in and an education that I feel truly blessed to have received! Sciences Po is the way to go!

But my best advice of all: if you really want to fall in-love with Paris, you must go and see it for yourself! It may get tough at times with a heavy workload and an “Iron Curtain”-like immigration system, but believe me, you will return home to Australia and everyday crave a glimpse of the sunrise over the Seine, a quick morning dash to the local patisserie, the lick of an ice-cream from Berthillon, the melody of the buskers’ La Vie en Rose and the feeling you get every time you step outside your door and take in the spirit of a city so rich in history, culture, beauty and the art of captivation.

C’est Paris: a five-letter word that will change your life.

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