An Anglophone in Paris, France. Past Review

By (Art History, Criticism and Conservation., SUNY Purchase) for

AIFS: Paris - Cours de Civilisation Française de la Sorbonne

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
My study abroad experience gave me the perspective I was lacking at home. I feel it has profoundly changed the direction of my life and made me realize things I might've never even thought about at home.

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.

This program really focused on language. It was an intensive 15-22 hours a week of French, due to the fact that all of the courses are taught in French. I found the teachers extremely understanding and helpful.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The director of our program, Celine Garelli, was amazing. While she made sure that our main focus was school she encouraged us to travel as much as possible. She was there for anything and everything we could have needed. She even had us over to her home to celebrate the American Thanksgiving with her and her family. It was delightful.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I lived on an international campus that had a house for over 40 different countries. While the majority of the houses were made up predominantly of that specific country, every house was required to have 15-30% of international residents, which made it easier to meet people from around the world. The Fondation des Etats-Unis was great because we had our own room and there was a kitchen on every floor. However the cleanliness of the bathrooms really got to me after a while, there was black mold growing on the tiles in the showers and the smell made you not want to bathe. Almost everything other than the bathrooms was great.

* Food:

We were required to get our own food but we did have a kitchen to cook in. But you also had to buy your own pots and pans.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

We did a couple of walking tours in the beginning with our director. I think the nicest thing that Celine did was have the entire program to her home for Thanksgiving and cooked 2 turkeys to feed everyone.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

Healthcare was excellent. If we were sick we could make a doctor's appointment or if we were too sick to go anywhere a doctor would actually come to our room. The only downside was that the SUNY insurance made it so we had to pay for everything upfront and they would reimburse us when we return to the States

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)


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
If applicable, to what degree did your living situation aid your language acquisition?

Language acquisition improvement?

Well we had grammar class everyday, so you were at the very least speaking and hearing French for those 2 hours. I was lucky and was able to make French friends so I could practice more. Being a complete beginner to the language made it difficult at times but I was definitely forced to use the language everyday in small interactions at stores or on the street.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Other

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • the understanding of the teachers for those who had difficulty with the language.
* What could be improved?
  • i really can't think of anything.
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? These words of wisdom can be used for any student going anywhere. Be aware of how much money you spend in the first 2 weeks. Especially if you're losing money on the exchange rate, it does go faster than you realize. And do NOT try and keep up with the spending habits of other kids, getting drunk that much in a new exciting place isn't really that great if you think about it.