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Bondies Abroad | A semester in the City of Lights

Stephanie Centorame spent a semester at the Pantheon-Sorbonne (Paris 1) University as part of her double degree in Law and Arts. She reflects on her semester on exchange in the City of Lights. 

Having spent the better part of the last five months in Paris, France, two things are certain: exchange is a transformative personal experience that I would recommend to anyone willing to listen, and there is no limit as to how much bread and cheese one can consume on any given Friday.

Since September, I have been undertaking an exchange at the Pantheon-Sorbonne (Paris 1) University, studying law subjects in French. My decision to enrol in this program stemmed from my passion for the French language, coupled with my studies at Bond and testimonies from previous students who had felt this exchange was deeply rewarding.

My course load at Paris 1 was varied and diverse, ranging from foundational French law systems courses, to subjects concerning international law. These subjects were each conceptually challenging in their own right; not only was I required to learn new legal concepts; I also had to learn these concepts and vocabulary in another language. In saying this, I was really eager to take on these new challenges and was motivated by other international students in my cohort who were in the same position as me.

Living in Paris has been absolutely surreal.

Putting aside the obvious heightened exposure to complex carbohydrates in the form of good bread, cheese and frites (French fries), I’ve loved having the opportunity to improve my speaking skills, and meet students from all over the world who all share a mutual love for the City of Lights.

Also, I’ve had the chance to explore all of Paris and tick a lot of items off the bucket list, such as visiting the infamous Shakespeare & Co Bookshop (a 15 minute walk away from my university campus), seeing Monet’s “Waterlilies”, and listening to late-night jazz in some of Paris’s most well-known jazz bars.

My exchange has been rewarding in so many ways. From an academic perspective, I’ve been able to immerse myself in a new way of thinking by studying civil law systems as opposed to Australia’s common law system. From a personal perspective, being thrown into a completely new learning and living environment has made me more adaptable, versatile, and pragmatic in approaching new challenges when they arise; skills which are invaluable in terms of personal development.

My particular exchange program is quite specific in terms of language requirements. Nevertheless, I would recommend a France exchange to anyone who is looking to experience an entirely new culture. To those interested in undertaking an exchange in France in either French or English, I encourage you to speak with the fantastic team in the Bond Exchange office, who are always ready to help and guide students through the outbound exchange process.

Find out more about going on exchange as part of your Bond degree. 

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