Reflections on the Sorbonne

During my time in Paris I spent six months studying at the Sorbonne university; the most well-known and historically influential university in France. I spent most of my time in the several other campuses around the city rather than in the old building in the centre of the city. Nevertheless I used to opportunity to explore one of the most beautiful buildings in the city especially as it is only accessible with a Sorbonne student card. Not many people get to look around the building and it is certainly off limits for tourists. It’s a shame really as the building really is amazing, but it does feel special to have access to a special, secret little area.

I enjoyed my time at the Sorbonne but found the difference between English university and French university difficult to bridge at times. For one, in France there is no real campus that students live on and most students live with their parents. Similarly there are not many student organisations or clubs, or even special areas designated for students to socialise. Due to this difference I found it difficult to feel involved in the student environment and to meet other students other than in class. I definitely missed the buzz and energy that exists in all English universities.

Classes were much more time-intensive which I greatly appreciated, not just because it meant I had more time hearing and practising my French but also because it felt like I was getting value for money. Ironic considering in France University is state funded, whereas in England my heavy tuition fees are rewarded with a few measly contact hours a week!

The university buildings were of course stunning and made for an interesting, historical and inspiring place to study, however I am used to this at home as my English university just happens to be a castle.

I enjoyed my experience, leant a lot and met some wonderful people and as much as I can say that I really appreciated and valued the wonderful surroundings I can safely say that I am very happy I am an English student at an English university.

Mood – Grateful 

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