First Time Out of the Country Past Review

By (Sociology., Berea College) - abroad from 05/07/2012 to 05/28/2012 with

Berea College: Paris - The Wonders of Paris

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned that the fear of traveling to other countries was all in my head. I had the stigma that I couldn't do it and that it was too dangerous because of how the media portrays traveling and Hollywood movies. Once I actually traveled I figured out that I could go out by myself and not with my group anymore. Once I was alone I could really explore the city and talk to people. Anyone can do this. I know it sounds strange that some people are actually afraid to go to other countries but its true. I also learned a valuable lesson that all humans are the same no matter where you go. There are different cultures and norms associated with different cultures but on a more basic level were all the same! Did I mention the food yet? In case I haven't or I have already I must say trying different foods that weren't American was the best part! I wish I could've taken a French Chef and put him/her in my purse to bring back with me!

Review Photos

Berea College: Paris - The Wonders of Paris Photo Berea College: Paris - The Wonders of Paris Photo Berea College: Paris - The Wonders of Paris Photo

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.

I love hands on experiences. I appreciated actually seeing the things we discussed in class. For example the history of Paris is really intense. It stuck with me where the kings and queens stayed once I visited the place. Words can't explain when your looking at old historic building that were once apart of the city and to think blood has been spread all over the city is remarkable. Its a beautiful concrete jungle out there.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

They both were incredible.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The pension where we stayed was nice like a dorm room almost. I had a little culture shock when I saw how small the shower was and the noise level. Being an American I forgot how loud we can be sometimes.

* Food:

The food that we received while at the pension was mediocre. IT was good enough for me to eat.Besides the food their I ate out a lot and French cuisine is delicious. I enjoyed so many different restaurants while I was there. I'm a huge fan of food and I couldn't help myself. I indulged in a lot of great foods!

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I felt very comfortable with my surroundings and environment. The only downfall I would give to being cultural integrated was that I wasn't fluent and barely knew the French language. That still didn't stop me from asking for directions and getting help. It was not until later in the trip until I wished I had knew more of the language well. But the language barrier didn't ruin my trip. I learned so much about social norms. For example when it rained all the Parisians ran for cover under something where the rain wouldn't get them. I thought that was hilarious. Even Parisians with umbrella's took cover. As an outsider I continued to walk in the rain with my umbrella and people were just watching me. It gave me the giggles for a while.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

A few of the students got a little virus that was going around including myself. The professors took us to the drug store to help get medicine. It was equivalent to thera-flu here in the US. I got better within a three days. I didn't need any vaccines prior to coming besides an updated tech shot.

* Safety:

I felt safe for the most part through out the entire city. I just followed social norms and I was fine.

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)

4 I had to call a friend for $100 loan until I got back home. European nations are very expensive. If you truly want students to experience a lot of cultural activities its going to take just a little bit more money.

* Was housing included in your program cost? Yes
* Was food included in your program cost? Yes
Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? This is hard to estimate. I didn't want to eat sandwiches everyday so I had really good food the entire time I was there. Meals such as lunch and weekends I had to get lunch and dinner. Lunch would be anywhere from 18-30 euros. Maybe thats too much but I wasn't about to eat sandwiches every day.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Yes....Budget well. If possible get as much money from friends and family members. Trust the extra money will not hurt in France, you will be sure to find something you like.


* 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

everytime possible the professors encouraged us to use the French language. I tried a lot and Parisians knew immediately I was from out of town lol.

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? None
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Beginner
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? none. I did Mango a site that our school has for various different languages
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? Start early and if possible talk to other people who know the language. Its good to have other people to converse with instead of saying it back to yourself.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Other
* 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?
  • The Food: Its amazing to me to go to another country and experience the cousine they have available. You get to taste real authenitic food from their culture. Its amazing and something I can keep with me for the rest of my life. Also I found my favorite desert in Paris, Creme Brulee
  • The Professors: The professors who attended the trip made it easier for us students to adapt. If I didn't have their guidence I don't think I could've adapted as quickly as I did.
  • The Parisian People: The French people are just like any other human being around the world. Yes, they have their different culture and ways they live. But the bottom line is that they aren't too much different from me.
* What could be improved?
  • Instead of a month abroad how about all summer? That would be nice.
  • Express how important it is to find outside scholarships especially when traveling to European countries. They are really expensive.
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? One thing I wish I would've known is how expensive European Nations are.I would've worked more to get money so I could really experience everything I wanted to.