C’est dur d’avoir vingt ans en deux mille vingt.” It is hard to be 20 yrs previous in 2020. Such had been the text of Emmanuel Macron on Oct 14th as he declared localised curfews across France, just one of the several measures to beat the second wave of Covid-19 in the place.

As a 20 12 months outdated in 2020 and a resident in Paris, Macron’s words and phrases have a unique resonance with me. My raison d’etre in Paris in the midst of a pandemic is the Erasmus programme, a European Union-led programme that encourages scholar exchanges between European universities.

Irrespective of whether born out of my (to some degree naive) perception that I would “come household fluent in French”, my drive to travel or a bit of both, I have always wanted to participate in the programme and attend a French college. Even though it started to seem additional and extra unlikely as the summer season of Covid-19 progressed, Trinity Higher education was a person of the handful of universities to allow for their exchange programmes to continue on.

Possibly way, whether or not in Dublin or in Paris, there was heading to be no escaping the pandemic. On the other hand, upon arriving here in September, I noticed a distinctly diverse attitude to Covid-similar limitations. As Eire debated soaked pubs and county borders, the French appeared, on the complete, a lot more peaceful and fatalistic, in spite of the exponential development of scenarios.

There had been no seats off boundaries on the metro, selection boundaries in retailers appeared aspirational and people today were not dismounting the footpath to preserve their distance. Pints without the need of €9 meals were being unquestionably not contraband and cocooning was reserved for the butterflies. Paris seemed to be keen to find out the “normal” in the “new normal”.

The town may well have felt fast paced to me but it was a considerably cry from pre-Covid Paris. The queuing barriers main into the Louvre ended up made redundant as we breezed into the entire world-popular gallery without owning to endure the notorious ready situations. It was in no way tricky to ebook a slot to ascend the Arc de Triomphe and I even managed to wander down a fifty percent-empty Parisian street to get a close-up watch of Sam Bennett on his way to Tour de France glory.

The university knowledge I have experienced here so considerably is in no way comparable to that of past exchanges but I have discovered to adapt my expectations. On the net lectures have been par for the program in Ireland, exactly where universities have been on the net considering the fact that April – indicating the novelty of Zoom lectures has extended worn off.

My host college, Sciences Po, made a decision to adopt the “hybrid model” of university educating, which meant I would be having classes on the internet as the norm. In spite of this I acquired to see more of my classmates than I anticipated.


Scholar societies adapted with sanitary steps and managed to obtain huge parks and outside bars to give us alternatives to rub shoulders (or bump elbows) with fellow learners. The stranger university knowledge was experienced by some of my fellow Irish-on-Erasmus who had to go to in-particular person lectures in close by universities that refused to bring their presenting on-line. Some French universities were satisfied to fill their lecture halls with pre-lockdown degrees of pupils, a far cry from the additional deserted Irish colleges.

Nonetheless, even in the face of Gallic nonchalance, Covid-19 made its presence felt. Bar closures arrived 1st in early Oct, adopted days later by a town-large curfew and a national lockdown. For the very last several months journey has been restricted to in a 1km radius and 1 hour of exercise a day is permitted. Not just the cultural expertise the EU promised to budding Erasmus individuals.

Nonetheless, staying resident in the Irish Cultural Centre (previously the Irish Higher education) has without doubt built factors a lot easier. At a time of minimal cross-border vacation we are in some way exiled in France all through the battle against Covid-19. Despite instances threatening to unravel some residents’ Christmas travel options, the students and artists in residence have remained positive and I am indebted to them for the companionship they have presented me with through this next countrywide confinement.

Encountering a French lockdown, as effectively as owning good friends of mine asking whether or not they really should just take up a university exchange spot this January, has created me ponder no matter whether a yr overseas in 2020 was well worth enterprise. Is it worthwhile to shift to one more state in the midst of a global pandemic only to attend Zoom lectures that could be accessed with a excellent internet link from your bed room? How can you probably encounter the lifestyle of a restricted and periodically locked-down metropolis? Not to mention the well being threats included in generating the shift in the initial put.

In spite of all the negatives, I would have to reply, of course, it has been worth it. The small issues have designed my time in this article certainly worthwhile: outings to the barber are cost-free French language lessons, lockdown espresso operates are self-led going for walks excursions and a couple of text with the community boulanger in no way fails to set a smile on my masked confront. Volunteering for a university student-led soup operate has become a staple in my 7 days through lockdown and interacting with the homeless individuals of Paris has set me confront to encounter with a further facet of French life that you will not obtain in a tourist brochure.

At a time when the grand ideas in our life have been put on keep, we have had to reset anticipations and learn to take pleasure in these matters that in 2019 might have been dismissed as insignificant. For the previous couple of months I have experienced the privilege of residing in this metropolis at a one of a kind instant in its record. It is legitimate that remaining 20 in 2020 is challenging, but it has its compensations.

Intercontinental college student service fees

‘We’ve been still left superior and dry’: intercontinental pupils on university charges and on-line lessons.

We requested worldwide college students who have travelled to Ireland to share their sights on what their faculty encounter has been like.

A lot of who are battling with on the net lectures, empty campuses and several social events truly feel they have been brief-changed and want refunds.

Intercontinental college students from outdoors the EU can fork out charges up to €25,000 for undergraduate courses (or €55,000 in the situation of medication). Unlike Irish and EU college students, they are not eligible for the €250 refunds introduced just lately.

Niranjan Madhugiri Prasanna Kumar, Carlow

“I have compensated €10,250 and I have appear to Eire to get a good excellent of education and learning and now there are no lessons on campus and all the things is on the internet and the school requested us to be current on the campus to get started my master’s. Additionally, I am not acquiring portion-time operate everywhere.”

Jitesh Bhatia, Dublin

“We’ve travelled countless numbers of miles, compensated 6 times more charges than EU nationals and shelled out hundreds of euro per thirty day period for rent and dwelling just to continue to be inside our homes. We are obtaining zero global exposure. Our finding out expertise has been greatly compromised. I assume a cost refund is the the very least that our university could do for us.”

Preeti Wadhwani, Dublin

“I determined to fork out thousands of euro and bear the expenses of keeping in an high priced town. I feel I am finding only 20 for every cent in return. I have fulfilled my classmates only after for an hour. These limitations are significant for our protection but I sense the learners should really get at least some percentage of charges back again.”