France

4 Tips For Exploring Your Host City

Kerry Ulm is a student at The Ohio State University and an ISA Featured Blogger. She is currently studying abroad with ISA in Paris, France.

Gardens are excellent places for walks in Paris. The Jardin du Luxembourg is right by my school, so we can even go there during lunch!

Gardens are excellent places for walks in Paris. The Jardin du Luxembourg is right by my school, so we can even go there during lunch!

Studying abroad does in fact include a fair amount of studying, but not all the time! Depending on your course schedule, you may have considerable free time for exploring your new abode! For instance, I’m lucky in that I have Wednesdays, Fridays, and Monday mornings off. Living in Paris is exhausting, so it’s good to use the occasional free day to rest and recharge, but as for the majority of time, I like to be out and about in the city.

Here are four things I do to make the most of my days off:

RESEARCH!

First, get rid of the idea that research and planning are boring. Not at all. When it turns out you’re just a handful of metro stops away from that delicious restaurant everyone on Yelp is raving about, or you find out that obscure museum you pinned on Pinterest months ago is right around the corner, you’ll be grateful you put a little extra time into planning your day.

Paris is filled with museums, and I love to check out ones that aren’t quite as well-known, like the Musée Curie!

Paris is filled with museums, and I love to check out ones that aren’t quite as well-known, like the Musée Curie!

ASK AROUND

Between ISA, professors, fellow students, and random locals you happen to meet, you have a whole slew of people to talk to about what to explore in your city. Everyone stumbles upon gems that they’d love to help someone else find!

KNOW WHAT’S FREE

Paris in particular is wonderful to its students. You can get in free to tons of places with a copy of your visa or even just your French school’s Student ID! Checking lists of what places give you free entry or discounts can give you great ideas of where to go and what to do.

Massive museums are often too overwhelming to experience in a single day, but getting free entry means I can go to the Louvre and the Musée d’Orsay all the time!

Massive museums are often too overwhelming to experience in a single day, but getting free entry means I can go to the Louvre and the Musée d’Orsay all the time!

BE OPEN TO ADVENTURE!

And get ready to explore! Regardless of what you plan ahead of time, some of the best times you’ll have are when you encounter something unexpected or make sudden decisions. There are no rules! Besides, this is your home away from home! You’ve got the best of both worlds: you can be both a tourist and a local!

Don’t be afraid to sit back and enjoy your time in your home city. I recently had a lovely picnic on this bridge in the Bois de Boulogne!

Don’t be afraid to sit back and enjoy your time in your home city. I recently had a lovely picnic on this bridge in the Bois de Boulogne!

Want to read more about Paris? Check out “3 Games to Play to Get to Know Paris”