The silver lining of a global pandemic!! August 18, 2021

By (Wellesley College) - abroad from 09/23/2020 to 05/14/2021 with

American University of Paris: Direct Enrollment & Exchange

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
For me, this was a unique experience as I got to immerse myself in a different part of France. I grew up in the suburbs of Paris but had never lived in the city.

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.

While the academics were not as rigorous as what I'm used to at Wellesley, I really enjoyed the close-knit classroom environment and proximity to my professors. Despite Covid restrictions, I was able to benefit from access to the campus library, a job at the campus cafe, and extracurriculars.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I lived in my own apartment which I found independently of AUP. I cannot speak to the quality of their living arrangements.

* Food:

The only food provided by AUP is at the cafe on campus (the "Amex"). Very good but gets expensive since it's not included!

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

My integration was facilitated by the fact that I grew up in France, speak the language, and have friends in the area. But I was also able to make new friends through AUP!

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

AUP has a great insurance plan that covers medical and psychological care (way more than standard French health insurance!). MSH is easy to use.

* Safety:

AUP is located in a very safe neighborhood. Paris is a relatively safe city as long as you remain street-smart

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

I really wanted to travel someplace I'd never been before but due to Covid my options were very limited. I chose France because it was the most straightforward option (I had a residency card and spoke the language) despite it not being my first choice. Nevertheless, I would highly recommend AUP for anyone wishing to explore more of Paris as it is a wonderful program!

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 an expensive city, but costs can definitely be minimized by cooking at home and avoiding bars/cafes/restaurants!

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $150 approx
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? bars and cafes add up fast! for public transport, I recommend buying a monthly "Navigo" (metro card) or investing in a bike early on (individual metro tickets add up really fast). Watch out for tourist scams (restaurants, tourist buses/cars...). Don't tip when eating out (the French never do).

Language

* Did your program have a foreign language component? No
How much did the program encourage you to use the language?

0 = No encouragement, 5 = frequent encouragement to use the language

Hard for me to say because I came into the program already speaking French...AUP doesn't seem to offer much opportunity for immersion although I heard their French classes are pretty good. I think it's what you make of it.

Direct Enrollment/Exchange

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

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Other
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • International Students

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • English language classes
  • City campus
  • Small classes
* What could be improved?
  • Exposure to French culture
  • Longer library hours
  • Access to food on campus
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Living alone is hard--it requires a lot of time management and budgeting! I wish I'd been more prepared.

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Drawing

Course Department: Fine arts
Instructor: Clara Delamater
Instruction Language: English
Comments: this course felt weak compared to my other ones. assignments were poorly explained, and the structure of the class felt very disorganized.
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

history of asian civilizations

Course Department: history
Instructor: Albert Wu
Instruction Language: English
Comments: Professor Wu made the most of a challenging situation by making his zoom classes both engaging and packed with valuable information! the class was challenging and stimulating. I learned a lot.
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

videojournalism practicum

Course Department: media/communications
Instructor: Jurgen Hecker
Instruction Language: English
Comments: very valuable experience for anyone considering a career in journalism! a rare opportunity to produce journalistic videos in a college classroom environment!
Credit Transfer Issues: