This blog post is about interests I developed (or rediscovered) in Paris. Studying abroad is also an opportunity to try out things you normally wouldn’t. This is particularly true at the beginning of your stay when a) barely anyone knows you so no one can judge you, and b) because barely anyone knows you, it is a great way to meet people.
I play football twice a week. Every Monday, I meet with refugees and other students. It is a fun atmosphere but that does not mean that it’s not competitive. We all want to win. For some of the refugees, it is the only opportunity to come in contact with students; the same applies in reverse. It struck me, once again, how powerful of a tool football can be. On Thursdays, I play futsal. It’s indoors, five against five. The ball is smaller than usual, and so are the goals. A good technique is the most important asset as it’s absolutely crucial to control the ball. Mistakes are punished almost instantly.
I also learned a good deal about football culture in France. Like in Germany, there are “traditionalists” who demand reasonable ticket prices and condemn the involvement of wealthy individuals, and “progressives,” for lack of a better word, who believe that the commercialisation of football is inevitable (of course there are many categories in between).
The city’s most successful team, Paris Saint-Germain, is owned by a single person. The club’s merchandise is worn by an incredibly large amount of people but only few of them are actual supporters. I asked one of my team-mates the other day whether he was upset about PSG’s dramatic elimination against Manchester United. He replied he couldn’t care less, adding that he “hated everything the club represents.” It is true that ticket prices are ridiculous and many, though of course not all, spectators are just that: they come to watch, not to support. But as luck would have it, 10 minutes from my residence you can find the home of PSG’s rival, Paris FC. I started going there instead; it feels more honest and student tickets are €6 only.
Writing has always been a hobby of mine. Nowhere, though, have I written as much as in Paris. Contrary to what you may assume, this increase in writing stems from duty rather than inspiration. Of course, that is not to say that I don’t enjoy creating pieces for university and beyond. I also started recording things I observe every day. They don’t have any artistic value whatsoever; they are stories I would tell my friends or, sometimes, random thoughts.
Sounds bizarre, fair, but I have developed a new appreciation for food. Perhaps this is due to my eating bread almost every day (make no mistake, I love bread, but sometimes a little change is needed indeed). So, when I am trying to diversify my diet, I try out different restaurants with friends. I must admit that the stuff I end up eating is not always diverse; in fact, I have been eating an awful lot of ramen and pizza lately. Still, every place, of course, has its own recipe. Plus, in search of the cheapest and yummiest restaurants, I also happen to discover new neighbourhoods. If I am correctly informed, Sciences Po does not have a food association yet. If it did, I would most probably join.
Last month, I mentioned that I was going to Mumbai during summer. I will do an internship at the Indo-German Chamber of Commerce (IGCC), at the department of sustainability to be exact. IGCC is the biggest chamber in the network, and I am sure I will learn a lot. In my next blog post, I will talk a bit about the value of appreciation. See you then!
MARCH 2019 | Loë Guthmann