Who am I?
Hi! My name is Oye Olubowale, and I am so excited to be the Global Equity Fellow in Paris this fall. I am a Nigerian student at NYU, but I grew up in Providence, RI. I am a Gallatin student studying marketing, media, and art history. I am also working towards a french minor. I've studied French for almost 6 years now, and I'm looking forward to improving my french grammar à Paris.
I am passionate about activism around undocumented and displaced people. I've cultivated this passion through my work at UndocNYU. I also enjoy facilitating discussion around culture and identity which I did as the head of my high school's Black Affinity . In Paris, as the GEF fellow, I hope to explore the dimensions of racial and ethic origin in French society.
Paris is rather expensive to live in compared to the other NYU global sites, but is actually 27% cheaper than New York. If you are cost conscious, you should establish a budget for how much you want to spend on a weekly basis. If you intend to travel throughout Paris, a monthly metro pass for all zones costs 75.20 euros (about 83 USD). If you're an art junkie, be sure to take advantage of free or discounted ticket days available at most museums. There are also a number of free walking tours of the city available. If you plan on dining out, you are likely to save by going with the prix fixe menu. Take advantage of websites like La Forchette to check out dining costs in multiple French cities.
While Paris can be difficult to navigate for people with disabilities, the city is making progress in updating and creating resources to make Paris more accessible to all people. The city just recently released a guide for tourists with disabilities. Currently, buses and tramways are the most accessible mode of transit for people with physical disabilities. The metro does have some features that make it ideal for passengers who are hearing impaired. There is also a city-sponsored list of accessible tourist attractions and accommodations. Social attitudes and acceptance towards people with disabilities can be harsh in France compared to other Western European countries.
According to the Wold Economic Forum, as of 2012, France is the worst country in Western Europe for women. This is largely due to economic inequality and lack of representation in politics and positons of power. In 2017, due to protests and calls for equality, French society has made some progress in leveling the field between men and women. One of the largest issues for women in France is catcalling. Catcalling has become a legal offense, and there is now a 24/7 online reporting tool to help victims report harassment easily.
Non-binary students may be concerned about speaking French as it is a gendered language. There is a current debate amongst French linguists and activists about making the language gender neutral. The most common non-binary pronoun is iel.
France is considered one of the most LGBTQ+ friendly places in the world. Le Marias is the principle queer neighborhood in Paris filled with historic bars, clubs, and cafés. France also hosts two international film festivals celebrating films made by queer people and that are centered around queer topics. Discrimination against LGBT+ folks was outlawed in 2004, but attacks and harassment still occur, so it is best to be vigilant. In general, the Parisian attitudes toward LGBTQ+ people is indifference but in rural and ethnic communities cultural mores are different and can be more hostile.
race & ethnicity
Paris is a multicultural and racially diverse place. Immigration waves and a history of French colonialism have contributed to this diversity. However, French égalité sentiment often requires French people of color to either compartmentalize their identity and identify as solely French or identify as an immigrant. Rather than focusing on equity, French policy against discrimination has erased language about about race, ethnicity, and religion. Students of color shouldn't expect to face overt racism in urban areas, but may experience microaggressions in Paris and other French cities. Nationalist and anti-immigrant sentiment is a reality of French life as well that students of color may experience.
Religion & spirituality
Due to the French concept of laïcité (secularism), displays of religion in public life are very controversial. Islamophobia and Antisemitism exist in Paris due to ignorance and nationalism. Religious expression can often be seen as an affront to French culture, especially if it is non-Christian expression. Students may face increased agression if they wear religious garb. Discrimination and harassment is illegal in France and should be reported.
France has a large Muslim, Jewish, and Christian populations and so there are many opportunities for religious people to find places of worship and religious community in private settings.
Created with images by Joshua Humphrey - "untitled image" • jackmac34 - "wallet vuitton euro" • chuttersnap - "untitled image" • Steve Johnson - "untitled image" • Chris Barbalis - "untitled image" • msandersmusic - "stained glass spiral circle"