Four Months in Paris Past Review

By (Bryn Mawr College) - abroad from 09/02/2015 to 12/18/2015 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 language skills improved, obviously, which was the whole reason I went to France in the first place. I felt so much more confident when speaking French by the end of the program, and my experience was worthwhile for that reason alone.

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.

I would have rated this 4 stars, except for the Paris library system. Be warned: individual libraries do not always communicate with each other about what books are checked out!

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I got to watch Star Wars in French with my host family. Both trilogies and then The Force Awakens when it came out in theatres. It just doesn't get better than that.

* Food:

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I am not a big city person, so integrating with the local culture will never be my strong suit. But if the atmosphere of Paris and the big city suits you, you can definitely integrate yourself!

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

I was in Paris November 13th, 2015, when several different terrorist attacks occurred in different places throughout the city. Naturally, this was a rather unnerving experience, but it ended up having only a minor impact on my overall experience. I was safe, everyone I knew in Paris was safe, and everyone I knew who wasn't in Paris was calling me to make sure that I was okay. Afterwards, general vigilance and security increased even more in Paris so that you almost felt safer than before the attacks. Plus, Paris itself is an incredibly resilient city. Its inhabitants bounced right back from the attacks and continued going out and following their daily routines as if nothing had happened, which was extremely comforting to see. Even if I had been hurt, or knew someone who was hurt, I would still have been able to look around and see the same, vibrant Paris I saw before. The terrorist attack was an awful event, but it was also a rare event; hopefully it will never happen again, and even if it does, Paris will bounce back just as well as it did in November 2015.

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

Sophie, Blandine, and Claire were great people to have running a study abroad program. They knew exactly how to give their APA students the greatest experiences, from placing us in the right host families, to choosing incredible opera and dance for us to see in our cultural excursions. They also took care of our administrative needs, especially when it came to enrolling in the Paris universities and registering for classes.


* 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)


* 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

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? 200 level writing course
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? SPEAK FRENCH AS SOON AS YOU GET TO FRANCE! If you don't get in the habit of speaking French with other native English speakers as soon as you arrive, it'll be much more difficult later on to speak French rather than English to anyone, not just other English speakers.

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
  • 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?
  • My host family
  • Cultural excursions
* What could be improved?
  • Give us more detailed information about how to use our phones abroad
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Pushing yourself outside your comfort zone and beyond your skill level really is the only way to learn a language.