5 facts everyone should know about studying at the Sorbonne

I have to admit, I had many doubts going to Sorbonne. I stared at the acceptance letter and paraphrased in my head Woody Allen: “I’d never join a club that would allow a person like me to become a member.”

Is Sorbonne really so elitist as in the minds and hearts of its members and as its image is in popular culture? Have I been just lucky? “What” and “If” are two words as non-threatening as words can be. But put them together side-by-side and they have the power to haunt you for the rest of your life. So, as you probably can tell by the title of my article, I accepted.

This bring me to the present day, where only now, retrospectively, I can describe the 5 things I know to be true if you attend Sorbonne University.

1. Sorbonne is a magical place

“What is a brand?” asks by marketing professor, a young woman, dressed in high stilettos and curly blonde hair and eyes so big they could have been painted by Margaret Keane. Originally from Paris, this woman was always my favourite professor in my days of business school.

Seconds following the questions, a dozen hands raise, willing to answer the simple question. My hand raises as well, yet I realised that it is only at this very moment that Iunderstand the importance of a brand. The answers back then included words like “Distinguished,” “Unique,” and “Identity.”

The answer now to me, staring at the Pantheon, is “Status.”

Before you judge me on using the word status, hold that thought for just a minute. Yes, status is elitist, status is rising above the crowd, status is self-realization. Yes, status is all of that, but also something more.

Thanks to the brilliant J.K Rowling, we are all familiar with Hogwarts School of Witchcraftand Wizardry. Now that I’ve caught your attention, imagine being chosen to be a
Gryffindor. This is exactly what I felt walking inside the Pantheon in the Parisian Latin Quarter. And while the name Sorbonne is renowned world-wide, it is its status that makes the university one of a kind. It is like walking in a historic castle, filled with history and legacy, just like Hogwarts. This is what I mean by status: being part of history; becoming it even if you are ambitious and simply lucky enough to be part of it.

2. Sorbonne is Paris

I’m not going to lie, the city of Paris is just as glamourous, beautiful and romantic as portrayed in the movies -if you don’t mind the strikes and always wear pink eye glasses-. From walking down the Champs-Élysées, seeing the Eiffel tower from my classroom window and casual visits to the Louvre, there is no lack of entertainment and monuments, museums and exhibitions to fill every free hour of your day. Like for every university, the same reason applies as for real estate: location, location, location.

Like Audrey Hepburn said “Paris is always a good idea”.

3. History

If you are planning to study, or are studying, at the Sorbonne, you know the bar to success is high. Filling the shoes of icons who have graduated from Sorbonne like Vera Wang, princess of Monaco Marie Pomeline Casiraghi and former president of France François Mitterrand, the history that surrounds you can be daunting. However, when in doubt, I would highly suggest following Sex and the City’s Carrie Bradshaw’s advice: You can never have too many pairs of shoes.

4. Poser un Lapin

While the direct translation to English is “to put down a rabbit,” the French commonly use this expression as to say that they have been stood up. Now, if you attend Sorbonne, you know that being stood up is a phrase not only reserved for dates. While the French love to take their time, the professors and the administration team can easily change your timetable in a blink of an eye. While other cultures are centred around the concept “time is money,” time is usually enjoyed here and planning, well, not an important factor to be taken too much in consideration. On the bright side, this is Paris, so you never truly know what the day holds.

5. Studying is an art

I may sound like a geek, but going to the library is not a dreaded task for the students of Sorbonne. Regardless which faculty you are in, your library will most likely be extremely beautiful, extremely ornate and in some cases, outdated. Luckily, Paris’ famous contemporary art museum, Centre Georges Pompidou, also houses a famous contemporary library that will make you believe you are truly in a magical castle. To sum it up, think view, fast and free WiFi, a library café, and attractive Parisians. What more could you ask for?

Like Anne Rice said, “Paris was a universe whole and entire unto herself, hollowed and fashioned by history.”

In a nutshell, I would say Sorbonne is like a Prada bag (sorry Meryl Streep, not only the devils wear them) : exclusive, but also practical -in this case for your future-. O yes,
compared to the Unites States, also very affordable. This, after all, is still France:
Liberty, Equality Fraternity.

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