Grenoble, France: A Beautiful Semester Abroad Past Review

By (French Language and Literature., Salisbury University) for

API (Academic Programs International): Grenoble - Université des Alpes

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I gained a better understanding of myself from study abroad. I gained confidence in my language abilities, but more importantly I understood that I could do anything. I didn't need to be pigeon-holed into one group of friends. I discovered I truly love traveling, I love to walk everywhere, and I appreciate a good bread. Study abroad changed my life in more ways than one...I met my best friend in my program, I decided when I got back to the States that I wanted to work in the Study Abroad field (hopefully for API!), and I knew I had to go back to France. I am now an English Teaching Assistant in France, and I would not have chosen this path if not for study abroad.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 0-2 weeks

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The workload was very different from what I was used to in the U.S. I did not have much homework, and it was up to me to take copious notes. The teaching methods were usually lectures except in my grammar course, which involved discussion. I also always had homework or presentations in my grammar course. Grading is on a 20 point scale, which is intimidating coming from a 100 points. Classes were not difficult but the final exams (which essentially determined the final grade) were exceptionally hard.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

API was awesome. Marie, Sarah, and Anna were knowledgeable about everything. From good French books to read, to great places to visit in Grenoble and outside of Grenoble to helping us with our numerous travel plans. If anyone had any trouble, they could always find someone in the office to help and I truly felt like I could go to them with anything. Our group was sort of large, but we all got along and I think this was largely due to the activities API organized, the trips we had together and their easy-going, organized manner!

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

My host family was amazing. It has been almost two years, and I still email my host mom to chat. i lived in a suburb of Grenoble (Corenc), and I am not much of a partier so that was fine with me. Getting to class was simple, a bus and a tram and I did not need to buy anything additional. My host parents were all about me learning as much French as possible, and I often hung out with their friends and family on the weekend, and took trips with them. They were so kind, they let my brother and cousin stay with us when they visited me.

* Food:

I am lactose intolerant (practically a sin in France), and I wrote that on my application. My host parents were very understanding, and my host mom made things with soy milk or coconut milk, she always had cheese on the side to add to pasta so I wouldn't have to eat it. She was a great cook, there was always more than enough to go around. I enjoyed eating French food and in Grenoble there are a ton of places to eat!

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

As a group we went to Nice for our last excursion. I have been to Nice before, but now when I think of Nice, all I can see are the wonderful people I shared it with while studying abroad. And I know everyone felt the same way, it was a last chance to have fun and experience France together. One of my favorite activities was playing laser game in the beginning of the program. It was a great way to have us bond, and get comfortable.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

Grenoble was a safe city, there were parts that were a little iffy at night, but it was easy to avoid. Definitely not like the U.S. with safety issues. I always felt safe even when by myself at night. I had no problems with healthcare so I have no comment on the system.

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


* 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)


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
If applicable, to what degree did your living situation aid your language acquisition?

Language acquisition improvement?

I practiced the host country language (French) with my host family everyday, with my resident directors as well as in class. All my friends in the program spoke English and we often spoke in English with each other. But, I used French everyday since my host parents only spoke French with me.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • The excursions were pretty awesome.
  • The R.Ds worked their butts off for us, and I always appreciated their hard work at finding good host families.
  • It was very organized, I never had any doubt when events were, what we needed to do for classes.
* What could be improved?
  • Nothing, everything was great!
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I would say do it. I chose API frankly because they were the cheapest option. And I was so happy, when I had troubles with paperwork I got instant help from the home office. It is a beautiful city surrounded by mountains, and it is so close to everything. There were many different kinds of people in my group, and I think everyone, from the travelers to the partiers, to the homebodies all had a wonderful experience.