Paris is best seen by walking and listening. Past Review

By (Political Science and Government., Berea College) - abroad from 05/07/2012 to 07/31/2012 with

Berea College: Paris - The Wonders of Paris

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned, most importantly, that I can go alone to a major city and just walk and be by myself. I discovered more about myself in those three weeks than all of my other US based vacations combined. I would recommend it as it was very worthwhile.

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 prep work leading up to departure is quite difficult as it is not based off a book but rather poorly made PowerPoints. This lead to confusion for those unable to take the recommended class due to other obligations. I would strongly recommend either require said class or making the student buy an actual textbook.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The three teachers on the trip were generally speaking quite nice and helpful. Mrs. Boyce was wonderful.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The hotel was in the best location possible. Safe, clean, and kind staff will always win over a traveler, at home or aboard.

* Food:

I loved the food when I was allowed to eat out on my own. However, the food at the hotel (required breakfast and dinner) was awful. The breakfast (5 euros) would have been better had I been able to just go down the street to have pain au chocolat (1 euro) instead.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

The key, as Dr. Watkins' stressed, is to not go out in a group. I found I was able to cover the required sites and more by going alone. This allowed me to talk to locals and fellow travelers. I felt comfortable sooner than my roommate because I refused to be surround by my fellow Americans. Being allowed to go out on my own is what allowed that to happen.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I got a common cold within the first week. My only issue was my inability to find tissues.

* Safety:

Generally I felt quite safe in Paris. Even when lost I didn't feel threatened. In fact, I found the locals to be quite nice. A man once used his cell phone to help me find my way.

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 was able to stay on my budget. As long as one does not go to Paris expecting a major shopping trip it is possible to go cheaply.

* Was housing included in your program cost? Yes
* Was food included in your program cost? No
Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? Enough
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Buy tickets in a passport fashion (Musee d'Orsay/L'Orangerie).


* Did your program have a foreign language component? No

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Hostel
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
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?
  • Food
  • Location
  • History
* What could be improved?
  • Ditch the PowerPoint and make students buy an actual textbook.
  • The food at the hotel.
  • Share information during class meetings alone.
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I had had the time to commit myself more to the language before going.