Pre-exchange to-do list

Come September, I will be spending a full year studying in Paris, France. Hopefully, I will return to Queen’s speaking fluent French with a killer sense of style. For now all I can do is daydream about sitting in posh cafés sipping French roasted coffee and walking the narrow streets of the city with a handful of shopping bags.

As my departure date creeps closer, I have to start preparing for my trip. Here are a few things on my pre-exchange to do list that fellow outgoing exchange students can relate to:

Saying adieu to Canadian favourites
Unfortunately, Tim Horton’s hasn’t made its way to France. Before I leave, I’m indulging in an Iced Capp and some Timbits. There is definitely no poutine being served in France, so I’ll be stuffing my face with fries, gravy and cheese curds as well. The French may have their world-acclaimed gourmet cooking but there’s nothing quite like Canadian food.

Searching for an apartment halfway around the world
This is by far the most challenging part of to-do list. I remember how challenging it was finding a house in Kingston. Now imagine trying to find a place to live without being on the same continent. Parisian universities don’t have residence buildings like Queen’s does.
Instead, students studying in France have the option to rent an apartment from a landlord or to rent a room from a government-owned residence building or to rent a room/apartment from a privately owned residence building. I’m leaning towards renting from a private residence but all these choices make it difficult to find the right fit.

Getting a taste of the culture
Before leaving for Paris, I am going to immerse myself in Parisian culture. Since I love cooking, I really want to make an attempt at French cuisine. I have my eye on the pot-au-feu, a quintessential beef stew. Music is another staple of the French colour. Making a playlist featuring artists from the classic Edith Piaf to the contemporary Yelle is an indisputable part of my to-do list.

The idea of leaving all my friends and family behind and moving to a new country is slightly terrifying. But I know that once I complete all these things on my to-do list, I will feel more at ease. After eating my favourite Canadian foods, renting an apartment in Paris and introducing myself to the Parisian way of life, I’ll be feeling more ready to embark on a trip.

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