Eleven.

So for those who know me, you know that I’m obsessed with Paris (France) and I’ve wanted to live there for a very long time. You would also know that I’ve planned to go on exchange since I learned about the opportunity… I’m not talking about a distant possibility of, “We’ll see what happens; that’s in the future…” I’m literally talking about, “Okay, my university has exchange university partners so I’m going to go to Paris for my third year. They really want me to put three choices though so I guess I’ll look around at other places, but really my heart is set on Sciences Po in Paris so that’s where I’m going.”

That’s been my mind-set for, at the very least, the past year and a half. That’s what I’ve worked towards, I’ve never deviated from that goal.

Today, there was an exchange fair at school and I didn’t think I needed to go (and honestly I didn’t) but I went anyway and now I’m so confused. My heart is definitely in Paris but my brain is kind of kicking in and suggesting that I might not be able to afford to live in Paris and honestly, Lyon or Brussels is not too far away… Transportation in Europe is awesome and affordable, all three cities/universities are French, they’re all in good countries, in Europe… The only difference is that the other two aren’t Paris. They don’t have Eiffel Towers or Triumphal Arcs, they’re not instantly associated with love and light and metropolitan beauty…

So now I don’t know what I want to do. All three places are wonderful from what I’ve read/heard and even though my heart is 100% set on Paris, my brain knows the other cities might actually offer more opportunities and I still wouldn’t miss out on Parisian life.

If anyone lives in these cities or goes to one of the universities, I would really appreciate some advice. I have to put these universities in order of preference:
Sciences Po – Paris: http://www.sciencespo.fr/en
Jean Moulin (Lyon 3) – Lyon: http://www.univ-lyon3.fr/en/
ULB – Brussels: http://www.ulb.ac.be/

Some of the things I’d want to know are like rent, groceries, social activities, transportation (both within the city and national/international), social life (like neighborhoods or friendliness/openness or people… or how much they like foreigners), work/school life (like visas and flexibility), etc… Please pass this post around to others who might be able to help too – I could really use some advice. I know I can’t really make a bad choice or the wrong choice but I want to make the best choice.

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