The Places I Visited While Studying in Paris

Posted by LIM College on May 15, 2015 11:25:00 AM

Jessica_Italy4by Jessica Tapiculin

While I may have been an LIM exchange student studying in Paris, I did get to travel. Mais oui! One of my favorite things about Europe is being able to easily go to different countries at affordable prices.

When I visited Italy, I went to three cities, all of which were completely different from one another. My first stop was Venice and my least favorite among the three. While the city was beautiful, it was personally too much water for me. I admired the 80 euro gondola ride from afar and instead indulged in the leather goods, gelato, and pizza—a necessary to-do!  

Anyway, spending three days in Naples resulted in two amazing day trips in beautiful 65 degree weather. One day consisted of climbing Mount Vesuvius and visiting the ruins of Pompeii and the other was dedicated to relaxing on the beautiful island of Capri.

These three days were a hike—literally. Huffing and puffing a good thirty minutes up Mount Vesuvius was definitely worth the view of the crater and the city below. Being the only active volcano in mainland Europe, you can still see smoke coming out from certain parts of the crater.

From there, my friends and I took the train to the ruins of Pompeii. In case you don't already know, Pompeii is an ancient city that was destroyed due to the eruption of Vesuvius. Today, the ruins hold artifacts, a theatre and a standing coliseum, as well as a few displays of people/animals that were covered by the ash. We were surprised not only at how much remained, but how massive the whole site was! Two of us actually ended up being lost within the ruins…when it was closing…during nightfall. Let’s just say my superstitious self didn’t react too well to that.

On our last day, we took a ferry to the island of Capri. Here we entered the Grotta Azzurra (Blue Grotto) and saw the Faraglioni rock formations. For an additional 13 euro, two-minute boat ride, we were able to enter the Grotta (basically a cave) and see the sunlight illuminate the beautiful blue water. The prices were a bit high for the attractions, but I always ask myself “When am I ever going to be here again?” and pay it anyway.

Jessica_Italy1 Jessica_Italy2 Jessica_Italy3

After this we walked, hiked, trooped, crawled (that was me!) across this uphill island to land in the Giardini (Gardens) Augusto. If you can’t tell by now, I don’t get much exercise and I’ve come to learn that my friends do. Here, we were able to view the famous Faraglioni which are three rock formations in the water, two of which create a small passage/arch. Sitting in the garden and taking in the view was a breath of fresh air from the hustle and bustle of Paris. It was also a plus that it felt like summer in the middle of what’s supposed to be my New York winter!

Jessica_Italy5From Naples, my friend Haylee and I took the train to the beautiful city of Milan. Powered by its history and architecture, the trip was very humbling. What surprised me was not only the amount of churches, but just how grand each one of them was. We spent most of our time admiring about ten of them all over the city. The most famous church is the Duomo di Milano (Milan Cathedral) and compared to the Notre Dame in Paris, to me it was much more impressive.

Travelling has also led me to be able to listen to the different perceptions of “back home.” I laughed a bit hearing the negatives and the positives when the words “New York” come up. Even coming from a big city, I’m very humbled to be able to travel to other countries and cities, which are really incomparable. Each city is its own experience and being able to see it as an individual instead of a comparison only adds to that.

Topics: Paris, Milan, Italy, Venice, Pompeii, Naples

Tips on the Study Abroad Process

Posted by LIM College on Apr 2, 2015 11:00:00 AM

By Jessica Tapiculin

The study abroad process was lengthy and a bit stressful for me. My first problem? 1. An expired passport. 2. A last minute visa appointment 3. My visa not being ready three days before my flight (which had me crying at the consulate) 4. Apartments I had wanted to rent suddenly becoming unavailable 5. Trying to fit four months of clothes into two suitcases!

The first four are completely preventable, but the last one—I'm sure we have all struggled, and will continue to struggle with that one! 

paris14_040215These tips may make the process a little easier:

1. Keep copies of your documents. After getting accepted, make sure all your documents are up to date and keep copies of your passport/ID on your computer. You're going to need to send them to the school abroad and your landlord/real estate agent at least once.

2. Housing. If your school doesn’t offer housing, look for areas you like and then search for apartments. If you care about the proximity from your apartment to the school, start there. Even if you are a bit farther out, the Metro in Paris is so much easier to understand than the MTA. Since my school doesn’t have dorms or housing, I went through a Paris real estate agency, but airbnb is a great option too if you want to skip the additional fee. Student housing in Paris is also much harder to get into and around the same cost, if not more, than getting your own apartment.

3. Be aware of additional steps. Some countries require more steps than just your visa interview. If you are choosing to go to France, there is the “Campus France” portion. Fill out this form immediately or as early as you can! It takes two to three weeks to process, and after confirmation, you can schedule your visa interview ahead of time. I was unaware of this part and ended up being on a time crunch. The visa “interview” was the most annoying part of the process, but as long as you have the necessary patience and documents that are required, it should be a breeze. If you didn’t know already, it’s not a real interview. It’s basically just handing in your papers. Be prepared to wait a while at the consulate. I had to wait for three hours the second time I went. After your interview, your visa will be ready in exactly one week.

paris14_040215_24. Create a budget. You may go over or be under your budget depending on your spending habits, but if you need to be careful about your spending, it gives a good estimate! Checking the exchange rate also helps in order to know what to expect. In four months, I’ve spent, in total, less than $5,000 for everything aside from rent.

5. Packing! Trust me when I say you probably won’t need two large suitcases plus a carry on like I did. At the end of my trip, I ended up packing a whole suitcase of clothes I didn’t use! So if you add up the $80 I had to spend just to have a second piece of luggage and the $200 extra for my luggage being a few pounds overweight at the airport, it equals a cute pair of shoes I could have had instead. In the event you want to buy some goodies while studying abroad, which I’m sure you will, travel a little lighter so you can bring back more special things without having to pay extra.  

Finally, bienvenue a Paris (or wherever you may be studying abroad)!

Topics: study abroad, international visitors, tips, Jessica Tapiculin, France

Why I Chose Paris

Posted by LIM College on Mar 12, 2015 10:00:00 AM

by Jessica Tapiculin

paris14_031215Like any normal day in the city, I woke up to the playful screams of kids outside alongside the sweet sound of taxis beeping, was elbowed in the face on the jam-packed subway and headed up to class after a 10 minute wait for the Townhouse elevator. However, that day was about to change for the better. March 27, 2014 I checked my inbox and the subject read, "Jessica Tapiculin, you’re going to Paris!" Realizing it wasn't spam, it felt surreal…and I immediately posted it on Instagram post, of course. It seems so far away when you're at freshman orientation hearing about the study abroad program and then boom—you're a junior, booking your plane ticket and actually going abroad!

Backtracking to my essay and interview during the application process, I really didn't having a legitimate reason of choosing Paris. "Well, why not Paris?” I thought. Since I wanted to make a good impression, I turned to none other than... Google. I typed in "quotes about Paris" in the search and after about 25 corny love and romance lines, I landed upon one I knew and it has since stuck with me.

paris14_031215_2"If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris..., then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast." This quote is from one of my favorite books, A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway, about his life in Paris in the 1920's. When I visited France after being accepted, I randomly met a woman from Poland who left home where she had felt lost and unsure of who she was and what she wanted to be. She then told me, "I came here by chance and only go back home by choice. You may leave Paris, but Paris never leaves you. When you leave, the city won't stay the same...and neither will you. Paris is the place to go to find yourself." After hearing this and its relevance to Hemmingway's quote, I felt like it was a sign that I had made the right decision. 

I've never been out of the tri-state area for an extended period of time so my nerves and homesickness kicked in even before I left the country. However, I slowly realized as I've been living here, separation from the "norm" and the comfort of home has helped me understand who I am and what I want. It may be hard to understand how a place can make you feel all this if you haven't experienced it for yourself. Granted, some of you reading this blog came from all over the country and the world just to go to LIM, so you may know the feeling! While I'm not always so keen to change, I have a bigger fear of being "stuck"…stuck in my hometown, stuck with the same people, and stuck in the same routine. I see so many occurrences of this because sometimes it's hard leaving what you know and what you're used to. While this isn't always a bad thing, staying in one place isn't my thing. So if you do get the chance to study abroad, which I'm hoping you do—take it! Whether it's in France, Italy, Australia, Spain, etc., make the choice and find the place that serves as your own moveable feast.

Topics: study abroad, Paris, global, Jessica Tapiculin

Where to Shop in Paris

Posted by LIM College on Feb 17, 2015 10:25:00 AM

By Erin Cornell

Paris is the fashion capital of the world, and as a result, has some excellent places to shop. I’d like to share some of my favorite places and new discoveries that I’ve made.

Since I was studying abroad in the fall semester, I was lucky enough to be in Paris for the holiday season.  Christmas decorations go up right after Halloween over here since Thanksgiving isn’t celebrated. Christmas markets open up all over Paris around mid-November, and the most popular ones are located at La Défense and along the Champs-Elysées. These markets are great places to find holiday gifts and sample the vin chaud (mulled wine). The Christmas Village along the Champs-Elysées is especially beautiful and stretches the entire length of the avenue. There’s even an ice skating rink and a Ferris wheel!

Vintage shops abound in Paris, and they’re much more affordable than the ones in New York. The stores are filled with fur coats, military jackets, and fabulous costume jewelry. I recommend a visit to Kilo Shop and the Free ‘P’ Store, which are conveniently located right next to each other in the 4th arrondissement. Kilo Shop has strange hours, and you pay for everything based on how much it weighs. There are scales located throughout the store to check the cost of what you’ve picked up, and you can find some great bargains here. The store also carries its own vintage-inspired clothing line and smaller accessories at fixed prices. The Free ‘P’ Store is a smaller establishment but it’s still filled with vintage goodness. You might have to dig a little to find something good, as the store isn’t very organized. Both shops are worth a visit and are perfect places to find something that gives you that French je ne se quoi.

Paris is also home to some great concept shops. Merci and Colette are two of my favorites.  Merci is located in the 11th arrondissement, and carries a wonderful mix of clothing and home goods. It even has its own restaurant. There’s also a bookstore attached to the restaurant where you can spend the day reading and drinking café au lait. The store is a great mix of vintage and contemporary, and it features a charming cobblestone courtyard with a cheerful little red car parked out front. The shop has a very relaxing atmosphere, and the staff is both helpful and fluent in English. Colette is located on the trendy Rue Saint-Honoré in the 1st arrondissement, and is always full of exciting collaborations and limited edition items. I was so excited to be able to see one of my favorite Instagram artists, Donald Robertson (@donalddrawbertson), at Colette when he was promoting his collaboration with Smashbox Cosmetics and handing out personalized drawings on Colette bags. Getting my own work of art drawn by Donald Robertson was definitely a highlight of my study abroad experience. Colette carries high-end designers like Valentino, Dior, and Balmain, in addition to innovative streetwear brands. A visit to their second floor is a must to see the latest designer clothing and shoes. The store can be a little crowded, but I would recommend visiting it at least once just for the experience.

There are many more stores to visit in Paris, but the ones I’ve mentioned are great places to start! And, there are just as many Zara and H&M locations here as there are in New York, so it’s fun to find places you can’t visit back home. It really adds a unique perspective to the study abroad experience.

A Christmas market in Les Halles.
The Merci car in front of the Merci shop.

Donald Robertson’s work at Colette.

Topics: LIM College, study abroad, Paris, fashion, shopping, Erin Cornell

A Trip to Venice

Posted by LIM College on Feb 11, 2015 3:36:00 PM

By Erin Cornell

One of the great things about studying abroad is how easy it is to visit other countries. I knew I wanted to travel outside of France once I got here, but I had never planned a trip on my own before. I’ve been to several European countries in the past, such as England, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, and the Netherlands, but that was always with a large group.

The one country I had always wanted to visit was Italy since my grandmother is half Italian and I’m proud of that part of my heritage. My grandma told me that the Italian side of her family was originally from Venice, so I knew I wanted that to be the first place I visited. I was worried about spending a lot of money, since opening my French bank account took a few weeks to open and I only had a limited amount of euros on hand. My roommate and I decided to take a day trip to Venice and, in order to save money, not stay overnight in a hotel.

We found a reasonably priced flight going out of Orly Airport early one morning and had about eight hours to explore Venice before catching an evening flight back to Paris. Just landing at Marco Polo Airport was so exciting! I loved watching the little groups of islands in the Laguna Veneta grow bigger and bigger as our plane landed on a tarmac that was surrounded by water. The airport is located just outside of Venice, so we had to take a water taxi into the city. Venice’s roads, as you may know, are actually lagoons, so boats are the only method of transportation.

After horribly pronouncing the location of where we needed the taxi to take us (Guglie, it turns out, it not pronounced like “google-y”), we were off to meet up with a walking tour group. A native Venetian led us over beautiful bridges and canals while explaining the history of Venice and pointing out tourist traps to avoid. I ignored some of her advice and picked up a few things at a souvenir shop because sometimes it’s fun to be a typical tourist.

paris14_021215The walking tour took up most of our day, but it was definitely worth it since neither I nor my roommate knew much about where to go in Venice. We hung out in St. Mark’s Square for a bit and went to the top of the Campanile, which has an incredible view. Though we both wanted to take a gondola ride, they are really expensive and we ended up skipping that part of the Venetian experience.

One of my favorite spots was a bookshop we visited on the walking tour. It’s called the Libreria Acqua Alta, or High Water Bookstore, and it has a gondola inside where the books are stored during the frequent flooding. The store was filled with piles of books and sleeping cats, and even had a pile of waterlogged books outside that you could climb in order to look out over the canal.

After sampling some gelato and getting slightly lost in the maze of streets, it was time to head back to the airport. Overall, it was a perfect day. I couldn’t believe how easy it was to plan this trip on my own, and I didn’t miss my flight or lose my wallet either. This ended up being the only trip outside of France that I took, and I couldn’t have asked for a better experience. Venice is a great city to visit for a day, since it’s small enough to see all of the main attractions in a short amount of time and it is stunningly beautiful. I would highly recommend a visit to any aspiring study abroad students!

paris14_021215_2The view from the Campanile
paris14_021215_3Houses on the Grand Canal

Topics: LIM College, study abroad, Paris, Italy, Erin Cornell, Venice, Where Business Meets Fashion, tourist

Traveling on a Budget

Posted by LIM College on Jan 23, 2015 9:30:00 AM

By Erin Cornell

Studying abroad is an amazing experience, but it can also be very expensive. Groupe ESG does not provide student housing, so if you do decide to study in Paris you will be responsible for finding somewhere to live for four months, and the rent is just as high in Paris as it is in New York. I ended up finding a great apartment in the 20th arrondissement, but I still need to budget my money carefully to pay for food, shopping, and most importantly, travel expenses.

budgetJust like the New York subway, the Paris metro is the easiest way to get around the city. I pay around 70 euros a month for a Navigo pass, which is the equivalent of a MetroCard. The Navigo gives me unlimited access to the metro, bus, and tram lines throughout the city, and on weekends travelling outside of Paris using the RER train lines is free. The RER lines connect to Disneyland Paris, Versailles, and La Vallée Village outlet mall, which are all located on the outskirts of Paris and are great day trips. I would recommend getting a Navigo pass instead of paying for individual tickets, since you will need to take the metro almost every day. You will need to have a passport-size photo of yourself to put on your Navigo, but there are photo booths for this purpose located in most metro stations. The pass itself costs 5 euros and you will need to speak to the RATP employee in the information booth located in each station to get your pass. The RATP is the equivalent of the MTA, and most of the employees can speak English. Once you have a Navigo, you can reload it each month using a machine that can be set to English as well, so don’t worry about any language issues.

Travelling outside of the country is one of the best parts of studying abroad. Paris gives you easy access to planes, trains, and even buses that can take you to new and exciting locations. For my trip to Venice, I researched the costs and benefits of different trains and airlines before deciding to use the discount airline EasyJet. Surprisingly, taking a train would cost almost the same as flying, so EasyJet was a better and quicker method of travel. I would definitely recommend this airline to anyone interested in flying to a different country. The only downside was that you can’t print your tickets at the airport, so be prepared to find an Internet café before your trip. I would also recommend using sites like Hipmunk to plan any trips because they let you compare prices and get the best deal. If you plan on staying multiple days, hostels are definitely the cheapest accommodations. You will have to share a room with other people, but if you’re traveling with a group of friends, you can all reserve the same room.

The most important thing I can tell you is to do some research before booking a trip. Look online to see the best times and dates to book a flight, and be flexible. Once you get to your destination, there are always free activities and sites to visit. Don’t plan out every moment of your trip, but be aware of places to see and things to do. It’s also important to take lots of pictures and share them on Instagram with #LIMAbroad!

Topics: budget, study abroad, Paris, Erin Cornell, college student, LIM Abroad, college budget, Venice

A Semester in Paris

Posted by LIM College on Jan 6, 2015 1:12:00 PM

By: Erin Cornell

Bonjour! My name is Erin Cornell and I am a junior majoring in fashion merchandising studying abroad in Paris.  I’ve been a major Francophile for as long as I can remember, so when I knew I wanted to study abroad, Paris was the only choice for me. LIM’s study abroad program was actually the deciding factor when I was looking at colleges to attend. I’ve been on smaller trips with the school before, such as the French Fashion Analysis session last summer and I was lucky enough to be selected for the Japan trip the year before. I’ve been to Paris twice already, and I’m so glad to have the opportunity to be here for a couple of months.

010615Though Paris is the fashion capital of the world, I’m actually taking my business courses over here. LIM has an exchange program with Groupe ESG, which oversees several different colleges in Paris. I go to the Paris School of Business, or PSB. All of the schools that are a part of Groupe ESG have classes in the same building, which just moved to a brand new campus. It feels strange to have all of my classes in the same building—sometimes in the same room— after being used to traveling between buildings at LIM. What surprised me the most about PSB though was meeting all of the other exchange students. I was expecting to meet French students, but the majority of students I’ve met have been German. It’s really interesting to learn about the differences between countries, even if we’re all speaking English. For example, one friend from Australia told me that Australians call bell peppers “capsicums,” and she found it funny that in America the word “biscuits” does not refer to cookies. (Food is a constant conversation topic for us, since everyone misses their native cuisine).  I’m also amazed by how well everyone speaks English. Some students speak multiple languages depending on where they’re from, while my French is barely passable. I’d like to think I’ve improved my French since arriving, but I’m nowhere near fluent. I have picked up some German words, though.

Overall, I’ve really been enjoying my time here, and I can’t wait to share more about my experiences. Until then – à bientôt!

Topics: LIM College, study abroad, Paris, Erin Cornell, Groupe ESG, Paris School of Business


Posted by LIM College on Aug 25, 2014 11:16:00 AM

Montmartre is a neighborhood in Paris that is basically a hill. The neighborhood is known for its nightlife and famous Moulin Rouge.


I walked up to the top to visit another church, Basilica of the Sacré Cœur.

Basilica of the Sacré Cœur

It was a great view from the top!

Montmartre view from the top

Topics: nightlife, Montmartre, Moulin Rouge

Eiffel Tower

Posted by LIM College on Aug 18, 2014 11:11:00 AM

The number one attraction in Paris is the Eiffel Tower. I visited it during the day, and night and both times it was stunning.

Eiffel Tower at night

Taking a lunch and having a picnic in the surrounding gardens was a great way to spend a few hours.

Eiffel Tower during day

Topics: study abroad, Paris, Eiffel Tower

Love Locks on the Pont des Arts

Posted by LIM College on Aug 11, 2014 3:53:00 PM

My friend and I visited the Pont des Arts – or “Love Locks” bridge.

Love Locks Bridge

It was amazing to see the locks glisten in the sun.

locks closeup from Love Locks Bridge

The lock is to signify an everlasting love, and throwing the key in the Siene shows that it will never be broken. I chose to put the initials of my family members on the lock.

lock closeup from Love Locks Bridge

Topics: Pont des Arts, Love Locks Bridge