Fantastic yet Rigorous Study Abroad in Avignon, France Past Review

By (Social Studies, Harvard University) for

Bryn Mawr: Avignon - Institut d'études Françaises d'Avignon

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I had a fantastic experience. By taking more risks, reaching out to people who might initially seem a little different and yet finding commonality, is a wonderful, confidence-building, and inspiring experience. I hope to be able to continue traveling abroad and participating in cultural exchange for the rest of my life.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 6 months+

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

While the workload was substantial, you still definitely had time to travel on the weekends (participate in excursions) and participate in other cultural affairs. The classes were intellectually stimulating and very interesting (especially the class taught by Professor Alcaras). The grading was based on Bryn Mawr's grading system. Access to internet (especially living with a host who believed the internet was detrimental to society) was a challenge in completing homework assignments (I would go with students to work at the Palais du Roure, where classes were held but where internet was also limited) or McDonalds (free Wi-fi).

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The administration had fantastic connections to local events and cultural excursions. It was very personal and we had fantastic receptions and lectures that the admin planned. I would have liked to know more about purchasing tickets to the shows in the "IN" part of the festival.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I had a fantastic host and was treated as a well known guest, eventually more like a niece figure. I had close proximity to the downtown (though walking back at night it was good to be accompanied by someone) and I had a fantastic cultural experience.

* Food:

It's France, with the food you can't go wrong!

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

The excursions (to Marseille, Arles, Vaison la Romaine, etc.) were all fantastic. Special events to attend Enfant, a theatrical performance in the Avignon Theater Festival was fun. It was also the 50th anniversary and we enjoyed a special night of celebration. Finally, all students performed at the final event which was fun.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

Health care is fine. There is some supposed minor crime in Avignon (a student's bicylce was stolen) but we felt very safe for the majority of the time.

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? We spent 35 euros for a gym membership. Then approximately 20-40 euros per week for lunch/snacks/film/theater performances that we would elect to attend. Further funds are necessary if you want to travel on two free weekends (other weekends the program has already arranged for activities and excursions).
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? There are always unanticipated expenses for new activities/restaurants that you want to try, mosquito repellant, etc, shopping purchases (all of the sales are going on then!)


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Beginner
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? French 30 Advanced Language Review
If applicable, to what degree did your living situation aid your language acquisition?

Language acquisition improvement?

I spoke French with my host "mom," all of my professors, administrators, locals, and other students (including American students). The program had a French speaking only policy. Most people spoke French (occasionally some spoke English out of class environment).

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

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

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • High caliber of fellow students and amazing faculty
  • Great home-stay
* What could be improved?
  • Access to Internet!!
  • Let students know about how to buy tickets to "In" part of Festival
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? The student that would benefit most is an intellectual, academically motivated, independent student who enjoys theater (Avignon hosts a huge theater festival and even if you do not love theater it is a very cool festival). Avignon does not have a great night life but is a beautiful, historic, and charming city. The academics and excursions and fellow students were all fantastic. This program is very well established within the community and thus we reaped many benefits based on that as well.

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

L'économie, la culture, et la civilisation de l'Europe

Course Department: Economics S201
Instructor: Jean-Robert Alcaras
Instruction Language: French
Comments: Fantastic. Jean-Robert Alcaras is one of the best teachers I have had. He is enthusiastic, intelligent, and likes learning about American culture.
Credit Transfer Issues: no.
Course Name/Rating:

Le Conte Mervielleux

Course Department: French 214
Instructor: Rudy le Menthéour
Instruction Language: French
Comments: A large amount of reading per night, but the material is easy (French fairy tales!)
Credit Transfer Issues: No.