Summer of a Liftetime Past Review

By (Neurobiology, The University of Texas at Austin) - abroad from 06/28/2014 to 08/15/2014 with

AIFS: Paris - Cours de Civilisation Française de la Sorbonne

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I gained a new perspective on life, and how truly different we all are. I got to see cultural sights that were older than the discovery of the America's, and live in a city so lively beautiful that sometimes I had to pinch myself. If you speak French and/or you're a budding francophile like myself, this trip is for you.

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.

If you are planning on taking beginner French in this program, the class is taught in only French. This detail was quite shocking at first, and made learning the language more difficult.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The cultural leader who took us on sight seeing trips across Paris was the most amazing woman. The administration for school was also quite helpful with any and all questions.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

We lived in the FIAP Jean Monnet, which had strict rules for living and had the worst food I've ever had. Worse than dorm food.

* Food:

The only reason my food grade is low was because of the FIAP dorm food. If you can, get a homestay for summer which allows you to eat out more, and explore more of the Parisian cuisine.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Parisians are quite unfriendly to Americans who do not attempt French, so always speak their native tongue first, but they will probably still be annoyed with speaking English to you.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

Our administrators would always accompany anyone who needed to go to a doctor or hospital visit. Which made them feel comfortable when they were sick.

* Safety:

Despite the FIAP Jean Monnet downfalls, the safety and security for the building was very good.

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)

Don't overboard in the patisseries! Because they are all absolutely amazing looking, but the spending will add up.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? I spend approximatley $250 dollars a week on museums, food, and other things.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Eat at boulangerie's for lunch, they have affordable prices for sandwiches that won't bankrupt you.


* 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 program taught us basic conversation skills to use in Paris.

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? None
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Beginner
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? An intermediate Spanish course
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? Learn how to say "how much does this cost" and the amounts of things if you are planning on going to street markets.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
  • Hostel
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • International Students
* 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?
  • I enjoyed the people that I met on this trip. We still stay in touch, and already miss Paris!
  • The desserts are unbeatable. You will absolutely never had a better pastry anywhere in the world.
  • The art museums are excellent, and the Musee d'Orsay brought me to tears. Go multiple times.
* What could be improved?
  • Our dorms were not the best, but AIFS is looking to improve the location/dorm living for next year.
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? DON'T OVERPACK. Also, despite the fact that you're going to Paris and you want to be Gossip Girl, parisiennes do not dress in crazy patterns or colors, so bring basic clothing that you can mix and match. Seriously don't overpack.

Reasons For Studying Abroad

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The Outright Urbanite
A social butterfly, you're happiest in bustling cities with hip people, and took advantage of all it had to offer. You enjoyed the nightlife, and had fun going out dancing, and socializing with friends. Fun-loving and dressed to the nines, you enjoyed discovering new restaurants, shops, cafes, and bars in your host country.