17 November 2020
What are the advantages of studying in a provincial city?
Ah, Paris! Its wonderful monuments, its inimitable ambience… but also its ridiculous rents, pollution, stress and time wasted on overcrowded public transport! Don’t worry, although we adore Paris and we’re only one and a half hours away by train, France is not just about Paris and student life is not solely concentrated in the Greater Paris region.
There are in fact many advantages to studying in the provinces. It’s neither a good choice nor a bad choice, just a different option for many students to develop their careers in large metropolises or smaller cities outside the Paris region. Not sure? Here are a few reasons that might change your mind.
Unsurprisingly, finding accommodation in Paris is very complicated and expensive. The rent prices are very high and the facilities are often minimal. Of course, not all students have to sleep in a tiny attic room with toilets on the landing. However, unless you have a considerable budget, living in Paris can be very expensive.
The provinces offer unbeatable prices for students. A study has shown that 9 of the 10 most expensive student cities are in the Greater Paris region. Studying outside Paris can considerably reduce your budget and offer a better quality of life. The average rent for a studio apartment in Nantes is 413 euros, compared to 830 euros in Paris. In Strasbourg, it’s 454 euros. In Lille, it’s 472. In smaller cities, it’s even more affordable: 361 euros in Angers and around 300 euros in Troyes.
Quality of life
Imagine a student city where it takes no more than 15 minutes to get to college. This is the reality in many provincial cities. All student cities have a good public transport network and transport time is significantly reduced. But a smaller city also means less time wasted on the road, less pollution and a better quality of life. Who wants to be stuck on the train during the rush hour when you can have a better student life by walking or cycling safely?
A more human approach
It’s not a myth: the smaller the city, the easier it is to get to know people, make friends and settle in easily. In the provinces, the higher education institutions are more friendly. You can discuss things easily with the lecturers and professors, form links with the local residents, get involved in the societies, organise events quickly and create a solid network in which the focus is on personal relations.
In management schools, the campus spirit is already well developed. But in regional schools, there’s a family spirit in which the school – along with its French and foreign students, administrative and teaching staff and management – play the role of a second family. You don’t just study at university. You enjoy an incredibly enriching human experience.
Moving to a new area also means getting out of your comfort zone and coping with new surprises. Local traditions, events, cultural specialities, gastronomy, sports activities, and much more – Paris does not have the monopoly on an exciting student experience. Concerts, museums, high-level sports events and culture in general is very accessible in a provincial city. And often much cheaper! Plus nature is often much closer, whether it’s the countryside, the mountains or the sea.
Although studying in a provincial city offers many benefits, it’s important to choose a city where you feel at home. For some, the proximity to Paris with the advantages of the provinces is important. For others, a change of scenery and cultural openness will be worth considering. What counts in the end is finding the ideal place to fully enjoy your student life, whether you’re in Clermont-Ferrand, Dijon, Bordeaux or… Troyes!