Hi, my name is Morgan Stevens and Iā€™m a Film & French student at the University of Southampton. I spent my third year abroad in Paris at UniversitĆ© Paris 8 Vincennes-Saint-Denis. In this blog post, I will reflect on a few interesting things about my time away from home in the hopes that I can help fellow students make decisions about where they would like to go on their year abroad.

UniversitƩ Paris 8

The university is a great place to start when it comes to the differences that I was faced with on my year abroad. Firstly, the university is in Saint-Denis which is a town in the Ǝle-de-France region next to Paris. The metro joins Saint-Denis with Paris and there is a metro station right outside of the university, so it is safe to say that I was in a well-connected area. Even though I lived just a ten-minute walk from the uni, it would have equally been possible to live in central Paris and get the metro to class.

Perhaps the hardest thing to get used to with a French university was that each module typically holds one 3-hour-long class per week. This was quite the shock to me at first since I was used to Southamptonā€™s lectures and seminars lasting up to 1 hour. Along with this, I personally had to make sure that the modules I chose did not clash with one another; at Southampton this is done for the student. Luckily though, I only had to take modules totalling half the usual credits due to my doing a year abroad research project.

The True Face of Saint-Denis

I lived in a shared flat in Saint-Denis, a town very commonly know as having one of the highest crime rates in the whole country. Armed with a preconceived notion of the danger in this area, I was initially rather apprehensive about staying there. Surprisingly, I was welcomed with an astounding amount of tranquility. The streets were drenched in a silence that admittedly was a bit eerie. Fortunately, I came back in one piece, never having witnessed any crime.

Year Abroad Research Project

As a language student on a year abroad, I was tasked with doing a research project during my time in France. I chose to do mine about French linguistics as I have a keen interest in the field. I also incorporated film as one of my mediums of data collection, which I felt was a good decision as it allowed me to keep up with that side of the degree whilst most of the rest of the year was very French-themed, so to speak, since I was in France.

Advice to Students

If you’re contemplating doing a year abroad but you arenā€™t too sure about the specifics. I will make it simple for you: Do it! It might take a lot of work behind the scenes to make years abroad happen, but it is all worth it. I write this sitting happily at home thinking fondly of my time I spent in Paris, knowing full well that I would do it a thousand times again.

My Year Abroad in Paris

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