From the sleepy, quaint towns of the north to the sunny coasts of the south, France has a lot to offer to not only the average tourist, but also to those considering moving abroad. France acts as a particularly attractive beacon to those who may be trapped in an unhealthy work-life balance and need a change of pace. France is a wonderful option for those considering higher education.
Many black women decide to pursue post-secondary education in order to gain some type of capital, and therefore more freedom and access to a better standard of living. Coming from a country such as America, where the cost of education is astronomically high, I find the price of education in France to be a godsend. With countless black women going into debt and being unable to build generational wealth due to their hefty investment in their education, I wish for more black women to consider countries such as France to continue their studies.
Although France has recently raised their cost of attendance for those living outside of the European Union, there still remain universities dedicated to keeping education affordable who have kept their fees low. And even with the recently raised costs, 2000€ per year certainly sounds a lot more enticing than $60,000 or £15,000 per year. Since I, myself, have accumulated massive amounts of debt getting my undergraduate degree in the US, I know I’ll be looking into Master’s programs in France very soon. I wish to encourage black women to widen their breadth of options concerning where they choose to pursue higher education, because education is something that should propel you forward in life, not hold you back.
France is well-known for its joie de vivre or “joy of living,” that is to say the ability of its citizens to enjoy the simpler aspects of life. This is made possible by the country’s 35-hour workweek as well as its more community-based culture. Black women who find themselves stuck in a workaholic lifestyle might fare better in a society that pays more attention to worker’s rights and work-life balance in general. This could mean focusing on oneself and thus, being able to improve our mental health and protect our joy.
That being said, France is no paradise. With its brutal history concerning its oppressive role in slavery and colonization, it is a country in league with its western European counterparts in that it has issues with racism and xenophobia, especially towards those who come from former colonies.
France has, more or less, adopted a “colorblind” mindset and even saying the word “race” is taboo, thus erasure is rampant, and the subjects of racism and colorism fall on deaf ears.
However, depending on what city you live in, life in France might feel a relief to some because despite its issues, it definitely has a different atmosphere. I feel as though my humanity is taken into consideration first before my race and gender here, unlike in my home country. If only for a short period, I feel that all dark-skinned women should be allowed to shed the burden of double consciousness, and experience life in a country that might see them as more human than their own.
Naná is a proud Brooklyn native and aspiring digital nomad. She enjoys travel, nature, and art. Her other hobbies include reading fantasy novels, binge-watching series on Netflix, and language-learning. Find her @blackbelletravels