Summer in Paris - I'd Recommend to ALL Past Review

By (Sociology, Oregon State University) for

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

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I absolutely loved my summer in Paris. It was definitely a challenging experience at first, adapting to a brand new culture that I hadn't had the opportunity to experience yet, but once the initial culture shock wore off I came to realize that I actually really appreciated French culture. Whenever I was feeling particularly annoyed, I'd always remind myself that cultural differences exist, and it's normal to feel this way, but the important part is realizing that we are all different and coming to appreciate our differences. In the end, I'd say this summer was probably the most important and worthwhile thing I've done in my educational journey thus far. It opened new doors to things I want to do with my education prospects in the future (as far as living and studying abroad goes), as well as helped me learn about myself in my personal life as well as educationally (i.e., my learning style).

Review Photos

API (Academic Programs International): Paris - Institution Catholique De Paris Photo

Personal Information

If you took classes at multiple universities, list those universities here: Institut Catholique de Paris
How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 1 month - 6 months

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The initial transition to the French teaching style was difficult, but after the shock and confusion wore off I found that I learned better than I have in nearly any classroom at my American university. I was challenged every day by the language and cultural barriers, but chose to view it as interesting and fun rather than confusing and difficult.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

API was great - Melissa & Anne-Marie (the two program administrators) were always there to help and were both incredibly knowledgeable. The program size was nice too because it was a bit smaller, around 20 students, so we all got the chance to know each other pretty well.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

We stayed at the FEUSA which is largely populated by American students, and situated on an international student campus. I definitely didn't learn much French there, seeing as we all spoke a common language, but it was nice having other students around to spend time with and sight see with, especially because English is a breath of fresh air after listening to and speaking French for 6 hours in the classroom. The FEUSA was a little bit old and sort of far from the center of Paris, but I really enjoyed staying there.

* Food:

The food is Paris is phenomenal, even the street food is great. My only gripe with the food situation was the Moneo cards that we were given to use at Crous cafeteria, which is the most disgusting student cafeteria I've ever been to. Luckily, we could use them at Relay stores to buy coffee and magazines and things like that. Needless to say, didn't spend much time at Crous.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

API provided great outings and trips, including a day trip to Versailles, Champagne, and a weekend in the south of France spending time in Aix-en-Provence, Cassis & Marseilles.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

Paris is not exactly a 'safe' city, but traveling in groups was helpful and not once did I ever feel as though my safety was being threatened. As long as you're smart about things and don't make stupid decisions, I think it's relatively easy to feel safe in Paris. API also did a good job of covering safety & health related issues.

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?

It was a new experience learning French from a native French speaker (rather than an English speaker teaching French in the classroom), and I found it to be a lot more helpful. Although many people spoke English in the classroom & in Paris in general, many were more than willing to carry out orders or conversations in French, and even helped me with words or phrases I'd get stuck on.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • International Students

A Look Back

* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I think you have to be pretty willing to adapt to and accept the French culture, at first this was a huge point of contention for me and I got mad at French people for doing certain things, like being pushy or generally "rude" - but I had to realize that this was just their culture, and once I did it was much easier to adapt. Also, learning a language in their country takes a lot of patience too - patience with yourself because it's really difficult, and patience with other students because they're learning too.