Liberal College/City Kid review of AUP June 01, 2016

By (Wellesley College) - abroad from 01/11/2016 to 05/13/2016 with

American University of Paris: Direct Enrollment & Exchange

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned that American Superiority exists, that Western cultures are extremely similar fundamentally, but on the surface appear very different, and patience. Mostly, I learned to expand my worldview from my college experience, and question the things that I had previously taken as truths. I have to say that my travels and my friends that I will keep made this experience worthwhile. I also have to say that I met some of the worst people while abroad (Americans and Internationals) so that is unfortunate, but its always good to challenge your concept of horrible people by meeting even worse ones.

Personal Information

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.

The American University of Paris was a mix for me. Some of my professors I really enjoyed whereas others I felt were disappointing. My home school prides itself on a close student-professor relationships, and to that end, professors at *minimum* are expected to have office hours on a regular basis twice a week. At AUP I had a mixed bag, some professors really didn't seem interested in being there (which I later learned was because they weren't teaching much at the school), and some made themselves available. Overall, the school was not as rigorous as my home school.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

I don't really know what this is getting at - my program was very hands-off. Besides a few events for visiting students (meaning 2-3) over the course of the semester, you were pretty much treated like a normal AUP student. Perhaps they could have worked to integrate the study abroad students more, but I think its hard given the fact that we're only around for a semester to a year.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

At AUP you have to choose between a home-stay and comforts of paris (unless you have family in the area). I think that places students between a rock and a hard place. Home-stays are a huge tossup, especially in a city like paris where apartments can be notoriously small. I heard a couple of very negative homestay reviews. I chose Comforts of Paris and I got the single option. They definitely don't tell you much about the apartments, the staff was extremely unresponsive before the beginning of the semester, and I think that the service they are offering is very over-priced. I did have a decently sized apartment, which was shared with four other people, but Comforts of Paris seems like an institution pitted against the students. It is run completely like a business, with no transparency about the fact that they will charge you fines for any reason they can find.

* Food:

The food is Paris! Paris has amazing food. AUP itself has a bar/cafe called the Amex in the student center that has pretty good food and a well priced beer for the area. Great burgers especially.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

AUP is difficult because so many American students go there it is difficult to meet a lot of French people. Also, many students who are non-French also do not speak french. It is your job as a student to go out and try to meet French people if you want to truly practice your French and engage with the culture.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

Visiting students can opt out of the student health-care program (if you have proof of other coverage) but I would reccomend keeping it. You are 100% covered for all doctors visits, all prescriptions, many therapy sessions (up to a certain cost per session), 10 chiropractic visits, and those are just the features I remember. If you take advantage of the insurance its well worth the value, but if you are a very healthy person, its not worth it.

* Safety:

Paris is a city, citys are generally more dangerous than the country, that being said, Paris is a relatively safe city. Its dangers are just different than the dangers of living in certain American cities. For example, pick-pockets are much more prevalent here than in the US, and women should be cautious when interacting with men on the street/in the metro because they will react more severely than in the US.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? No

This question is a little vague. I had great times at my program but I also lucked out with meeting some great people. I loved being in Paris and if I did it over again I would have tried to find a different study abroad program in Paris. That being said, of the options my school offered, and given just those options, I would have gone to AUP.

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)

Paris is expensive. Also food in the school's area is relatively expensive. If you are not from an expensive city, it will seem very expensive.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? Approximately 200
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Try to cook two of your meals, plan your trips early (when possible take busses and the local public transportation system - it can be tempting to take ubers everywhere), leave your credit card at home when going out.

Language

* Did your program have a foreign language component? No

Direct Enrollment/Exchange

* Did you study abroad through an exchange program or did you directly enroll in the foreign university? Direct Enrollment

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
* 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?
  • Location
  • Some People
  • The Class Subjects
* What could be improved?
  • Support System for Students of Color
  • Support System for Visiting Students
  • Some teachers
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? That you should probably go with a friend and an open mind.

Reasons For Studying Abroad

To help future students find programs attended by like-minded individuals, please choose the profile that most closely represents you.
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.