Grenoble: The Perfect Size City for the Authentic French Experience Past Review

By (French/political science, University of Pittsburgh - Pittsburgh) for

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

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Yes yes yes! I cannot stress enough how wonderful my experience with API was. I have no regrets about the program. It was the perfect vehicle for me to experience life abroad, learn about a host country, and learn about myself in turn. Studying abroad completely changed my life and who I am. The lessons I learned in Grenoble stick with me today and have become of a part of me that will stay with me forever.

Review Photos

API (Academic Programs International): Grenoble - University Stendhal, Grenoble III Photo

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.

French schooling is a lot different than the typical American experience. Expectations are much more implicit than explicit so the student must work hard to stay on top of the course work. Evaluation is also much harsher in comparison to American grading. Perfection is nearly impossible in the eyes of the French. There is always room for improvement. Students should keep this in mind and see it as an encouraging aspect of the French way rather than feel discouraged by lower-than-expected grades.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

All of the resident directors in Grenoble are amazing. They helped me with school work, troubles at home, and other personal problems that I encountered while abroad. I never felt judged or was nervous to discuss anything with my resident directors. They provided great support at all hours of the day and were more than understanding of the issues that can arise while dealing with life abroad. I am still in contact with Marie and Sarah to this day, keeping them up to date with my life and enjoying their stories in return.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Living with a host family was without a doubt the best part of my study abroad experience. At the end of the day, even if I was exhausted from school, I was forced to speak French, watch TV in French, and experience French life. This boosted my language level much higher than I had anticipated before going to France. Not only that, it also allowed me to get a true experience of French life rather than a mish-mash of European values that I would have experienced in the dorms.

* Food:

My host family provided me with great food every day. They made sure I experienced many different types of French cuisine, as to get a full understanding of what French food is. The dining hall on campus also provided a lot of food at lunch time for a very reasonable price. Needless to say, I never went hungry while in France.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I met a lot of people from all over the world. I feel that my experience really opened my eyes to many kinds of people in the world. The university and API assisted in this by organizing cultural events to allow us to experience museums, plays, and concerts throughout the semester abroad.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

I was never worried that my health would be an issue while abroad. API provided medical insurance and made sure that all students were properly registered in France to assure that all health issues were addressed quickly and effectively. They also provided tips on staying safe in France so students knew what to look out for in the streets/late at night.

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
Language acquisition improvement?

Foreign language courses were required with API's language and culture studies program. The university offered courses tailored to fit every student's language level and needs. This way, every student was able to make the most progress possible while abroad. Language practice was possible in daily life (in shops, at restaurants), at home (with French students or with host families), and with teachers and resident directors (on campus). It was also possible to sign up for a language exchange partner with whom students were to meet once a week to practice language skills. English was wide-spread in Grenoble, but if you would like to speak French (and make that intention clear), most French people will work with you.

If applicable, to what degree did your living situation aid your language acquisition?

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family

A Look Back

* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? If you are unsure of what type of environment you want out of study abroad, Grenoble would be a great choice for you. It has all of the aspects of a big city in a small package, so students can take on as many activities as they wish without feeling overwhelmed.