Great, immersive abroad experience! January 16, 2019

By (Swarthmore College) - abroad from 08/30/2018 to 12/21/2018 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 a lot, I met some great people, did some great traveling. Definitely worthwhile!

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 1 month - 6 months

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The academic rigor is somewhat hit or miss at the French universities, but APA has connections with lots of Paris universities so we have considerable freedom and opportunity. APA always went above and beyond to give us academic support. The in-house course I took was more challenging than the university courses and the program really worked with the professor to suit our needs.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

* Food:

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

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

Finances

* 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)

Paris is Paris (but luckily not as expensive as Scandinavia, for instance), but having meals paid for with your homestay is a major plus.

Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? If your host family is generous with food, take advantage of that! Cook if you can.

Language

* 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? 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? Two full years of college French
How many hours per day did you use the language?
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? Do your best to speak French with the other APA students outside of class/ the APA office! Make friends in your classes/ elsewhere!

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?
  • Cultural program/ trips
  • Excellent support from staff
  • Taking real university classes in French
* What could be improved?
  • Host family locations
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? When it comes to studying abroad, the real enrichment comes more from the 'abroad' than from the 'study'. Take advantage of the culturally immersive experience. Choose courses that seem manageable with professors who seem understanding (and that you can understand). You'll learn more simply from taking classes in a different language within a different university system than from the actual content of the course, and that's okay! Also, basically everyone had 45+ minute commutes to at least one of their classes, so get comfortable with the metro and find some good podcasts.

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!