An American in Paris Past Review

By (French and Francophone Studies, Brandeis University) - abroad from 01/04/2016 to 05/08/2016 with

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

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
My French got exponentially better and I really learned a lot about French culture. It was definitely worthwhile.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? None

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

Classes are taken at French universities in French. If your level of French is not very high you will not do well on this program. Classes are very difficult as students in France do not get much support from professors. Professors will expect you to perform at the same level as other French students, limited leniency is given for grammatical errors or not understanding the very rigid structures used for different types of writing assignments. This program is not at all easy academically.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The ladies that run APA are very sweet, involved, and want you to do well. They will try to offer you as much support as possible and will listen and provide help whenever possible.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I lived with an older host mom with 3 grown children that lived far away. I got very close with my host mom and felt very comfortable in her apartment. I lived about 30 mins from the center of Paris on the metro and it was very accessible to get around. I had my own room and felt that I could have my friends over whenever I liked.

* Food:

My host mom cooked for me 5 nights a week and I definitely ate very well.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Living with my host mom and going to French university made me feel like a Parisian. However, it is very difficult to become a part of Parisian culture because Parisian's are not very friendly. I spent a lot of time with the other Americans on my program. I don't know that anything could be changed to make this different though, as Parisian culture isn't very open to outsiders in general.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I didn't really have any experiences with health care while in France.

* Safety:

I felt very safe in Paris. I lived in a very quiet and safe neighborhood and I could be alone in public except very late at night and feel very comfortable.

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

Although I had some problems with this program I don't think there were any better choices out there. I really wanted to go on trips, see shows, live with a host family, and take classes with French students and this program hits all of those points.


* 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)

Most of my expenses were paid for through the program. All I had to spend money on was lunch everyday and dinner two days a week. Food isn't too expensive in Paris so it wasn't bad at all. What was very expensive was traveling to other countries.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $50


* 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

We were told to only speak French on program related activities.

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Advanced
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Fluent
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? French literature courses
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? Make French friends! Hang out with them and speak French with them! Speaking French with Americans is not nearly as helpful as speaking with someone whose first language is French.

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?
  • Cultural Outings
  • Trips within France
* What could be improved?
  • Academics/Academic support
  • Language requirement
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I had known that the French university system and way of teaching is a lot different than the American system. As a French student you have to adapt your habits to fit the French system or you won't do well academically.

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!