my experiences in paris were life altering! Past Review

By (Health: Science, Society and Policy Program, Anonymous University) - abroad from 09/03/2014 to 12/19/2014 with

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

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
i gained a sense of independence. i also profited from a reevaluation of my life plans after graduation. i would now like to live and work in paris after i finish my four years at brandeis.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 6 months+

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The academic demands of my program were reasonable. I would have to say that I received more work than some of my piers in other programs. However this supplementary work helped to propel my linguistic skills. I am thankful for the opportunity to work within an authentic french university setting.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

the administration of my program did not support me in my academic pursuits. staff members went out of their way to tell me that I asked for too much help. for example, when i asked for two back to back sessions with the writing tutor (one for each of my final papers) I was told that I couldn't receive special treatment. i found this reaction to be antagonistic, especially since I was expressing interest in my academic success. furthermore, the administration did not facilitate an environment in which i felt comfortable to reveal any social issues or difficulties with cultural adjustment. my program's administration made me feel as if I were a nuisance the few times I needed help. not being able to rely on them as my advocates was a major detriment.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I had the extremely good fortune of being placed with a wonderful host family. My host mom,Sylvie, was a nice, caring, friendly and loving lady. Sylvie showed me how to take the metra, gave me a tour of her neighborhood and prepared the delicious meals. Most importantly, Sylvie was always willing to listen and offer help or advice. My host family also included a son and a daughter. Both were very nice, they routinely spoke with me and introduced me to french culture. The apartment i lived in was very nice. I had my own bedroom with a spacious closets and a view of the courtyard. I couldn't have asked for a better host family experience.

* Food:

As a family we enjoyed dinners five times a week. Sylvie always cooked the meals which typically included a salad, entree, cheese plater and dessert. At the table we would share stories about our day and discuss upcoming events. Sometimes during dinner we would watch tv and discuss world news. Sylvie and her family were always interested in hearing what i had to say, which made me feel welcome and at ease in her house.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I felt well integrated amongst the other 19 students in my program. I also felt well integrated with my host family. However it is a bit challenging making friends in french university classes. Often, french students are assimilated into preexisting friend groups thus approaching them and developing a relationship can be challenging. Also the duration of our program was 4 months so that short period of time doesnt always accommodate long-term friendships.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I was never in a situation where i needed to make use of my health insurance. Therefore, I can't attest to the quality of health care services in Paris. However, I can say that my program didn't address health issues well. One of my fellow students was sick for the majority of the semester with reoccurring tonsil infections. She went to several clinics and had numerous doctors visits. Even when she didn't feel well she would force herself to go to class because she was afraid our directors would yell at her. Guilting a sick student is not acceptable. Furthermore, the program disregarded mental health issues. Despite several students having diagnosed mental illnesses, the program administration ignored the limitations of some of these students. Students with mental illnesses need to be treated in a way that takes their illness into consideration, yet my program was not willing to do so. They behaved as if making concessions for mental illness was unacceptable.

* Safety:

Paris is a very safe city. I felt comfortable taking the metro and walking the streets. However since Paris is a big metropolitan city, street smarts are essential. One must be aware of pick pockets when riding the metro and one must be mindful to not walk alone in less than desirable neighborhoods after dark. I would recommend future students make good use of public transportation, as one can travel quickly and easily by bus, tram or metro.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? No


* 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)

i didnt have budgetary problems. i traveled and visited many paris museums that had an entry fee. i didnt spend much money on food, as i had 5 dinners and 7 breakfasts a week. i spent maybe 5-8 euros on lunch.

Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? make a list of what is most important to you. for example, if travel is something you prioritize then manage your budget accordingly. there are many resources available to students throughout europe. students can enter museums and other venues on a reduced price, so take advantage.


* 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

language immersion was encouraged.

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Intermediate
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? 111a The Republic
How many hours per day did you use the language? 10+

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • Americans
  • International 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?
  • cultural immersion, spectacles
  • fellow students
  • host family
* What could be improved?
  • administrations treatment of student needs
  • willingness to cater to student needs
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? i now know that semester abroad experiences are never what you imagined and that my desire for control was futile. I learned that by letting things take their natural course I was offered incredible rewards. The experiences i had in the past 4 months were better than anything i could have ever envisioned.

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 Academic or Linguist
You went abroad with specific academic goals in mind; the program credentials and rigor of your coursework abroad were very important to you. You had a great time abroad, but never lost sight of your studies and (if applicable) were diligent with your foreign language study. Good for you!