Life Changing Past Review

By (Special and Elementary Education, University of Hartford) - abroad from 09/16/2013 to 12/21/2013 with

API (Academic Programs International): Paris - Institut Catholique de Paris

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I gained a lot of independence and I learned how to survive completely on my own. Every second of my experience was worth it and I desperately want to go back!

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.

French professors have much different expectations of students than American professors. They expect much more of students and demand full attention and respect at all times. The course-load was good for me in terms of having free time to do other things.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I lived with a host family and they were warm and welcoming. Being with a host family helped me assimilate better into the French culture and understand the reasons French people act like they do. My language skills also benefited greatly.

* Food:

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

Living in a large city like Paris is different than anything I have experienced before but my biggest suggestion is to be aware of your surroundings and expect anything. Study the cultural expectations of Paris and try to get an understanding of how foreigners, especially women, are treated. Avoid dangerous neighborhoods.

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)

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? 70-100 euros
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? My spending varied by week considering if I was traveling a lot. Some weeks I barely spent anything. Packing/ making your own food is a good way to save cash. Going out can also get very pricey.


* 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

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Beginner
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? High school French class
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? Get to know the natives! It also helps to make friends with other foreigners in your French classes because many of them are not from America/don't speak English so you are forced to communicate in French.

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

  • Americans
  • International Students
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with?

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • excursions
  • insistence on using French
  • ease of access
* What could be improved?
  • monthly food allowance wasn't that much
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I had done more research into French culture. I also wish I had studied the city more and gotten to know the neighborhoods and monuments better.

Reasons For Studying Abroad

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The Outright Urbanite
A social butterfly, you're happiest in bustling cities with hip people, and took advantage of all it had to offer. You enjoyed the nightlife, and had fun going out dancing, and socializing with friends. Fun-loving and dressed to the nines, you enjoyed discovering new restaurants, shops, cafes, and bars in your host country.