life-changing and unforgettable Past Review

By (Politics, Brandeis University) - abroad from 09/11/2013 to 12/20/2013 with

Academic Programs Abroad (APA): Paris - Immersion for Intermediate & Advanced French Speakers

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
It was definitely a worthwhile experience and I learned a lot about the culture and way of life of the French people and I also learned a lot about myself.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 0-2 weeks

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

All the directors of this program were unbelievably helpful and supportive and you genuinely feel that they have your best interests and want your experience to be as wonderful and life-changing as it can possibly be.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I stayed with a host family and it was the greatest part of my experience. In my opinion the best way to learn a foreign language is to stay with a family because it forces you to constantly be speaking and listening to a language other than your own, and you pick up the language much faster and more naturally.

* Food:

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

This program is centered around cultural immersion so the idea is to fully integrate yourself into French life. In the beginning it was slightly overwhelming but in the end the experience was unbelievably rich and you learn more about the culture and way of life than you ever thought imaginable. You become totally integrated.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I did not have any experience with the healthcare so I am not really aware how easily accessible it would have been, but from what I understood if you needed to see a doctor you were pretty much on your own.

* Safety:

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes


* Money: How easily were you able to live on a student's budget?

(1 = not very easy/$200+ on food & personal expenses/week, 2.5 = $100/week, 5 = very easily/minimal cost)

Everything in France is expensive and with the conversion rate you end up spending a lot more money than you would like.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? around $100
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? It all just depends on what you want to end up spending your money on. The way I looked at it was that it was my time abroad and I was pretty conservative in my spending and was lucky that my program provided services such as a metro card and meal plan so my expenses were basically just buying myself lunch every day, but if I wanted to splurge on something I didn't make myself feel guilty about it. Just make sure that you're not buying things that you couldn't find for less money back home.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
How much did the program encourage you to use the language?

0 = No encouragement, 5 = frequent encouragement to use the language

The program forced you to basically only use French. All the courses were in French and you were expected to speak only French when dealing with other people. Obviously they were not able to constantly police you, but it was actually sup rising how quickly I improved my language skills. If you're interested in learning a new language it is the best way to do so.

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Beginner
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Advanced
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? 3 semesters of college-level french
How many hours per day did you use the language? 10+
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? live with a host family

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with?

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • very supportive
  • catered to you as and individual student
  • a large and enriching cultural component
* What could be improved?
  • the grading system
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? That you should be prepared to still work very hard, and that even though it may seem overwhelmingly impossible in the beginning that it will be worth it in the end. Also I wish I knew more about the classes because and my schedule back home because if I had more requirements finished beforehand I would've like to stay the whole academic year.

Reasons For Studying Abroad

To help future students find programs attended by like-minded individuals, please choose the profile that most closely represents you.
The Nearly Native or Trail Blazer
Craving the most authentic experience possible, perhaps you lived with a host family or really got in good with the locals. You may have felt confined by your program requirements and group excursions. Instead, you'd have preferred to plan your own trips, even skipping class to conduct your own 'field work.'