Study Abroad in Paris, France 2019 - 2020
Destination: Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture de Paris La Villette (ARCHIEE)
Study Period: September 2019 – March 2020
Affiliation/Grade at the start of studying abroad: Graduate School of Design, 2nd year in Design Strategy Course
My Thoughts on Studying Abroad
Living in a place with a completely different language and values have allowed me to see things from a broader perspective than what I did in Japan. In terms of language, I could hardly speak French, but I was able to meet and communicate with a lot of people and work on projects together. The specialized architecture classes at school were very interesting, but I think I learnt more about architecture in my daily life. As the school and dormitories were situated in a neighborhood that is not very safe, I was able to learn firsthand about the way poor people live and how public housing is built. Though you can learn a lot of things about famous architecture from drawings and photos, it will be more meaningful to go and experience the space and live in a different city.
It is always better to be able to speak a language. There were many times when we both had very good ideas, but we could not discuss them in depth because we stumbled over the language. I regret that I should have learnt at least some terminologies related to architecture and design, not just everyday conversation. I also regret that I did not complete my study abroad program due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Advice to Prospective Students
I think there is a lot of anxiety before you go, but once you are there, you have no choice but to spend the time there. Hence, I think you will be up for any challenges. Living there and experiencing culture shock is meaningful in itself. Paris has an image of being a fashionable place, but it is quite unsafe in some areas, so be careful and do not let your guard down. Also, I think it is important to travel around and get to know the architecture, design, food, lifestyle, and language.
Do you have faced any problems during your stay at the study abroad destination or have any suggestions for improvement?
I don’t face many problems because I had local friends and Japanese friends.