Paris: Amazing! I miss it and can't wait to visit again. Past Review

By (PSYCHOLOGY., Saint Anselm College) for

AIFS: Paris - Cours de Civilisation Française de la Sorbonne

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Absolutely. I learned so much about myself and really gained a lot of confidence. I also noticed how much American's stick out over there, and learned that you start to blend in rather quickly. We started to notice it too, when family from home would visit, a couple of us watched them and thought 'Man, is that what we looked like when we first got here?' It's insane how much you assimilate and then you can see it. Interesting Fact: The French prefer Americans to the English. They like our accent better, and they like our tourism better. We appreciate everything, while and I quote "The English just come down for the wine." Funniest thing I heard.

Review Photos

AIFS: Paris - Cours de Civilisation Française de la Sorbonne Photo AIFS: Paris - Cours de Civilisation Française de la Sorbonne Photo AIFS: Paris - Cours de Civilisation Française de la Sorbonne Photo

Personal Information

If you took classes at multiple universities, list those universities here: American University of Paris, Cours de Civilisation Francaise de la Sorbonne
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.

The workload was very reasonable and very easy to complete all your school work while still having loads of time to sightsee and enjoy being in Paris. It was really more like months of living abroad, and then classes. But we had more than enough time to do all the things we wanted, even got to do some traveling and the like. The teaching system was not that different, except that our French class was entirely in French, and I liked that. It was well paced and easy to learn. I loved it. I took an Architecture class that was like a tour of the coolest churches and buildings in Paris almost every day of class. It was brilliant. I don't remember all the course Titles and professors, as it was quite some time ago, but they were all brilliant.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

They were great. It was pretty easy to get to their office, and they were always available for us, so we never felt like we were stranded in a foreign country. There were even outings arranged as part of the program that we could go on, for example we went to Normandie and Brittagne etc. It was great.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I stayed with a Host, though there were two other girls from my same group that were in the same house. The woman we stayed with was older, but so kind and active. We opted to have dinner with her once a week and it was the best idea ever, because she is an amazing cook. We suspected that she understood English, but she said she didn't and so we had to speak in French with her. It made dinner conversation slower, but she was very kind and asked questions slowly, so we were able to communcate. She even baked cakes and bought us small gifts for our birthdays, she was so sweet! :)

* Food:

At the time, I thought I was lactose intolerant -- long story. But you don't go to Paris and not have dairy. I brought lactaid pills with me and ate everything. Everything was amazing, so so good, I didn't order one thing that I didn't like. A good tip: Don't knock it just because it's different, you'll find that things like eggs on a cheeseburger really is very good. LOL.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I am very shy, so I didn't really go out and socialize much with people outside of our group. HOWEVER even that was brilliant and I loved every minute of it. I made some great friends there that I still love today and talk to today :)

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

Knowing that it's a city, obviously it has it's dangers, but no moreso than anywhere else. The only scary part was toward the beginning of the trip, when we stupidly went out at night and went farther than we knew the area. We got ourselves a little lost, and that was a little scary, but mostly bothersome because we were cold and tired. We took a cab home though and were fine. Once you know your way around it's easy to navigate. I didn't get sick, so I can't say from experience. But the leaders of the program assured us that if we got sick there were doctors that spoke English and could easily take patients. A friend of mine did visit the doctor actually, and she was fine. The language barrier is the only tricky part really, but there are enough people that can translate if necessary, or English-speaking doctors.

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?

When I first went over I was in most regards a beginner French student. That didn't hold me up at all. Though we spoke French in our interactions with nearly everyone, it was apparent that most people did understand English well enough. Before you go to Paris, there are a couple of weeks that you spend in Cannes, and the only class you take while there is a French Language class. They sort you according to a test that you take while you're there, and they really beef up your language skills so you get used to it. After a while, things being in French was not a hinderance to me, and it was quite easy to get around. A lot of French is similar to English anyway, and the important signs are written in both French and English. It wasn't a problem. Within weeks I found myself easily communicating and even translating for an aunt of mine that had visited. I was surprised at myself that I was able to do it. The trick is letting go and trusting your brain to work. :)

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • Other

A Look Back

* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? The best thing is to be open to trying new things, however there are always little reminders of home. Find a friend or two in your study abroad group, as it helps to have people around to go do things with for motivation as well. In the 8th arrondisment, there is a restaurant that serves an American-style breakfast on Sundays. Toward the end of the trip, it was beautiful to have and really brought back a feeling of home. Definitely someone who wants to see the sights and just walk around this beautiful city. There is so much to see and just be around. I loved it. Also, don't take anything for granted. Everything tastes different/better, even home items like snickers and Coca-Cola. They have different recipes for Europe that are less artificially-sweet. The difference is amazing. So try EVERYTHING even things you've had before.