EUSA

Student Life

Famous for its rich history and cultural diversity, Paris is THE most visited city in the world. Known as “the city of lights”, Paris has over 134 museums, 170 theatres, 400 gardens, parks, and squares and world-famous universities and cultural festivals, which take place all year round.

Living in Paris will include daily interactions with your home stay and maître de stage (internship supervisor), grocery shopping, doing your laundry, commuting to and from your stage (internship) by métro or bus, and learning to live with neighbours from all over the world – you’ll go beyond the typical tourist experience. You can still discover the city’s famous monuments, charming old quarters, cafés, restaurants, cabarets, and theatres. In Paris, you will learn not only the language, but experience the unique culture, literary and political life.

Depending on what your home university’s program includes, experiencing Paris with EUSA could mean activities like a cycling tour around the city, trips to the theatre, or membership in an international youth club.

Part of the thrill of living in a new city is the chance to discover it for yourself – but as a EUSA student, you won’t be by yourself. Our Paris team is only a phone call away in case of emergency – 24 hours a day, every day.

 

Internships

As the second largest city in Europe, the center of French business, political, and cultural life, and one of the world’s greatest cultural capitals, Paris offers an unrivaled opportunity to explore virtually any area of French working life and culture and develop your French language skills.

Our students have worked in areas as varied as marine genetics, hospitality, politics, and art galleries. While generalizing about a diverse city of eleven million people is almost impossible, many past interns have reported that

  • You shouldn’t be surprised if a physical greeting of some kind, either la bise (a kiss on each cheek) or a handshake, is routine in your French workplace, not just on first introduction but every morning upon arrival at work. To Bise or Not to Bise? Beware – don’t take the first step if you are uncertain, but be ready to embrace! Two kisses are the norm in Paris and keep in mind that la bise is NOT a kiss. It's just a hello or a good-bye.
  • Business lunches are an important part of communication. The lunch breaks are often occasions to build relationships. Needless to say, “brown bag” lunches are unknown in France. Typical discussion subjects are culture, food, vacation, politics, family, office gossip, etc (but not money!). Be prepared for intense discussion of political issues, current events in France, and their country's political situation, foreign policy, etc.
  • But…don’t be surprised if it takes a little while for your French colleagues to warm up to you. The French take their time before they decide whom they want to socialize with. Social relations are much more at a one-to-one level and building a network can take time.
  • Compared to the US, France has a much more hierarchical, top-down culture of management. For the French, the Boss is the Boss and management can be quite authoritarian. In France, respecting the significance of hierarchy and managers is important.
  • Within the company, the French keep the doors closed (open spaces are not as popular as in US). It doesn’t mean that you can’t have conversations with your colleagues, you just have to knock on their doors…
  • A typical day is 9-6, but depending on the sector it can also be 9:30am or 10:00am to 7:00pm, with lunch generally between 1 and 2. The standard French working week is 35 hours but most employees in France will stay until the job is finished.

“I am not exaggerating when I say being in Paris and my internships have helped me grow as a person. I know its tres cliche but it’s absolutely true. I can't stop raving to everyone what a fantastic job you do! You truly listen to the student’s request and successfully match according internships. And I know this is no easy task given we are competing with French students obligated to find internships as well.” – Tali, Brandeis University

 

Housing

If your program includes housing through EUSA, you will live with a French family, where you will have your own bedroom and key to the house or apartment, and access to the family bathroom, kitchen, and other common areas. Breakfast is provided for you, and most students eat lunch near work. If you enjoy cooking for yourself, make sure you let us know, and we’ll do our best to match you to a family with a very relaxed kitchen policy.  That said, many students find that they so frequently go out after work, that they don’t really need or want to spend much time cooking.

Home stays come in as many forms as French families – you may live with a widow whose children have left home, or a young family with a few children or any other kind of family you can imagine. All of our families are carefully screened and many host our students year after year, so we know them very well. While we can’t guarantee that we can find the exact kind of family you request, we encourage you to tell as much as possible so we can find a really good fit for you.

All EUSA home stays are safe and centrally located or easily accessible by public transportation.

 

Academics

Your academic program is determined by your home university – in some cases this may mean independent research, or compiling a journal and portfolio of work to support your internship experience, along with small seminars designed to help you understand French culture or the industry in which you are working, and you may be attending a French language course.

Other programs may have full semester courses with a workload equivalent to your home campus – these may be taught by faculty from your own college or by local faculty. Many local faculty members are accustomed to working with American students, and will be helpful resource in coping with the challenges of learning through a second language.

EUSA is a not-for-profit internship organization specializing in customized, academically-directed programs in
London, Dublin, Madrid, Paris, and Prague.

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