The best four months of my life. Past Review

By (French Language and Literature., Austin College) - abroad from 09/05/2014 to 12/19/2014 with

American University Center of Provence (AUCP): Aix-en-Provence - Advanced French Study

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I gained friends, family, new outlooks, connections, and experiences that I could only dream of before.

Personal Information

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.

AUCP claims to be one of the most intensive immersion language programs and I agree. The classes were challenging, the professors extremely helpful and the city one of my favorite places in the world. I came into this program not very confident in my french speaking abilities and left feeling like I had accomplished more there than I have in my previous 6 years of french.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Everyone at AUCP is wonderful, they are always there when you have questions of concerns.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

AUCP requires that you stay with a host family, and I could not have been happier with mine! My host mom and dad were amazing people. They were kind, understanding, very open and they truly became like my second family. From day one they made me feel comfortable and did everything they possibly could for me. I met their whole family and was always included in everything. My host mom and I bonded all the time, spending hours after dinner having coffee and chatting, which was my favorite part of the day. They were most definitely a vital part of my progression in the language.

* Food:

Aix is a wonderful place for food! Go to Papa Gayo and have the tartine! There are many places that are expensive as it is a rich little city, however there are also many cheap and good places to eat. AUCP also has a kitchen where my friends and I prepared most of our lunches during the week, after getting some groceries from Monop. My host parents were also wonderful cooks and they provide breakfast and dinner most days.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I loved Aix, the people are wonderful. One of the most difficult things when studying abroad and actually sticking to speaking the language is when people answer you in english. That was not the case in Aix, they are very kind and understand that you are trying to speak french! I made many french friends my age while I was there who I still talk regularly. We traveled together, went out every weekend, got coffee during the days, and had all sorts of adventures.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

i had no problems with heath care. If I remember correctly the policy was that if you needed to see a doctor you had to pay upfront, the doctor would fill out a form which you bring back to AUCP and they reimburse you.

* Safety:

Aix is an incredibly safe place! I went out every weekend night and as the buses stop at around 9:30 I usually walked back. I lived about 15 to 20 minutes from the "centre ville" and never felt scared or had ay problems!

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes

Finances

* 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)

Aix is a somewhat expensive city, however if you dont eat out everyday for lunch and make your own it is much cheaper. You just have to be smart about what you spend!

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $100
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Buy groceries to make your own lunches! (there is a student kitchen complete with refrigerators and microwaves at AUCP).

Language

* 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

We signed a contract to speak only french at all times. It is an intensive immersion program. My host family did not speak english.

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Intermediate
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Fluent
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? Upper level courses.
How many hours per day did you use the language? 10+
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? Commit to speaking only french! you will be very glad you did!

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
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?
  • Host family
  • friends
  • the city
* What could be improved?
  • The information AUCP provides prior to leaving.
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? To not stress about anything because it was truly an amazing experience.

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.