Paris. The City of Light! The City of Love! Fashion! Food! La vie en rose!

Planning to go study abroad is exciting, and even dull preparations become sources of joy in anticipation. During the process, my number one goal was to find a home I can call home in Paris. I was in fact a bit scared to hear about difficulties in finding housings, but counselors and friends repeatedly ensured me, and they turned out to be right, for I have indeed found a place just for me.

A picture taken at an exhibition at Centre Georges Pompidou in July 2016.

Before I start talking about my dorm, I will have to point out this fact: you are not alone in your search. While the search for housing is indeed an individual responsibility, UCEAP does its best to help us. There was a brief meet-up session for Sciences Po, Paris, study-abroad session for UCLA students, and there our wonderful counselor Mauricio invited former students to give insights on what it’s like to be living in Paris – including housing.

There is also an UCEAP team in Paris to help and guide us as well on site. UCEAP has an extensive list of housing accommodation websites and organizations and has shared it with me with an input of which were most appreciated by former students. There are even more extra housing services one can get connected through Sciences Po as well. Add on Facebook, there are numerous options and opportunities out there.

And I have found mine in Fondation des États-Unis at Cité Internationale Universitaire de Paris.

A view after entering through the main gate; front entrance of Maison Internationale, the main house.

Located in 14th arrondisement, Cité Universitaire, or Cité for short, at the most southern end of Paris, is a one big town for international students studying in the city. Cité was originally built in aftermath of World War I to create a peaceful hub of international intelligence for students, professionals, intellectuals, and researchers.

There are about 40 “houses” in this gigantic park, and each “house” is a dorm ran by its own government or its affiliate(s). Each house provides cheap housings for students of its nationality mostly, but keeping sacred the original intent of founders of Cité, each house provides 30-50% of its accommodations to students of different nationalities. Which school those students attend do not matter either so long as they all study in Paris. Though there are differences between each building, they all provide a single studio at a very low cost. For example, my room is only 500 euros, about a half the price of other apartments I was looking at.

Cité’s amazingness does not end in housing only. It is where students can truly immerse themselves in one another’s culture. People from everywhere picnic together and play sports together at an open grass area in the back of Cité, and almost every day there is at least an event organized: sports class, art classes, cultural events, tournaments, concerts, and parties. Some people even told me that Cité by the end of the year becomes a one big family. I cannot wait for it to happen to me as well.

Main Entrance of Fondation; access from Boulevard Jourdan

As I have said, there are various houses of different countries in Cité, and I happen to live at Fondation des États-Unis, the US Foundation.

Though it is one of the oldest buildings in the town of Cité, it is conveniently located at the very front, dominating over all other houses with its grandeur. At Fondation, kitchens, restrooms, and showers are shared among small group of people, and a student’ room is a single studio for everyone. My only complaint would be an absence of a mini-fridges in each room, but it is not such a big deal as well, given that a kitchen (which has a big fridge) is right around the corner of my hall.

And as I have pointed out, the Foundation is situated at the most convenient location. Cité is bigger than what many people imagine it to be, and it takes about 20-25 minutes to walk from one side of Cité to another. For security purposes, the gates to outside are limited and often locked, causing extra inconveniences during morning rushes. Yet the US Foundation is the only building at Cité with its own doors leading directly to the street, and even better, it is right across Tram 3 and RER B (both are forms of public transportations: trolley and local train respectively). For bikers, city’s public bicycle system called Vélib has its station right outside as well.

Cheap, safe, friendly and family-like, AND most know English. What better could I have hoped for?

To me Cité was the perfect fit and I knew it right away. Perhaps, and I hope, it can be so for others too. The application I believe was accepted in rolling basis, so early the better. I myself applied in February and only heard back in May. Many of students who were rejected from Cité often applied too late in their time and missed their opportunities.

Yet it’s not like Cité is the only good housing for students. There are many beautiful apartments around the city, some situated closer to school at the heart of Paris, some located high up near skies, etc. etc. Yes, there were still some students who were panicking about not securing a permanent housing, but the number (as far as I could tell from Facebook frenzy) has gone down drastically in last few days, and I am sure the remaining few will soon find places for them as well.

Well, honestly though, all I am saying is, I am super happy with my housing accommodation, and, yes, I am bragging .

If this sounds like a housing you would want to live in, check this link out for an application: Remember, it’s earlier the better. I applied in February and got admitted in May; many of rejected students applied too late in the process, around May or June. Good luck! Or as French say, Merde!

I will see you next with a post on Welcome Programme!

Good bye until then!



Eileen Kim studied abroad in Paris, France in 2017: