- fast-paced, varied, exciting, beautiful, vibrant
I lived with a French family, and I was pretty much treated as an extra daughter, so I met all their friends and extended family right way - a quick way to make instant friends. I also became involved with some drama and music groups, which gave me the chance to meet like-minded people. I might have been a bit lonely to begin with, as it is difficult at first to find your feet, but there was so much to do and see that I never got bored while I was there. When I got the chance, I visited Bayonne, Val de Loire and the Aquitaine which were lovely. Try not to have any preconceived ideas before you go; be organised and plan as well as you can, but also be flexible in case things turn out differently. And try to immerse yourself in the local area as much as you can - your language will really improve and you'll feel more at home.
Useful local words: 'C'est pas possible', 'bah ouais'.
What not to pack: Your hairdryer.
What to pack: Your passport, a plan de Paris and a plug adapter.
Couldn't have done without: My i-pod.
Word of advice: Get a copy of the Pariscope guide each week to know what's the deal with art, theatre and culture around the city.
CW, French, Oxford University
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