A great year in Paris Past Review

By (HISTORY., Pace University) - abroad from 09/01/2011 to 06/01/2012 with

AIFS: Paris - Cours de Civilisation Française de la Sorbonne

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned a ton of French and met some wonderful people that I can't wait to see again. It was great to not just see, but really experience a different culture, and I was lucky enough to travel to other nearby countries which only increased the experience.

Personal Information

If you took classes at multiple universities, list those universities here: Instituit Catholique, Sorbonne IV-CCFS, College International de Cannes,
How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 2 weeks - 1 month

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

* 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?

The health care was easily accessible through the program. They would make appointments with an English speaking for students who needed it. The system was definitely different than that in the US, but it was still easy enough to navigate. Students had to be up to date on all of the basic shots needed in the US, such as MMR, Tuberculosis etc.

* Safety:

It is really easy to be pick-pocketed in Paris. Almost every student in our program had at least one run in with pick pockets, myself included. You just have to be really aware of who's around you and not leave bags open.

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)

Because of the Euro to US dollar exchange and the cost of living in Paris, it was REALLY expensive

* Was housing included in your program cost? Yes
* Was food included in your program cost? Yes
Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? 100-200
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Save before you go, and prepare for high and fluctuating exchange rates. Consider using the Velib system, instead of using a monthly metro pass to cut down on major costs.


* 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

The students all spoke English with each other, but the staff and home stay families encouraged students to speak in French and offered help and corrections.

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Beginner
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Intermediate
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? French III in High School
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? Even if you only know a few words, use them every day. We spoke a lot of Franglais (combining French and English). This way you keep the words you know in your head, without worrying about being understood, it helps build confidence and vocabulary until you've mastered enough to speak solely in French.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

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

Select all that apply

  • International Students
  • Host Family
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • 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?
  • The AIFS Staff/Events
  • Staying with a host family
  • The two week stay in Cannes
* What could be improved?
  • A tutoring program for the French courses would be wonderful!
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish that I had known a bit more French. I learned a ton while I was there, but I spent the 1st semester just trying to be able to communicate on a basic level.