My Student’s Guide to Lyon

You know what the most difficult part for me besides choosing to live in Lyon was? Everything besides choosing to live in Lyon.

I remember coming home every day for the first couple of weeks feeling like absolute crap. I couldn’t understand the lectures, people didn’t seem friendly to me and I was so stressed and lost with all the paperwork, the grocery, the new city, the new friends… It is all too much to take when you don’t have a plan before coming to live for one year in an entirely new city.

That’s why I decided to share some tips that are guaranteed to save you so much time and money and to keep you sane and calm… Unlike myself when I first arrived here…

1. Know the city before moving.

How easy it is to Google literally anything these days… I remember googling Lyon city and checking how it looked like every single night before I sleep last summer, I think I was obsessed with it lol.

But I mean, you have to mentally prepare yourself for the places that you’re gonna see everyday, right?? (My excuse).

So let me share with you some of the pictures that I took with my not so good photography skills when I first arrived here, and there are many pictures on my Instagram stories to check.

A typical view lyonnais
Bubble Tea from
Le Thé Nº1

2. Basic French is essential.

I’m assuming that you already know some French if you’ve applied for a French program, but if you’re coming here to learn French or if you’re at an English program I suggest you to take French courses or download duolingo, as funny as aggressive the little bird can get, it really is helpful for beginners and if you don’t like it, use Youtube or have someone French teach you French… Just learn. Anything.

Most French people in Lyon know how to speak English, but everyone prefers to speak in French as it is the main language, duh.

3. Find a place to live in and avoid bad neighborhoods.

There are many ways to find accommodations in Lyon, check out this link to find out more. Here are also some information on the arrondissements in the city.

My personal advice? Stay away from Guillotière.

4. Know how to manage your finances.

This could be very challenging when you first move out of your parents place and especially frustrating when you move to a whole new country!

I suggest you to check out this blog post to know more about staying in Lyon.

The essentials are:

APL : Financial help for accommodation matters, for people with low means. Delivered by another « administration with the acronym»: the CAF.
CROUS: an organization that offers services in order to improve the daily student life. They especially provide cheap restaurants on each campus, and also student accommodations.

5. Make new friends.

If you want to make friends while learning French, these Blabla Language Exchange Events are perfect for you!

Also try checking Facebook events, going to meetups, conferences or parties. Even if you’re not an exchange student, you can still look up these Facebook groups.

6. Don’t know where to shop?

Check out this blog post to find out where the best “supermarkets on budget” are.

7. Don’t forget to buy metro/tramway and bus tickets not to get fined!

Once you have an abonnement, you’ll have to recharge your TCL card by the beginning of every month and make sure not to break the law by passing with someone else’s card as you might get fined 60€ for doing that, I mean, you can spend that on a more valuable thing such as food right? lol.

8. And finally, find a student job!

Yeah, of course, you can live on a budget your whole year or you can save some extra money by doing simple jobs such as… Babysitting? you can check Yoopies, Indeed or Maminou and apply to multiple job opportunities till you get accepted in one of them!

​​the gif is irrelevant but totally worth it.

​ Hope you like my tips and if you have any personal tips or experiences you’d like to share don’t hesitate to comment them below!

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