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Your story N°2: Why choosing a host family ?

by Mr King (Egypt)

Why The Family?

Bonjour/ Bonsoir to all my friends coming from all over the world. Having this chance to live the Parisian experience is a bless. We are here now surrounded by kind people who speaks the most romantic language on earth, but we cannot understand them because it’s a different language than ours. So, why the family?

Depending on your goal, your future plan & situation. I will always say YES to the family because the minimum benefit you could’ve is the language. I won’t say a 100% proficiency but at least it will help encouraging you to speak freely without feeling shy or at least being more confident about yourself. You might say I don’t need to speak French, everyone here speaks English. True, but sometimes you will find yourself in the middle of

nowhere where the train stops because of an accident and the announcement goes with French, seeing everyone packing and standing up while you can’t understand a single word. This happened to me two years ago. So, at that very moment I understood that I NEED to learn French ASAP. And frankly speaking I found the family the easier way to understand, learn and speak French. Also, never forget the more exposure to the culture the more fun.

Being a part of the French society will guarantee you an easier life and a better lifestyle. Because living the Parisian experience is way different than being a tourist in Paris. You are now a part of this city living day after day in the same place, having new memories to add, more stories to tell & much more smiles to draw. The family am hosted by is super lovely, respectful & kind. I feel like home. They never bothered me or even made me feel like a stranger. I have my own privacy. They helped me with different things regarding the city, the routes I should use to my university, we had dinner together… and much more of more home alike attitude. And here I would like to say something, you are the responsible of how they treat you. Your attitude reflects the real you so then you can gain respect, trust & love.

Most of you consider it more expensive than living alone which is not true in a sense. Having the breakfast meal provided by the hosting family saves you almost the extra amount you pay for breakfast on a daily basis. Also, the location of the hosting house could be nearby your school which saves you extra money too. I am not asking you to accept whatever option of hosting family you have, but I recommend you consider it as a great option for living and improving. No one knows better than the original people of each country. Try not to focus too much on parties and wasting time with friends because as we mentioned previously it all depends on what your goal is?

Being a student means you are kind of a full-time dedicated person to earn knowledge, language and certificate. So, work harder and forget about TOO MUCH FUN now because this is your future trip.

I wish you all best of luck, happiness and success.

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Your story N°1 “My First Days in Paris”

by MHS from Pakistan

My First Days in Paris

Ernest Hemingway said and I quote “If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast”.

I applied to Paris School of Business got admission and got my visa after a long wait. The biggest dream of my life was about to come true. I was waiting at the airport lounge in my country for my flight looking at my ticket with curiosity and excitement. 12 hours later I was at Paris airport. The moment I stepped out of the airport I could feel the change in the air, it had a different aura. On the way to my apartment I kept on observing my surroundings the buildings the way they are constructed each of them has a story to tell. At last I reached my apartment thanks to feel Parisien everything was arranged before my arrival, they are very hard working and efficient.

I was very tired the first day so I kept my bags aside and slept. The next day when I woke up I was very excited because I was going to see the Eiffel Tower. Remember always to keep your passport and money safe while going to tourist places for the first time because these sites attracts a lot of pocket pickers. Well I changed my clothes bought a sandwich from the store near my residence and headed towards the RER train. The transportation system in paris is perfect but you need at least a week to understand it. I was lucky I had it all mapped out which RER to take when to get off and take a metro. I got off from the RER at Francois Mitterrand took the metro to Bercy and finally to Bir-Hakeim (tour de Eiffel).

The first sight of Eiffel tower was mesmerizing, I will remember it for the rest of my life. Standing near the Eiffel tower and watching it had a strange satisfaction it gives you happiness. Well I walked towards it crossed the entry doors and after that you have to stand in long ques to get the ticket to get on the tower. It was a long wait but worth every second of waiting, I got to the top of Eiffel tower it’s a long journey but it will be the most beautiful journey of your life. You can see almost all of Paris from the top and it is scenic. It is my sincere advice to all of the upcoming students to go to the top and enjoy the best view of Paris.

I have been telling you the Pros of Paris and my first day at Eiffel tower but there are cons too all of you should stay away from scams. There are a lot of people right there near Eiffel tower who are going to scam you and rob your money. There will be people asking you for donations for charity they will have a clipboard in their hands they will come to you write your name and talk to you kindly and then ask you for money. Second are the one with cup and ball game they are extremely clever. They will show you that the game is very easy and you can win and they will double your money but it is different. The man shuffling the cups is the head and he has 3-4 people of his own in the crowd. These are the people who keep on playing and winning giving you the impression that you can win too but you never will no one outside their gang will ever win. I was a prey to it too, I was standing there watching it when a woman held my arm and forced me to play when I refused she said “okay I will play first” she gave the man 100 euros he shuffled the cups and she chose the right cup and he gave her 200 euros as winning money. This is all fraud. I was motivated that I can win too, I knew which cup had the ball I saw it but when I chose the cup it was empty and I lost 100 euros. Even if you choose the right cup you will not win because they create a distraction somehow and change the cups because it is what they do scam people and they are perfect at it. Stay away from all these games and don’t lose your money.

There are many other things to do like the mix club it’s a great nightclub with free entry to international students each Thursday before midnight, it is packed with international students. Go to louvre or eat a sandwich by the seine. Have your evening strolls at Champs-Élysées. I have been in Paris for just a few days but I have discovered a lot, seen a lot because I chose to travel and go out. I had some setbacks like losing my money to the cup ball game scam but never let anything push you back. I have yet to discover and learn a lot, every morning brings a new tale and every night a new adventure to tell. Paris has a lot of secrets you need to uncover it’s a beautiful city with beautiful people. Be brave and the world is yours.

Muhammad Hannan Shahid

French visa interview

4 rules to succeed your French visa interview at the embassy

You registered on Etudes en France and finally gathered all your paperwork, it’s time for your visa interview at the embassy. And here you are making an appointment for the interview to the French embassy from where you depend. Feel Parisien gives you four advices to nail your French visa interview.

Be frank and honest in your response, make your answer clear. 

Be clear on the purpose of your journey which is studying by mentioning the program and your motivations for it. The agreement or not of your French visa will depend on supplied information and your capacity to answer the questions of the consular agent. Thus there is no answer-type to see attributing or not a visa.

 

Show that you go to bring in (and that you will leave).

If you ask for a French visa of temporary stay, it is important to show your links with your country of origin. The consular agent who proceeds to the interview wants to make sure that you will not exceed the duration travel and that the latter pursues a precise objective.

Take with you proofs of your family ties (photocopy of the family book) or of your estate properties, all which can weigh this way.

 

Give precise answers at your french visa interview.

Whatever is the case, it is a question of being precise, of giving details of the purpose of your journey in France. If you received any help in your visa application by an agent in your country or by Feel Parisien, don’t mention it.

 

Do not forget to prove what you say.

Supporting documents are essential to any French case of visa application. Sometimes, they are compulsory as sponsor’s letter of an employer, sometimes they will only serve to prove what you say. Don’t forget to bring copies of all the documents on the checklist. And if you have even the slightest doubt on documents that you should bring just take them in case the interviewer asks for it.

 

If you have done your visa preparation with us don’t mention us as you are suppose to do all the paperwork on your own.

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Feel Parisien advises and examples to avoid scams

How to spot scams for accommodations in Paris or France or anywhere!

After spending times looking for accommodation you might be tired, desperate and come across nice and attractive … SCAMS !

Be careful, to avoid scams here are some tips to hep identify them :

– The way they are written. The posts which look like they’ve been copy/pasted, contain lots of capitalisation, contain random phrases or poor written English tend to be SCAMS.

– They are often Too good to be true : Huge Bedroom, amazing photo and location for 450 € : Not Happening.

– They miss some details: the post is vague with regards to the Area/arrondissement, Photos or Description of the apartment.

– They ask for money in advance : Pay before you visit, Pay before we submit your file, Pay without seing anything, find a friend to meet and visit the apartment/landlord!!!!!  Or just ask us to (link).

– They have wrong way of doing thing, they send an ID but its out of date, they ask you to pay so quickly.

– They have sometimes weird way of transfers via Western Union or Mandat Cash etc but be careful sometimes it can also be a regular bank.

 

Example of scams encountered this summer by two of our students

From: tripe rognon <triperognon@gmail.com>

“Je vous remercie pour l’intérêt accordé à mon appartement situé sur Paris (AVENUE DU GENERAL LECLERC3 pièces de 2 chambreS  et Un séjour
Le loyer est de 520 EUROS charges comprises pour chaque chambre. Cet appartement est  très propre et  les charges  renferment Le gaz, l’électricité et l’eau.
Bonjour, Votre situation me convient et les 2 chambres sont encore disponibles pour la location.

Voici la condition :*Apres réception de tout le dossier au complet une date commune sera trouvé afin qu’on puisse faire la visite rapidement.Je vous établirai un contrat de location dûment signé que je vous enverrai dans un premier temps si les conditions vous conviennent  et si les termes et clauses du contrat vous conviennent, vous le signer et vous me le renvoyer. Donc chacun aura alors une copie du contrat signé.

*Garantie de caution: (550 euros) a déposer obligatoirement par virement bancaire je vous enverrai le RIB afin de déposer la garantie de caution.

*C’est suite à la réception du dossier complet de location inclus le reçu de l’ordre de virement comme tout les autres candidats que la visite sera faite.Je vis à Avignon donc je ne voudrai pas me déplacer inutilement.

Visite possible possible les mercredi, vendredi et dimanche de 17h à 20h.
NB : N’insistez pas je ne donnerai pas suite au dossier non complet.”

This is only the first mail and here are the mistakes we can already see:
– The offer is too good to be true (everything is included even gaz and electricity for 520 €.
– He asks everyone to pay before he has reserved the spot for anyone! Which means if 100 people liked the appartment he is going to receive 100 000 € and then give back the money to each of you who he didn’t take for the bedroom ? Sure ? SCAMS ALERT.
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Tips to help you look for a cheap accommodation in Paris

GET YOUR KEYS TO A CHEAP ACCOMMODATION IN PARIS

Looking for a cheap accommodation

They are hundreds of websites on Paris accommodation, millions of housing ads for students or professionals in Paris and it’s difficult to go over the flow of information especially if you are on a budget and looking for a cheap accommodation.

 

The price

It’s really hard to find a cheap accommodation in Paris. You will need a budget of approximately minimum €650pm. Sometimes students have heard on blogs or other channels that they can find accommodation in Paris for 500€… well it’s not accurate or not up to date as of 2018.

 

Be careful to scams

First thing If it’s too good to be true it’s usually a scam. Anything less than €450 pm sounds like a cheap accommodation but is most likely to be a scam (link), so please watch out! You can try to get stipend from governments like the CAF (link) or get a job (link) if you need money to cover a Paris rent.

50-something male looking for 20-something female is never a good sign (its a colocation offer, not a lonely hearts ad!), stay internet savvy and don’t meet up with potential colocataires alone, always take a friend with you – likewise when viewing accommodation!

 

Check out how to avoid scams in this article :

 

Look around Paris.

There is this mythology of living in Paris but now a lot of neighbourhood like Pantin, Bagnolet, Vitry have access to Paris in 10 mn with the metro and give access to way better prices.

 

Now some recommendations of websites and student residences.

Websites

Erasmusu : please only look at verified housing and be careful because there can be a lot of scams on this website. Great website for meeting up with potential colocataires and Erasmus students.

Appartager : Plenty of websites to find potential colocataires good way of meeting new people

Studea Hauts de Seine A student residence from 534€

Facebook Groups

Plan Appart Paris

Plan Appart à Paris

Plan coloc à Paris

You can also try reaching out to your country peers in France like Americans in Paris etc, they have sometimes great tips to share.

The cheapest rate that we have seen so far in a student residence is at Ecla for a room with 6 to 8 persons. Check it here. Around 330€/month

Good luck in your search!

Here is a testimony from one of our students Summer:

“Yes, finding an apartment was not easy at all and I will share all three experiences I have encountered the past year.

I was not in Paris yet when I found my first apartment. It took me a few months to find one. I struggled at the start because most owners required a visit. I found my apartment on appartager.com. It is the perfect website if you are looking for a house mate or room mate. However, there are down sides to appartager.com. I noticed there are quite a handful of con artists so students have to be careful. Most of the owners only accept payment by cash. Some require a deposit before visiting. I was almost conned. I came across a really beautiful 32m2 apartment up for rent for 450€. It was located in the 10th, a prime area. For that price in that area? I found it too good to be true. I contacted the owner and she was extremely nice and told me to make advance payment for 2 months of rent. It was weird for her to request that since I have not visited the apartment yet. She seemed to trust me 100%. I will not go into details but the events that followed after that convinced me she was a con artist and I decided not to proceed with payment.
I managed to find an apartment in the 20th for 500€ per month. My owner was an Algerian woman. Exchanging messages was hard because there was a language barrier and I depended on google translate most of the time. She seemed legitimate and was very kind to me. I trusted her words. There were 4 rooms in the apartment and 3 were occupied. She told me she would wait upon my arrival and save the room for me.
When I arrived in Paris and got to the apartment, I realized she was staying in the living room with her 16 year old daughter. That was definitely something she missed out on telling me about since the start. I found it a little dishonest from then onwards. I tried to overlook it because at least I had a room to myself. I talked to my house mates about it and they told me they felt the same and were not too happy about it which is why they only come back at night to sleep. She has government aid as she is a single mother so she is technically not supposed to rent out her apartment and claim rent from anyone hence why she only accepts payment by cash and I could not apply for CAF. I did not feel comfortable staying there and wanted to leave but thinking about the whole process of finding a new apartment did not intrigue me at all so I stayed on. However, I only stayed there for 2 months before I got kicked out. Yes, I got kicked out for something she gave me permission to do, which was inviting friends over to my room. One of those days she told me I had to leave and gave me 2 weeks to look for another apartment. That was obviously impossible to achieve in that time span and by then I had already started classes so I was under a lot of stress. My friend took me in while I was looking for a new place.
She stayed at a residence called Nexity, next to Rosa Parks RER Station. I stayed with her for 3 weeks and felt like I was invading her personal space as she stayed in a 21m2 studio, 1 bedroom. It was not a student residence as I saw tourists, families and old people staying there. I would say majority were students though. There were studios available in Nexity but the rent was way over my budget! 21m2 were the biggest rooms available. Most were 19m2 and rent starts from 817€ per month. I found it very expensive but at that point I was desperate and tired of being completely out of luck so I decided to settle with the 19m2 studio.
I stayed there for 8 months. I did not have much complications there I just felt like they overcharge everything. I was free to do anything I want as long as it does not include damaging the furniture. I moved out because I did not like the neighborhood and I just felt like Nexity overcharges everything.  The only reason why I stayed there was out of desperation and it was walking distance to school. It was convenient. On the day I moved out, a staff came in to check how clean my room was but yet she charged me with a cleaning fee. I moved out on the 29th of June this year and I am still waiting for my deposit back after deducting cleaning fees and I have yet to know the amount.
Currently, I am in Malaysia for the summer break and my boyfriend and I decided to stay together and share rent. We are still in search of a way bigger apartment around the 3rd and 10th arrondissement where it feels more like Paris. We are searching on websites pap.fr and leboncoin. My boyfriend has made 2 visits so far and another next week.
Yes, I am aware agencies like Paris stay, book a flat and Paris attitude offer great apartments/studios but charge crazy fees on top of it so most of my friends and I usually search on pap.fr and leboncoin.
I hope sharing my experience will help shed a light on what foreign students like us face when we search for accommodation, and hopefully this will help you in your planning of operations. “

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