I wish I was still there! Past Review

By (Texas A&M University - College Station) - abroad from 01/12/2018 to 05/21/2018 with

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

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned so many life lessons while I was over there. This experience was seriously so life-changing. I know it sounds cliché, but it was. I'm so much more confident because of it and I grew so much while I was there. You can google a list of all the skills you will gain by studying abroad (adaptability, responsibility, independence, etc), but for me, it was the personal growth/development that was most important!

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 2 weeks - 1 month

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

I loved all of my classes! The teachers were super patient and always spoke to us at our level of French without being condescending. They made classes interesting. Because this is France, your classes will be a lot longer. I had a two-hour grammar/language classes every morning (it was 4 hours on Thursdays) and 2 hours of electives in the afternoon. I did have Friday off though which was great! Your schedule will depend on your level of French. There were also good options for electives. My favorite was Mythology.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

API was super helpful pre-departure, while abroad, and even after coming home. I had lots of questions about paperwork and visas and they answered everything they could. They also gave us a big online pre-departure packet with everything we could ever want to know about studying abroad. They made sure we were as prepared as possible for studying abroad. While we were there, Anna and Marie were super helpful! Marie took us around Paris during our orientation and even though I barely understood French she was super patient with it. They also took us on other fun excursions like snowshoeing, a weekend in Dijon, and a weekend in Nice. They also had cultural things in their office like a crepe party and a cheese tasting. I never had any problems, but they were always there to help us out! After coming home, API offers a program called the Global Leadership Academy so that alumni can continue (in a way) their study abroad experience, learn about leadership, and encourage others to study abroad.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I lived with a host family and I absolutely loved it. My host mom was the sweetest. They took me up into the mountains to see where the Olympics were, to visit the grandparents, to eat fondue, and more. I have a lot of really great memories because of my host family. It's also a great way to practice your language. My French was horrible when I got there but my host mom was super patient with me and by the time I left I could actually hold a conversation. They also had the fluffiest cat I have ever seen! The apartment was also super comfortable!

* Food:

It's France, the food is amazing. There is this one sandwich shop on campus where you can get brie in a baguette for only 3 euros. The campus has a lot of great options for lunch. In the city, there are a lot of restaurants ranging from casual to nicer ones and a lot of them also have discounts for students.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Having a host family helps a lot! I feel like I could've done more to try and integrate into the culture, but my French was practically non-existent and I was too scared. There are a lot of ways to get involved in the community with different organizations, clubs, and volunteering opportunities. But, if you're too scared because your French sucks, definitely get a host family because you will feel really integrated that way!

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I got a little sick while I was over there, so I texted Anna (one of the onsite directors) and she helped me set up a doctors appointment. She told me what to do and what to bring. I showed up to the appointment and the doctor spoke English so that helped a whole lot. She gave me a prescription for some medicine to get from the pharmacy. It was all very cheap and I think the health insurance covered almost all of it, if not all. I honestly can't remember how much I ended up paying but it was very cheap! I was able to get the medicine and felt much better a few days later! The whole process was easy and cheap and the directors are very helpful! On a side note, if you do get sick while you're there and you want some cough drops, they will be in the candy aisle of grocery stores, not in a pharmacy. According to my host mom, it's because they aren't really medicine.

* Safety:

I felt safe the whole time I was in Grenoble. I did end up buying some mace just as a precaution, but I never used it and I left it with the directors so another student could use it in the future. Anna told me where I could find some and the people running the store gave it to us for a discount since we were students. While I was there, there were lots of protests (typical France) for the busses, trains, and sometimes planes and at the universities, since something was changing with how people are admitted to the universities. Both the on-site directors and our professors kept us informed about the location of the protests so we could avoid those areas and took precautions to help us stay away. We had lots of classes on different campuses when we couldn't have classes on the regular campus (the students were blocking the doors with dumpsters, desks, and chairs in protest). I never felt unsafe while in Grenoble.

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

I loved my semester there. I love Grenoble. Everyone and everything was perfect!


* 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)

Grenoble is student friendly and a lot of places (restaurants, museums, etc) have student discounts. API also does a great job of planning excursions for you so even if you don't have that much money to travel on your own, you still get to see a lot of France with API.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $150
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Start saving early, look into lots of scholarships, ask for study abroad money for birthdays/Christmas, and start a GoFundMe or something similar!


* 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

All of my classes were in French, my host family spoke with me in French, and the onsite directors almost always spoke to us in French. Honestly the only time I spoke English was with other Americans or when I had a more complicated question for one of the onsite directors.

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? Intermediate
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? French 201
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? The best way to practice is to practice. Raise your hand in class, try to make conversation with your host family, and do anything you can to keep speaking the language.

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
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?
  • The academics: I learned a whole lot of french while I was there and the electives were interesting!
  • The people like my host family, the directors, the professors, and my API friends
  • The city, I love good ole Grenny
* What could be improved?
  • Integration with the locals
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? There are a few extra costs (like campus France) that aren't explicitly stated on the website so make sure to ask about all the extra costs you will have to pay.

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 Nearly Native or Trail Blazer
Craving the most authentic experience possible, perhaps you lived with a host family or really got in good with the locals. You may have felt confined by your program requirements and group excursions. Instead, you'd have preferred to plan your own trips, even skipping class to conduct your own 'field work.'