The whirlwind experience of a first-time traveler and foreigner Past Review

By (French, Texas A&M University - College Station) - abroad from 01/06/2014 to 05/16/2014 with

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

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
On top of the obvious language knowledge, I was able to gain more self confidence in my ability to function outside of my standard environment. Being able to travel on my own was especially gratifying and exciting. Now I am 100% certain that I could travel around France and properly communicate with the locals.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? None

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The amount of homework was greater than at A&M. The level of work expected wasn't higher, but it was difficult to adjust to different criteria.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The on-site API administration was incredibly helpful. They were always available to help with any academic or cultural problems. They even had good suggestions for vacations or restaurants.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The level of interaction and integration with the host family was less than I had imagined, but I definitely prefer the homestay to the dorm option.

* Food:

The quality of the food at the host home was consistently excellent and the amount was sufficient.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Studying in a city besides the obvious choice of Paris has allowed me to feel more integrated in everyday life.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

For visa requirements I had to have a chest x-ray and a general check up done by the Grenoble health center. The medical personnel were efficient while still remaining kind and personal. Both procedures were conducted with little wait time and no complications.

* Safety:

I felt rather safe in Grenoble when in comparison to other French cities like Paris or Marseille. There are of course some troublemakers around the city, but I feel like they are less likely to try and engage you than in a larger city.

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)

Living in a smaller city like Grenoble, the prices weren't as exorbitant as in Paris. It was still difficult to refrain from buying all the neat books,clothes and souvenirs I found during my travels.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? 10-20 euros
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Definitely learn and understand the exchange rate before you start making purchases in another country. It's easy to forget after a coupe of weeks living there. Also, take advantage of local grocery stores instead of restaurants. It's just as fun to arrange a picnic with friends as it is to go out to the cafe


* 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

The professors, API advisers and everyday people spoke only in French, so it was a necessity for me to speak the language.

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Intermediate
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Advanced
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? Intermediate/Advanced
How many hours per day did you use the language?
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? No matter how good your French courses were at home it is no substitute to being immersed in it everyday. If you make friends with people who are able to speak English, try to only speak French with them. It's surprisingly comfortable and helpful to speak to another language learner.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • International Students

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Everyday exposure to the French language
  • Travel Opportunities
  • Beautiful scenery and outdoors activities in Grenoble
* What could be improved?
  • More integration with French students
  • More time to explore on the planned excursions
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I had created more of schedule for myself before going. It was more hectic and I had less time to plan any extra trips than I thought.

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 Academic or Linguist
You went abroad with specific academic goals in mind; the program credentials and rigor of your coursework abroad were very important to you. You had a great time abroad, but never lost sight of your studies and (if applicable) were diligent with your foreign language study. Good for you!

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

French Literature

Course Department:
Instruction Language: French
Comments: The teacher was clearly knowledgeable but the course would have been more interesting if the class size was smaller. Grade assessment was solely based upon one exam. The exam was straightforward but required an in-depth analysis of the text.
Credit Transfer Issues: No problems.
Course Name/Rating:

French Cinema

Course Department:
Instruction Language: French
Comments: The topic of this course was very interesting and the lectures heavily supplemented with films shown in class. The teacher had no prior experience to teaching foreign students so it was difficult for many students to understand/have time to write down the notes.
Credit Transfer Issues: No problems
Course Name/Rating:

Grenoble Economy and Urbanization

Course Department:
Instruction Language: French
Comments: This course was taught by two teachers who each taught one half of the semester. This was a new course to the curriculum but it turned out to be one of the most well managed ones. The two teachers were very accommodating and sensitive to the fact that they were teaching foreign students. The information was about the development of Grenoble as a city, so was very relevant to the program. i was actually able to visit the quartiers we talked about in class. This was also the only class thati offered field trips throughout the semester.
Credit Transfer Issues: No problems
Course Name/Rating:


Course Department:
Instruction Language: French
Comments: The set up of this course could have been more polished. Throughout the semester the teacher tried to change the structure to benefit the students more. This is an interesting way to acquire new vocabulary but it does take much more effort than a simple vocabulary class.
Credit Transfer Issues: No problems
Course Name/Rating:

Oral and Written Techniques

Course Department:
Instruction Language: French
Comments: The professor was incredibly knowledgeable and driven to teach the students. She made the course very challenging at times, yet by the end of the semester she was everyone's favorite. The assessment was ongoing throughout the semester.
Credit Transfer Issues: No problems