Independent University Newspaper
Copenhagen Business School

Popular searches:

Independent University Newspaper

Copenhagen Business School

This is how I live in France

Sculpture with a mask

(Photo by Desislava Diyanova Grozeva)

Go on exchange |   07. Oct 2020

Desislava Diyanova Grozeva

Moving to another country is not always an easy job. However, my host university- ESSEC Business School has really put in significant efforts to help us make the transition from our home university to living abroad in France.

From sending numerous information emails to having Zoom meetings where we could ask questions about the residence we are going to be living in- it seems like ESSEC has figured it all out.

However, there were some things I wasn’t prepared for- here there are!

The student residence

Before coming to France, I had to carefully consider if I wanted to live in Paris and commute an hour every day to university or if I wanted to live in Cergy (the town where ESSEC is situated) and commute no more than 15-20 minutes.

After looking at prices at some Paris rooms and apartments I decided that it would be smarter to go for the student residence as that will allow me to have an apartment of my own and not deal with any annoying roommates.

Thankfully, I was lucky enough to get a room at the biggest ESSEC student residence not long after I applied in June.

building in Paris

(Photo by Desislava Diyanova Grozeva)

My first impression when I first entered the room is that it was significantly more spacious than standard dormitories in Copenhagen, which came as a relief. The room was already furnished, clean, but I couldn’t help but notice that the fridge, the stoves and the radiator were quite old, dusty and rusty. Nothing that half a day of cleaning can’t fix!

Overall, I was pleasantly surprised by the room, as well as by the noise isolation and the fast-responding staff in case something gets broken or stops working.

Cheap vs Expensive

Something that should come as no surprise is that food in France is significantly (between 20% and 50%) cheaper than Copenhagen. Fruits, vegetables, bread, cheese, charcuterie- is more often than not locally sourced, cheaper and better quality than what I am so used to in Denmark.

I cannot mention cheese and bread without mentioning wine!

Even in our local supermarket there are more than 100 different wines (no joke) and I have currently tried only 3 (there is only so much wine a 22 year old can drink) and they are cheaper, better quality, more flavorful and are full-bodied compared to even the most expensive wines you can buy in a local supermarket of the same size in Copenhagen.

collection of cheese

(Photo by Desislava Diyanova Grozeva)

Speaking of drinks- coffee, tea, soda and all other types of drinks are also significantly cheaper than Copenhagen. I found it funny that the most expensive coffee places that I visited in Paris (like the one on the Champs-Élysées) is still a few Danish kroners cheaper than let’s say Espresso House in Copenhagen.

While it is true that France has a lower cost of living compared to Denmark, there are some things that are more expensive and harder to come across than they are in my beloved home Denmark.

One example are dairy substitutes, like for example almond milk, coconut milk, soymilk, etc. They are around 5-10% more expensive and they are truly hard to come across because the supply is very limited (at least at my local supermarket). However, in Copenhagen, even in the smallest Nettos you can find at least 5 different non-dairy milk alternatives, tofu, nutritional yeast, etc.

In my opinion, these products don’t have a large market in France and that is why they often get overlooked and undersupplied.

Another thing that caught my attention is that bio products in France are significantly more expensive compared to bio products in Copenhagen and sometimes it can be hard to find “odd” products like hummus, Asian nuts, etc.

Overall, food and beverages are of significantly better quality, locally sourced and more flavorful than the ones in Copenhagen, but if you have specific dietary requirements, for example you are vegan or gluten free and you would like to find dairy or meat replacements- it can be a challenge.

Finally, let’s talk about the obvious

If there is one thing that shocked me when I first landed in France- that was the fact that everyone was wearing masks everywhere.

Although I understand the importance of wearing a mask and keeping a safe distance, I don’t feel the need to be constantly and consistently reminded by billboards, announcements, stickers, leaflets, warning signs, and even security guards who spray disinfectant gel on your hands every time you enter a shop.

I am all for respecting the government safety regulations and abiding by the WHO advice, but being constantly reminded is a bit depressing and overwhelming.

In the span of only a few days I had to adopt the habit of remembering to put on my mask before going out, washing it with hot water and soap after I come home and trying to survive in a mask when it is 30 degrees outside.

Teddy bear with a mask

(Photo by Desislava Diyanova Grozeva)

Apart from the obvious discomfort that comes with wearing masks, I also had a hard time understanding what people wanted to say, especially when they speak very quietly in French and their face is covered with a mask. Because the difference between an innocent joke and an insult can be a smile.

I love speaking with people and the face mask is still a challenge I am trying to overcome when having a conversation.

In conclusion

In conclusion living in France is definitely a dream come true and I am more than grateful to have been given the opportunity to plunge into another culture, to taste different flavors and to gain international experience.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

This is how I live in Franceby

  • News

    Staff layoffs: What happens if you’re fired

    The clock is ticking. On Thursday morning (5 October), CBS employees will know if they are up for dismissal or not. But what will happen on the day? What emotional stages are you likely to encounter? And who will be there to pick you up when you are feeling the blow of being laid off? CBS WIRE has talked to HR and the consulting agency Actief Hartmanns to provide you with answers.

  • News

    Network, network, network – CBS graduates advise on getting your first job

    There are many approaches to finding your first job. Three recent CBS graduates talk about how they landed theirs. Their approaches were quite different, yet they all highlight networking as a key element.

  • News

    A-Z of the dismissals

    In these final days of September, the fate of a number of CBS employees is being decided. The final amount of money saved on salaries via voluntary severance agreements (aka redundancy packages, Ed.) and senior agreements will be known.  After this, the actual number of employees up for dismissal will be decided by management – and then the individuals will be selected.

  • News

    Layoffs break the crucial trust between organisation and employee

    CBS is laying off a number of employees soon, which will affect our university in different ways. When employees are fired without having done anything wrong, it shatters the trust between the organisation and employees, while also taking a toll on productivity, according to a CBS expert. Layoffs also affect the ‘survivors’, who are forced to adapt to a changed workload and the loss of cherished colleagues.

  • News

    Here to help – at the touch of a button and at Campus Desk

    Exam anxiety? Lost student card? I’ve wedged my car between a Fiat 500 and a lamp post, can you help? You never know what you’ll be asked next. But that’s just how the Campus Desk team like it. And if they can’t fix your problem, they’ll know someone who can. CBS WIRE asked the team about the whole range of topics they advice on every day.

  • Gif of the week
  • News

    CBS Quiz Time: Unraveling the success story

    A successful university environment such as CBS is often associated with academic pursuits, but campus life extends far beyond the classroom. At CBS Quiz Time, a student society motivated by creative thinking and social engagement, students join in a refreshing range of creativity, excitement, and social interaction. CBS WIRE talked to Celine Møller-Andersen to find out about the society’s vision, strategies and the factors that are driving its rapid expansion.

  • News

    Why so sudden? The CBS financial crisis explained

    Employees and union representatives have posed many questions in the wake of the 17 August announcement of a firing round. In this interview, University Director Arnold Boon explains how Senior Management has been working with the budget and a change of financial strategy since the fall of 2022, and why layoffs are now necessary.

Follow CBS students studying abroad

CBS WIRE collaborates with

Stay connected