Its 4am and a few carefree silhouettes can be seen winding their way along the Seine, fat nutella crepes in hand, with the Notre Dame majestically rising above them. Ahhh the romantic Parisian life… it certainly beats grabbing a kebab on the way home from a night on the town!
Once again a stop on my ultimate world tour landed me in a place where Sydney Uni students have the option of going on exchange. (insert Davina’s blog-critic inner voice… “But wait, there’s more! That’s right, if you apply to Sydney University today you could be going to Santiago, San Francisco, Boston, or even Paris … I’ll even throw in a free set of steak knives if you enrol in the next ten minutes!”)
Ahhh where was I? That’s right, still trying to convince you to go on exchange. I can’t help it, the more I see of what’s on offer the more I am perplexed as to how people wouldn’t take the opportunity. So here I was, lost in the city of luuurrrve. It is easy to become swept up in the romanticism of the winding cobbled streets and luminous monuments that fill the Parisian grid. Though my single status endows me with a vendetta against public displays of affection it was hard not to be wooed by this magical place. I find it difficult to contemplate being able to do some of your degree here, given the stereotyped view we all have in our heads that makes Paris seem almost mythical. But it’s a reality alright… you could read over your Proust on the Champs-Elysees or munch on a baguette between classes. Sydney University currently has exchange agreements with more than ten institutions in France, including the world-renowned Sorbonne among other prestigious universities. This makes it possible to really explore a city and life filled with funky basement bars, uber-trendy fashions and a heavenly patisserie on every corner (seriously – what more could you want?)
Yet Paris could also be quite a difficult destination, the smartly dressed Parisians sometimes seem unwelcoming in their all black ensembles, and once again this is a place that has an added linguistic dimension that was absent in my own exchange. It is also certainly not a communal college-type experience, with most exchange students renting their own tiny apartments, meaning it could get quite lonely. But it puts you snap bang in the middle of the amazing cultural and historical milieu that is Europe. It is hard to conceive of flitting over to another country for the weekend but with the amazing phenomenon that is the EU this is far from a dream. Bored of Paris? Though this is highly unlikely one can easily be distracted by other Euro treats. You could pop over to London for the weekend to rise above the Queen on the ‘eye’, head up to Switzerland to swoosh down the slopes (though with the way the climate is changing you’d better hurry), or get lost in one of many castles dotted about Prague. Budget airlines & the Eurostar make travel so easy it seems like us Aussies are stranded on a desert island. Oh hang on a minute….