An incredibly worthwhile life-changing experience December 28, 2019

By (American University of Paris) - abroad from 08/13/2012 to 05/05/2016 with

American University of Paris: Direct Enrollment & Exchange

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
It was incredibly worthwhile. I learned different languages, traveled, made friends, and worked on the side at Fashion Week. I loved AUP, Paris and the friends I made along the way.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 6 months+

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

An incredible international education in the heart of Paris. When you walk into a classroom at least 5 different languages are usually spoken by classmates. Provides students with incredible international contacts from all over the world. Some students come from royal backgrounds. Professors are highly qualified, many at the top of their fields. Courses are interesting, structured and you will look back and remember them fondly. I also studied at Georgetown but preferred the courses at AUP in that you get to know your professors much more easily and you can become closer with them outside of classes to ask for future, more personally reflective references. I loved my experience at AUP and would not trade it for anything. I remember many lectures from my courses word for word to this day because of how interesting, stimulating and entertaining they were. Overall an amazing experience academically and socially. Everyone working at AUP is amazing as well. Very supportive and easy to get to know.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I found my apartments through rental agencies and/or through friends who were leaving AUP after graduation. I lived on Rue Cler near school for a couple of years and loved being in close proximity to my classes as well as in one of the safest districts in all of France.

* Food:

It's Paris, so the food is incredible. I promise that even after a four year degree at AUP you will not have enough time to visit every amazing restaurant, boulangerie, chocolaterie, etc in the city - which makes coming back for vacations or work trips in the future that much more appealing.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

It is much easier to integrate into Parisian culture than people make it out to be in the States. I made friends outside of AUP in top restaurants, cafes and at the gym very easily and maintain the majority of those friendships and connections today. The French people cannot be generalized as being "rude" - my French friends are some of the sweetest as well as the most incredible and talented people I have ever met. You will be fine making friends in Paris and at AUP. My AUP friends to this day are still some of the closest people to me. AUP is an incredibly diverse school - more than 100 nationalities - so you are afforded the opportunity to gain insight into other cultures and countries' political and social environments and then actually hop on a train or take a flight to see those countries and cultures firsthand (sometimes with your friends to meet their families for ski vacations or summer/spring breaks). The local culture of Paris is incredible and the social life at AUP is unmatchable. Instead of frat parties and "rushing" you will actually experience a metropolitan city, live in an apartment with friends and have house parties with wine and charcuterie plates on Parisian nights talking about travels, adventures, courses and career/life dreams for the near and distant future. Instead of worrying about being accepted into a specific social group you'll make friends with everyone as everyone is quite accepting and tolerant of different religions, traditions, cultures, etc. You won't have the worry of feeling abnormal because the types of students who come to AUP in the first place are those who are interested in meeting people from all over the world, from different backgrounds, and different ways of life. Come to AUP if you want to experience any of the above ^^ I guess. I had a great time and so did all of my friends.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

French healthcare reimburses you for every doctors visit, dental exam, surgery etc. It is FAR less expensive in France than in the US. However, do not come to AUP solely for free healthcare, of course. The tuition costs are obviously expensive so it won't make much of a difference there. For this reason, though, the majority of international students who come to AUP come from VERY well educated families. Those who attend AUP not from the United States have great incentive to pay top dollar for the tuition costs - and that is because the education is phenomenal. The speakers, connections, student backgrounds and location all make AUP an incredibly worthwhile investment.

* Safety:

Paris is a safer city than any major city you will ever live in within the United States. Period. You will be completely safe in Paris. With the exception of the Paris Attack (which is once in a major blue moon in Paris) - you won't have to worry about anyone hurting you. Be aware of your surroundings as in any city, etc of course, but as a young woman who attended AUP from the ages of 17 to 21, I never once felt unsafe even at 2am walking home from a late dinner party from a friend's house.

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

For all of the reasons I have already stated, I would do it all over again in a heartbeat. AUP is an incredible university, filled with hard working students, talented and brilliant professors, and in an international city in the heart of Europe. You will have life-altering experiences inside and outside of class, and come into your own in a vibrant, culturally-rich city. You will have the opportunity to hear family stories from classmates whose families come from different places in the world than your own, make lifelong friends, travel with professors and friends to new parts of the world. I loved my courses, even more so than I did studying in the United States at other universities. Professors at AUP bring the material to life in an engaging way. You will learn so much. The main reason why I think some students think that the material is "easy" is because professors work extremely hard at AUP to explain the material in ways that students from all over can understand and in ways that they will remember. I found the teaching styles at AUP to be so much more engaging and much more creative than at other schools I have attended. AUP professors do an incredible job. Many of them have also attended top US and/or Internationally ranked schools - so they are not unintelligent people, they're brilliant. Socially, AUP is incomparable. The social scene at AUP is very inclusive. You will be able to make friends with the majority of the undergraduate and MA students as it is a very small school, and you will keep these friends for life.

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)

This applies to any city you would like to live in - including in the United States. Take into account that you will be paying in Euros and so you will have to look up conversions to see how the $ (or whatever currency you are working with) compares, and you will be fine. You can also work on the side in the student cafe or elsewhere around Paris for extra money. AUP helps students to find outside paid jobs such as babysitting, internships in your major/minor/interest/etc.

Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? My advice would probably be quite general and applicable to anyone living in a major city anywhere... Download online banking apps on your phone, keep your receipts, track how much you spend per week and per month. Take into consideration trips planned ahead, events planned, presents for friend's birthdays etc. Budget as you normally would anywhere. Living on your own and budgeting for the first time may sound daunting, but this will make your mathematics courses come to good use. Keep track of your finances and this will help you in life even after AUP.

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

AUP requires you to have proficiency in French. You receive an american degree as well as a french equivalent by the end of your studies - or at least I did when I attended. I took Honors and AP Spanish in high school before coming to AUP and knew very little French. By the end I now converse, have many French friends and travel back to France all the time. I just completed my MA in Paris and was offered a job with a brand in London. You will learn French at AUP and outside you will be encouraged by French friends who will most likely love to help you perfect your grammar, etiquette and accent. You will 100% know the French culture, grammar and eating/social customs and etiquette better than anyone you know who will attend University in the United States who takes French as their language requirement - this may sound obvious but it's worth stating in case you are hesitant about attending due to the fact that you may think you will not learn French as it is an American university 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? Fluent
How many hours per day did you use the language? 10+

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

  • N/A
* 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? 10+

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • International Education
  • Friendships
  • Traveling & Learning Experience
* What could be improved?
  • I can't think of anything to be honest...
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I had known how amazing it was going to be - honestly. I had friends who had attended who I had known from summers in Europe who told me that they loved AUP, but it's always hard to know what to expect until you take the plunge into something and experience it firsthand. I loved every single part about my experience, including all of the moments I thought I wasn't having fun. In retrospect, all of the worst moments I had at AUP are some of the best in my life. Living in a foreign country at 17 and figuring yourself out with supportive, capable and incredibly talented, intelligent friends and professors is unmatchable as far as college experiences go, in my personal opinion.

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.