My Fantastic Semester in Paris! Past Review

By (Human Communication, Trinity University) - abroad from 02/03/2014 to 06/14/2014 with

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

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
It was absolutely worthwhile! I learned a lot about who I am because I met so many new people from so many different backgrounds. I was able to learn others people's points of views and beliefs, and then compare them to my own. I really loved seeing through new lenses and recreating my own.

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 courses I took were challenging, but my classes were small and my professors were willing to work with me during or after class time if I didn't understand something.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The administration of the Institut Catholique could be complicated to work with at times, not just because of the language barrier, but also because their administrative rules are more strict than my home univerisity's. The administration of API was wonderful. I felt very supported and knew if there was anything I needed, wondered about, or was concerned about I had the staff to rely on.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

At first I was unhappy with my living situation, but the API staff really worked with me to make sure I was comfortable.

* Food:

The monthly stipend helped me manage money much better than I would have, had I been relying only on my personal savings.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I had many opportunities to integrate myself into the culture, and I really enjoyed doing that, but looking back I think I could have branched out even more and sought out even more opportunities to grow.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I was sick 3 times while I was in Paris. Everyone at API was very helpful and caring, and my host mom even went to the pharmacy to get me medicine once. I also had a friend who had to go to the emergency room, and one of the API staff came to wait with us. She was very supportive and kind.

* Safety:

In any big city there are safety precautions everyone must take. The API staff was great about communicating these. Despite that, I had my phone stolen at one point because I had it out to take a picture. It was a temporary lapse in my usual alertness in terms of safety risks, so I definitely learned the lesson to always remember where I am, and how I am supposed to act in order to be safe.

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)

I had a limited budget but there are so many things to do and see in the city for free like museums, monuments, and parks, that I didn't feel too much financial strain.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? It varied a lot, but about 30€. This was my spending money so I'm not including the grocery stipend.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Appreciating the little things that you can do around the city and in your day to day life can really help you to stop spending tons of money on shopping and food, and they are often the best memories. For example, doing walking tours with friends, visiting the free attractions, picnicking.


* 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 classes required us to speak French, and the staff would speak in both languages and allow you to choose which to communicate in depending on your preference and ability.

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? Advanced
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? French Literature II
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? Seek out people to speak the language with. There are clubs you can join where the members take turns speaking in French and English, and there are international students in the classes from other countries with whom your common language is french, and that is a great way to practice.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

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

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • International Students
  • 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?
  • The city
  • The class experience
  • The staff
* What could be improved?
  • How they pair host families with student in terms of matching criteria
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I think if I had better knowledge of what living with a host family truly was my experience would have been even better. I wanted to immerse myself in the language and really challenge myself socially and intellectually, so I chose to live with a host family. Now I think if I had really understood what it meant to become a part of someone else's family for a few months I could have possibly enriched my host family experience, or been able to make a more informed decision to live in the dorms.

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 Avid Adventurer
The wardrobe you packed was better suited for a semester of camping than club hopping. Outdoorsy, you might forgo a crazy night out for an early all-day adventure. You'd rather take in the rich culture of an old town than the metropolis of a modern city, but for you getting off the grid is ideal.