How the Parisian protests are affecting study abroad students

Ashley Caudill, Reporter

When preparing to study abroad, some find it easy to look at what is happening in the world to discourage themselves from going abroad for weeks to months on end.

With Russia’s war on Ukraine and now the Parisian protests, there are many reasons why students and parents could be worried. But are these events affecting study abroad students’ lives?

In January, protests began to cover the streets of Paris in response to the government’s proposals to change certain pensions and their budgets. One result of this decision was changing the retirement age from 62 to 64. This law was enacted on April 14. 

But what made citizens most upset about the change was not the extra two years, but instead, the way that the decision was passed. The president of France used a constitutional power to pass the decision without a vote.

According to U.S. News, how the decision was passed caused the citizens of France to feel as if the government was creating a larger disconnect between itself and the people.

Similar to many countries and societies around the world, the people of France began to protest in the streets by gathering in large crowds and going on strikes.

Junior fashion design student Matthew Williams is currently studying abroad in Paris. He says that he’s not affected by any of the protests personally and he rarely sees any of the protests. When he does, he notices that they slow down the trains and buses for the large crowds of people.

“I don’t see anything wrong with it. I don’t know the economic part of it and maybe that would change perspectives,” Williams said. “They are fighting for what they have always had, what they are used to and that is what they want to keep. I haven’t dove into it enough for me to have a different perspective on it.”

The U.S. Embassy has issued a demonstration warning saying that U.S. citizens should stay away from the protest sites due to the possibility of violent action. This does not mean that the entire city is not safe.

“You can’t listen to what everyone else tells you,” Williams said. “You just have to go and experience it for yourself. Just keep an open mind.”

If you are planning on studying abroad or traveling to Paris, you can visit U.S. Embassy & Consulates in France’s website to stay up to date on travel alerts.

Ashley Caudill is a reporter. Contact her at [email protected].