You may know Paris but you don't know Paree Past Review

By (French Language and Literature., The University of Texas at Austin) for

AIFS: Paris - Cours de Civilisation Française de la Sorbonne

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Study Abroad in Paris was one of the most amazing experiences I've had so far. When you go abroad you have this idea of knocking out all the sights and you make a list of all the museums you're going to see. But once you get there you kind of realize that it's not all about sightseeing. It's more about just living there. You need to adjust and remind yourself that you're going to be in that city for an extended amount of time. Traveling within Europe is also really cheap and worthwhile so don't forget to go see other things!

Personal Information

If you took classes at multiple universities, list those universities here: La Sorbonne
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.

Teachers in France aren't going to hold your hand. They have a very cut and dry approach to teaching so if you're sensitive just remember that that's the way they do it, it isn't personal. The grammar classes move really fast so you have to go to class everyday to keep up with everything. Everyone working with AIFS and the Sorbonne really wanted their students to succeed and I never felt out of place asking for help from anyone on the faculty.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The people running AIFS in Paris were amazing. They were always available for anything that you needed and were so helpful and amazing. They really made the whole experience!

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The location of my housing was perfect, right in the center of Paris about 15 minutes walk to the Louvre and 30 minutes walk to Notre Dame! I shared a room with a girl but the room was spacious and we had our own bathroom. We had full access to the kitchen and the rest of the house and the woman that was housing us was amazing. She made me feel so much at home and when my family came to visit she had them over for dinner, she kept my luggage for me when I traveled during the summer and then let me stay with her again for a few days at the end of the summer before I left for the US.

* Food:

Food in Paris is obviously delicious but it's also very expensive!

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

AIFS set up so many excursions for us to participate in and all of the students got along really well. I think I walked away from AIFS with some great new friends and Paris is an amazing city to go out and do things in. You never have a boring moment!

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

I never felt threatened in Paris and I knew that if I ever had a health issue that the people in the AIFS office would have referred me to a doctor immediately and made sure that the situation was taken care of.

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)

Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Don't eat out in Paris. It's so overpriced and you're better off cooking for yourself if you can.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Fluent
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? FR 326K
If applicable, to what degree did your living situation aid your language acquisition?

Language acquisition improvement?

Right when we got to France we all took evaluation exams and then took two weeks of intensive language courses in Cannes. When we got to Paris we were evaluated for a second time and placed in our grammar classes for the rest of the semester. These classes moved quickly and there is no way that you couldn't learn something in them. Our host families all spoke French to us.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • Host Family
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • International Students

A Look Back

* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Someone who is going to be able to be independent and wants to meet fun and exciting people. Don't limit yourself to one group of people as soon as you get abroad. Try and make friends with everyone on the program because that's how you learn the most and grow.

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Advanced French Language Intensive and Phonetics

Course Department:
Instructor: Dumely
Instruction Language: French
Comments: This course was very challenging. It met for 2 hours 5 days a week and was solid grammar. Missing class wasn't really an option because it moved so quickly so if you skipped one day you'd have to get notes from the previous class since it moved so quickly. Very challenging but I definitely learned a lot.
Credit Transfer Issues: I had no problems transferring my credit from this class.
Course Name/Rating:

French Literature from 19th to 20th century

Course Department: Literature/French (416)
Instructor: Pierre Brunel
Instruction Language: French
Comments: The course was a little boring. We didn't read any novels, mostly just excerpts from texts and a few poems. The lectures didn't flow very well, they moved from one topic to the next without any great transition.
Credit Transfer Issues: No problems transferring credit.
Course Name/Rating:

Paris' Architecture and History

Course Department: Fine Arts (319)
Instructor: Isabelle Greaves
Instruction Language: French
Comments: The course was very interesting. We probably met in the classroom only 3 times (not including test days) and the other class days we went on walks around the city so that we could actually look at the monument when the teacher was lecturing. A great class not only because you get to see the city but also because the professor knows so much about the topic of the course. Very interesting and a great course to take.
Credit Transfer Issues: No problems!
Course Name/Rating:

Franco-American Relations from Lafayette to Today

Course Department: Poli. Sc./Lit (360)
Instructor: Anne Galichon
Instruction Language: English
Comments: This course was also interesting because it shows the relationship between France and America from the time of the Revolution through WWI and WWII to today. The professor is also very knowledgeable and we went on two walking tours of the city.
Credit Transfer Issues: No problems