Arts / Faith and Humanities / People of SU

A Day in the Life in Paris

Written by Sofia Marti, '23

November 21, 2022

A photo of senior Sofia Marti, who is studying abroad in Paris, France.

Image credit: Sofia Marti, '23

The author in Paris with a pretty sweet view of none other than the Eiffel Tower!

One student’s perspective on the valuable and worldly experience of education abroad. 

Getting lost on the metro, eating a croissant with a café au lait between classes, sitting down with my host family discussing French topics I don’t know all that much about, looking at stereotypes and realizing how false everything feels. This is a day in my life as a Seattle University senior studying abroad in one of the most visited cities in all of Europe: Paris!

I’ve been here for nearly two months now and I can safely say that Paris is very different than the glamorized version the United States paints it as. The loud sirens running down the streets wake me every morning, but it’s balanced by the smell of pain au chocolats my host mom leaves me on the kitchen counter for breakfast along with freshly brewed coffee.  

My mornings are for catch up with my life in the States. I talk to friends back home, catch up on SU emails and for those 2 hours I spend at my desk sipping on coffee, I am transported back to the U.S. Then it hits 11:30 in the morning and it’s time to take the metro to my first class of the day, Fashion and Business in France. Sometimes we have lectures, but other times we are meeting at the Dior Museum to engage with the upscale luxury brand synonymous with Paris.

With an hour to go until my next class, my friends and I run to the boulangerie (bakery) by the Alliance Française, the building where our classes are held. I am determined to try everything French cuisine has to offer, so every day I eat something different, but I have found myself longing for a quiche Lorraine ever since I tried it the other day. The hour is up and I go to my next class of the day, Global Civil Rights. Although we don’t go on excursions here, the lectures are content-heavy, filled with social justice issues in Europe and debates between our classmates. Good thing I ate before I got here!

The clock reads 6:30 p.m. and that’s my cue to depart for home. I take the metro during rush hour, which I won’t even begin to explain the horror of (you’ll have to come here and witness it yourself.) After a sweaty metro ride, I finally get home and find my stomach growling as I see there’s a homemade dinner left on the table for me. My host family has scattered schedules so we don’t eat together besides on Sunday, but my host mom will help me practice my French—this usually means correcting my horrible passé compose—while she watches television.

After homework there’s an hour of watching the Netflix series Emily in Paris (not completely the truth about what its like living in Paris, by the way), until my phone starts buzzing again and it’s time to get back to work because the U.S. is waking up. I turn my iPad back on to get started, connecting with SU organizations I’m involved in, my remote internship and emailing with advisors. I call it a night around 1 or 2 a.m. (Paris-time) and fall asleep watching the glow of the Eiffel Tower light up my room.

Although when I look at the calendar and realize that I’m here for another month, I am starting to feel equally at home as I do in the States. It’s not the same, in fact, it’s quite the opposite. But there’s something about being in Paris, speaking French, living the Parisian life that I’ve only seen on TV and movies that feels so comforting.

Above all, I’m happy to be able to study and experience live abroad and encourage others to do so as it truly changes your perspective—and worldview—on everything. And with that, I’ll say good morning to all of you reading this while I go and get a good night’s sleep.

Between Summer 2019 and Spring 2020, more than 415 students studied abroad across 46 countries. Learn more about Education Abroad at Seattle University.