There is a certain air to Paris, most especially to students. It is rather magical actually, to walk the cobblestone streets that Haussmann and Hemingway graced, to glance through the Classics in the Louvre, spanning from Raphael and Da Vinci. Generally, I guess it is every college girl’s dream to live and study here in Paris; I know it was mine. For liberal arts students exclusively, I tend to agree that Paris deserves the top ranking as the best student city in the world.
According to the article, “Paris ranked ‘best city in the world’”, while “Paris does have a reputation for being an expensive place to live, relatively low tuition fees mean that for students, it actually represents a more affordable destination when compared to many other popular student cities.” These ‘other popular student cities’ include Boston, Prague, and London, and while Boston may be the ‘Athens of America’ (“Paris ranked ‘best city in the world”), it is also fairly difficult to relate to collegiate texts (especially artworks) if it is not tangible or has the possibility of becoming reality.
With this statement, I mean that if I am taking an Art History class, and we just learned an art piece by Da Vinci or Gericault, I can easily take my Navigo pass and swipe it through the Metro Line 1, and I’ll be at the Louvre Museum to see it for myself in less than an hour. Seeing the painting for myself justifies the idea that a painter, another human being like me, created this piece of art, and there is a reason as to why I should study their works. The tangibility of the art work and the accessibility of it becomes an obvious perk for a young intellectual like me.
In contrast to Paris’ obvious grandiose charm and allure, the general concern for a middle class college student is, quite bluntly, how to fit everything in a budget. This is where Paris has its downfall; according to Marc Montheard, Dean of Student Services at The American University of Paris, “Despite the low cost of tuition, and discounts and benefits for students, the reality is that Paris is still a very expensive city to live in.” I tend to agree with Dean Montheard’s claim, being a student here myself. For example, it is fairly expensive (for me, at least), to have 8-12 Euro lunches everyday, which in equivalent to dollars, is about 10-15 bucks. In comparison, I used to eat lunch out everyday in high school; however, it was only about 5-10 dollars.
In the article, “Paris is pricey, but it’s the best city for students”, Anne Waldrop claims that, Paris is a “great place to be a student because you can get so many great deals. People should always show their student card wherever they, as there are always discounts available, even when they are not advertised.” However, I must counter this claim because there are student discounts everywhere, and if one compares the discounted rates for students in the United States versus Paris, it is still a lot cheaper in America. It is understandable that tuition fees are higher in the United States due to the fact that the cost of living is lower compared to Paris. However, it is just a matter of perspective, and solely depends on the student. For example, which one is worth more? Food/Social Life or Education?
With regard to lower tuition fees, smaller class sizes, and a tour-de-force city for liberal arts students, Paris is incomparable to any other student city. It deserves its crème-de-la-crème ranking, and I hope that every student aspires to study in the city of lights sometime in their years of education.