Five months in my new favorite city in the world May 25, 2018

By (Wellesley College) - abroad from 01/08/2018 to 05/16/2018 with

American University of Paris: Direct Enrollment & Exchange

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I became much more independent, more flexible, more street smart, more mature, and more culturally knowledgeable. I hadn't been able to travel much before this semester, but had always wanted to, and by being in a major global metropolis central to Europe, I had the opportunity to see a lot of beautiful and amazing places on a budget.

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.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

* Food:

There was no meal plan at my university.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I loved living in Paris, speaking French, and interacting with locals on my own time, but the university experience itself was far from a typical authentic French university experience. Some of my friends in the program never learned French previously, and still don't know it after our semester abroad, so if you're looking for a deep immersion, this may not be the program for you.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

The healthcare was excellent, however, the process for getting reimbursed through the school's mandatory insurance plan involves paying for all costs associated with consultations and prescribed medication up front, and then waiting to appeal for reimbursement. As I write this, I've been waiting to be paid back for over two months. I didn't realize the waiting process would so long, and it definitely discouraged me and many others in my program from seeking medical care for more minor concerns for the rest of the semester.

* Safety:

I felt extremely safe most of the time. I had a few issues with street harassment and uncomfortable, unsolicited experiences with men, and a few people I know were pickpocketed, but ultimately I did not feel I was in grave danger.

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

Despite the few negatives associated with my experience, and despite the weakness of my program's academic experiences, I loved everything else about my semester abroad and the life I lived in Paris. The location, the independence, and the ability to focus on real-life experiences in conjunction with academic experiences was so much better than I expected it to be, and I loved my time in France.

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 really quite expensive, but I chose to live really conservatively and save during the week, and use my money to travel as much as possible on the weekends.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? Probably around $60-100 per week, but it was really variable.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Eat in, buy generics at Monoprix, get a Free Mobile contractless plan, and use a Navigo monthly transit card.

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
* 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? 0

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Independence
  • Travel
  • Life in Paris
* What could be improved?
  • Academics
  • Housing
  • More student life resources
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I knew how worth it it would be to face my fears and study abroad. A lot of the things I was most nervous about turned out to be non-issues, and I can't believe I almost didn't take the opportunity to study in France. I would absolutely recommend the experience to anyone in a similar situation to me–the payoff was so worth the risk.

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.