Saturday, December 1, 2012

Paris Bound

I can't really say when or where my fascination with Paris started, but since middle school ( and thanks to Monsieur Bustin), I have always wanted to go. I kept my dream going by taking French classes for several years and planning a solo trip every year, but never being able to go (money, time, fear). Well a couple of years ago, I came across The American University of Paris online and became intrigued. Unfortunately, I was still in my undergrad and my schooling was already paid for so moving to Paris and going to school didn't fit at the time.

Now two years later, I have been itching to go grad school. I revisited AUP's website this summer and decided to apply on a whim. Four weeks later, I got my acceptance and was totally shocked and thrilled as can be! Friends and family were in shock, too! my favorite being my mother's supportive response, "Really? I didn't think you would get in!" Paris is nice a idea but when you actually have a purpose to go and live there, it's kind of daunting. I have had a few months to grasp the reality of what I am about to do. Here is some prep work I had to do:

Step 1 - Wait
This was probably the most difficult. I applied for admission in June, got accepted in July, and had to wait for my acceptance packet which came in October. As with any other curious person, I wanted to know all the details right away, but since I won't be starting school until January, I had to patiently wait for the packet before I could begin any of my paperwork.

Step 2 - CampusFrance
Along with applying to the school, a student must also apply to CampusFrance which determines whether or not you can be a student in France. This was also my first look into how badly forms are translated from French to English.

Step 3 - Travel Reservations
In case you didn't know, traveling to Europe from Utah is kind of expensive. I searched for months for one way fares just to gauge what would be a reasonable amount. I finally found one for $476!! I booked it immediately and am super happy I did. When I look now, the lowest price I can find is $700.

Step 4 - Student Visa
Not only did I have to travel to San Francisco for a 20 minute appointment, but the paperwork involved was ridiculous! Make sure to plan ahead to have your paperwork filled out completed in its entirety BEFORE you come to your interview and don't be like the girl in the waiting room who decided to get her forms done that morning. Also, while waiting, we saw a girl get dismissed for trying to apply for a visa so she could go that weekend!

Step 5 - Packing
So I am currently in this step. It's hard to decide what not to bring. I have already reduced my wardrobe from bursting out the seams to about a 1/3 of what I had before. I had a huge garage sale and was able to sell over $1200 to help pay for the fees, deposits, and airfare for Paris. Also, I have noticed Paris apartments are small, and I mean tiny! So I have been informed by friends who have been to Europe to not bring any kitchen items. If I need something, I can buy it there. That makes me nervous, but I will have to trust them, plus it would be risky to transport glasses and ceramic in checked luggage. So pretty much, I am planning on packing clothing, shoes, accessories, bed linens,
bath towels, and some pictures and books.

Even through all of this, my excitement for moving to Paris has not faded. my adventure begins in 38 days and counting!

xo Ello

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