- There are just less than 9 million people in London and around 2 million in Paris-of course, Paris is smaller but nonetheless, I can tell the difference. Funnily enough, I didn’t realise how uncomfortable in crowds I felt until I moved over here and took a breath of the fresh Parisian smog. Don’t get me wrong; I’ve always been a city girl: growing up in the country put me off the smell of manure, shockingly. But the move from Bristol to London was jarring, more so than I ever thought it would be. Isn’t it ironic how being surrounded by so many people can make you feel so alone and so small? For me, Paris is a happy medium, between my home city and London, with enough vitality to let your hair down at a gig on the weekends until whatever hour in the morning, but never as suffocating as rush hour at Holborn tube station on a Monday morning.
- One of the most appealing aspects of ULIP would definitely be the community that exists here. Forgive the cliché but I’m a people-person: I thrive on being around others, so the social part of student life is extremely important to me. This posed a problem, however, when I was studying at King’s. To give some perspective, there are around 27,600 students across the KCL five campuses. You may think that more students equals more friends, but to be honest, it means that it is difficult to build friendships when you rarely have more than one or two lectures with the same people. At ULIP, I find comfort in seeing familiar faces every day, something I didn’t realise I needed until I didn’t have it. The personable aspect of ULIP has changed me, I’m so much more confident and comfortable over here and I know my family and friends at home can see this change in me. I’m very thankful for that.
- We all know the financial struggle of being a student in a capital city, but believe it or not, it could be worse. Rent over here is not cheap by any means, but compared to the £800 squat-like room I was living in last year in Whitechapel, I’m thrilled with the flat I’m currently in, a stone’s throw from Saint-Lazare station for ‘only’ 600€ a month. Of course, the green-eyed monster still rears it’s ugly head every now and then when my friends studying in Cardiff or Sheffield mention their rent, but I just have to remind myself how lucky I am to be studying and living over here. Ça en vaut la peine!
- This final point goes without saying but I’m going to mention it anyway: my French is so much better than when I was living in London. Living in France means that every time I leave the building in the morning (or afternoon, to be fair) I’m practising my French. Yes, London is extremely multi-cultural and there are many French people studying at King’s, but nothing compares to literally immersing yourself fully into French culture. Friends still studying at King’s, who were with me on the semester abroad at ULIP mention the difference in my accent in particular, which is something I don’t notice because the change is gradual. Plus, its always fun to add to my repertoire of l’argot, which isn’t really on the curriculum!
It is worth mentioning that I’m not setting out to talk badly of King’s or London life in the slightest, merely organising my own thoughts and reasons behind moving to Paris. It is safe to say that after becoming a full-time ULIP student, I haven’t looked back and have been able to live out my dream of experiencing la vie parisienne and sometimes it is important to take a moment to be grateful for how things have turned out so far in life. To quote the blockbuster hit La Haine, ‘jusqu’ici, tout va bien’.
by Annie Birchall