When choosing my housing situation in Paris, I was faced with a difficult decision: home-stay or apartment? Both had lots of benefits, and a few drawbacks, but I ultimately ended up going with the apartment for the independence it offered and the opportunity to live with other students in my study abroad program in Paris
. There are definitely times when I wish I could come to a family and hot dinner, however I have been generally thrilled with my apartment, my roommates, and the lifestyle that living on my own allows for.
When I first walked into my new apartment, I was surprised by how spacious it was. I was expecting a crammed 7thstory studio in a decrepit building with no stairs and a creepy doorman, but instead I discovered a modern living space complete with high-pressure shower and a balcony. The large common area has made everything really easy as it simultaneously plays the role of dining room, social space, and study lounge. Also, something that I didn’t anticipate but that has been hugely beneficial for us is the ability to ask Devon and Guillaume (French student turned handy-man) to solve any technical issues we’re having. So far we’ve deployed their expertise on a squeaky mattress, a dripping faucet, intrusive mold, and an incompetent shower curtain.
As I mentioned before, the independence that an apartment allows for really drew me to this kind of living situation. Our convenient location, near the Bastille and Gare de Lyon, places me within relatively easy walking distance of some of the cities main attractions (see my walking tour), and a main metro hub is just minutes away. Although living with three other college boys wasn’t the most hygienic option available, we’ve done a good job (at least by my standards) of keeping our apartment mold and rodent free. The farmer’s market located on our street is a great place to pick up fresh produce for dinner, and we’ve utilized most of our kitchen appliances to cook salmon, tacos, pork chops, sausages, and every now and then something green.
Mexican night at 'Chez Adam'
What really surprised me about my apartment though, was how quickly it started to feel like home. It was about one week before we all started calling it ‘home’ and just another few days before we considered placing a large family portrait above the dining table. I’ve obviously become closer with my roommates as a result of our shared living space, but I think that the best part of living here has been the exposure of what it’s like to live independently in a foreign city. As someone who is considering living abroad at some point, my CEA housing experience has been invaluable in that it has shown me the difficulties and advantages of being personally responsible while abroad, as opposed to traveling with your parents or living under someone else’s roof. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time in 14 Place d’Aligre so far, and I’m very excited to have the chance to live in this amazing city for another six weeks.
Adam Joseph is the CEA MOJO in Paris for the Spring semester. He is currently a third year at the University of Virginia studying Global Development and French.
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