Studying abroad has become somewhat of a rite of passage for many Europeans seeking to broaden their experiences, add to their language skills and explore new cultures. British graduates are increasingly taking advantage of their native tongue to teach across the world and spread the joy of this global language. The benefits of this are for everyone.
Whether you are English, French, Dutch, Spanish, German et al., living abroad is a fantastic opportunity. I was lucky enough to live in Paris for six months teaching English and in this short time I was able to appreciate the language, culture and brilliance of the city of light. Exploring the city was just great, and - OK - my poor English sense of fashion and obvious lack of coolness and je ne sais quoi made me stick out like a saw thumb, but who cares, right?
Befriending locals is always the best way to really experience a new place, especially for the likes of Paris with so many hidden gems around every corner. It is also of course the best way to learn and eventually master a language. Speak how the locals do and learn from them. Cafés and bars are great places to hang out. There you can meet friends and locals, but also relax on your own and grab a drink whilst taking in the atmosphere and language that is being spoken around you.
One of the best things to do in Paris is to explore the area of Montmartre. Montmartre used to be a small village on the edge of Paris but is now one of its main attractions and the calling place for aspiring artists. The views of the city from the front of the Sacré Coeur are incredible and will live with you for a lifetime. Winter is a great time to see Paris as the cold air allows you to wrap up in your winter coat and scarf and travel the streets and take in its beauty. At this point it is a great idea to grab a glass of mulled wine (hot wine that is infused with spices) and sit on the steps of the Sacré Coeur. To add to the views there is on most days entertainment, singing, guitar and I was lucky enough to hear a professional opera singer on one occasion.
Of course the brilliance of Paris doesn’t end there. The museums are among the best in the world. The nightlife is great, the history even better, and endless stories to tell after a stint living in this city. I hope I can return one day.