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A headshot of Erin

Home Away From Home

by Erin Cram Friday, March 23, 2018

A lot of decision making went into the study abroad process starting with what country to chose, what city to chose, what classes to take, and where to live. In my program, there were three housing options. Those options were homestay, apartment with other American students, or an International Women’s dorm. I chose to live in a homestay and I think it’s been one of the best decisions I have ever made.

I live in the 15th Arrondissement of Paris. It’s in the southwest side of the city and has the highest population of residents of all of the Parisian neighborhoods. I’m only a two-minute walk from a metro that takes me anywhere in the city, the grocery store is just down the block, and I am a five-minute walk to school. We live on the 12th floor of an apartment, with a view of the entire city (Eiffel Tower included). It’s breathtaking and I shed a tear the first time I saw my room. It felt like such a dream. Now, as great as all of those things are, the best part about my homestay is the kind and patient family inside of it. 

A cityscape view of Paris, with the Eiffel Tower
I wasn't kidding when I said I have the best view in Paris. This is the view from my bedroom window on a sunny day!

In my homestay, it is my host mom, her 20-year-old daughter, and an American student like me also living here. Three times a week we have dinners together where we talk about our days, exchange details about our lives and cultural differences, and laugh a lot. I have been able to learn so much about French culture and the language through these dinners, and we typically find ourselves dissecting awkward cultural experiences and differences I’ve experienced throughout my time here. I find I can take lessons from classes to these dinners to get a French perspective on unique topics. I am also so, so lucky to have expert Parisiennes when I have any questions about the city.

A city view of Paris mostly covered by fog
Even on a crazy, snowy day (which is a bit rare in Paris) this view is amazing. Sometimes if it's foggy you cannot see the Eiffel Tower at all, and we joke that someone stole it. 

This family has become a family away from home that I am so grateful for. I must add, my host mom is also a phenomenal cook so my homestay means I am constantly fine dining here in Paris. Again, my homestay was the best decision I have ever made and I don’t think our friendship will stop when the program ends.