Written by Sage Corps Summer 2018 fellow, Megan Reynolds.
"I live in a two-bedroom apartment in the 13th arrondissement of Paris, and I live with two other Sage Corps Fellows. I share a bedroom with one and the other has one to herself. The other four girls in the program live in our same building, just a few floors down, so it is really nice to have everyone together right there. There is a really nice, surprisingly large park about five minutes from our apartment, so when we have the time it is nice to go have a picnic or just hang out there."
"At the beginning of the summer I would walk about 10 minutes to the nearest metro stop and take it a few stops to get to Station F where I work, but it closed for construction after about two weeks. I switched to taking the bus which stops right outside my apartment and then has about a 5 minute walk from the nearest stop to Station F. Sometimes when the weather is really nice I will just walk. Altogether it usually takes about a half hour, even when walking. The commute can be pretty crazy, especially at rush hour, but it is a cool way to see other neighborhoods that I don't usually stop in because the metro line I took is elevated and the bus drives through different streets."
"I work in Station F, which is the biggest startup campus in the world in a building that used to be a freight depot. It is also located in the 13th arrondissement so it is more remote and surrounded by less traditional office spaces. Station F itself has an open, collaborative structure, where there are large open spaces with rows of desks and each startup will have one or two rows. There are a variety of common spaces to access too like kitchens, meeting rooms, phone booths, and even some foosball tables."
"My startup, Krank, offers a service via an app that helps pair individuals with pick-up games in a variety of sports. They started with a simple platform only for pairing players with other players (who are strangers) and facilities to play football (soccer) games in Paris. They are in the process of expanding to include other sports, locations, and features like ranking players and having a social graph of players you know or have mutual connections with. So far, I have helped with market research, looking into the various competitors present and in which markets as well as discerning which cities might be good places to continue expansion. I am also helping to translate the app and all its elements to English, so they can enter non-francophone markets."
"After work, I usually hang out with other fellows in the cohort. There is a nice park down the block from our apartment that we go to sometimes. Other times, we will go out for dinner, often in another neighborhood to see an new part of the city, or just hang out together at home for a chill evening. On occasion we will meet up with a fellow and maybe some of their coworkers or some other American students we had met that are doing similar programs here. For the first half of the program, it was nice because the World Cup was happening, so there was almost always a game on for everyone to go watch together after work."
"My favorite program event was touring Schoolab. It is an innovation studio that houses a lot of other startups. I found it really interesting because it was so different from the environment that I worked in, and it was cool to see two widely different approaches to launching these companies. It is been nice interacting with our city managers; they are super friendly and always willing to help with whatever we need."
"Often on weekends, I will do the more traditionally 'tourist' things. I tend to visit at least one museum and one garden to walk around and relax (there are so many of both in Paris), so even doing that you can always see something new. One weekend I went to an amusement park not too far outside the city which was really fun. I have a trip coming up to Brussels, and we are hoping to organize a second one before the program ends!"
What Surprised You Most?
"I have been most surprised by how quickly you get adjusted to living in a new environment and culture. There definitely is a little bit of a shock at first, but you get acclimated pretty quickly."
"I would say know what you want out of this summer. If you really want to immerse yourself in the language, seek out and create those environments because it is really easy to get by on English and fall back into what you know and feel secure in. If you really want to travel, be proactive and try to make your plans as early as possible because it will be easier to coordinate and probably a lot cheaper. There is also no "right" way to do this summer; when you get here people might have different interests, which is totally okay so long as everyone still does what they want to do."
Want to see more from Megan and the Summer 2018 Paris cohort? Check out their Instagram, @sc.paris_!