The smartest decision I have made in my life to date was to come study in Paris.
"My scholastic year in Paris started off very promisingly and was filled with high hopes and aspirations. I was and still am extremely happy to continue and eventually end my higher education in France. I love the French culture and the country and have never forgotten that our two great nations could not have existed without each other’s help. Beginning my education in the French system at the Lycée Français de New York and having been immersed in that entirely French system from history to catechism-I felt from a very young age and still do today a certain bond with the French. However, because I grew up and for all intents and purposes was raised in the U.S. my mentality and certain things I have grown accustomed to are very different from those in France. For example, opening a bank account, getting a cell phone contract, not being able to deposit cash at the bank after 12:30pm, getting my social security number (which to date nearly 11 months since I arrived in France I have still not received); all minor issues in the grand scheme of things. I am not bothered by any of this, just merely stating that these are some of the things I had to adjust to. Not to say one system is better than the other, but that they are entirely different. I am certain that if the roles were reversed and that if I was a French citizen moving to America I would feel the same way…
The most difficult part about being a foreign student was the inability to work more than twenty hours a week (60% of the weekly norm). This made it quite difficult to find work in the film/television industries because they need people to work full time usually. In some cases I found work as an ‘additional’ (renfort in french) worker on the set, but these instances were rare and infrequent. I suppose I could have worked in a bar or a café, or restaurant; however I have no interest in that. My life is in the cinema and I didn’t want to waste time working as a waiter or bartender when it was more important for me to make contacts in the French and European film world. My hopes are that next year will be easier with the contacts I was able to make this year. I can understand the reasoning behind the foreign student allotted part-time work policy. And although it made me struggle more than I felt necessary, I rest determined and will not let a little setback keep me from realizing my dreams. I remain positive about the matter and continue to pursue my goals.
With respect to school, my teachers and the faculty at le Conservatoire Libre du Cinema Français were nothing but enjoyable. My fellow students along with my professors were always available to answer any questions I had and help me with anything I needed. The curriculum was insightful and I learned a great deal. I have always enjoyed French cinema and the great auteurs it has produced. So being surrounded by this world was an absolute delight. I can say without any reservation that the smartest decision I have made in my life to date was to come study in Paris. In retrospect, the only thing I would have done differently is study here earlier in my life rather than wait till the age of twenty-seven. I cannot wait for next year to start so I can continue my journey in this great city who only slightly falls behind New York as the city closest to my heart.
Thank you CampusFrance for helping me realize this vision."