Best experience of my life!!! Past Review

By (French Language and Literature., University of Tennessee - Knoxville) - abroad from 01/21/2013 to 05/18/2013 with

CEA: Aix-en-Provence, France

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I gained a lot of independence and confidence, but above all lifelong friends, by being abroad. It was definitely difficult at times, but looking back now I can see how much I grew from the challenges and from the experience as a whole.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 2 weeks - 1 month

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

I was in level 4 at the IEFEE and felt that classes were reasonably intense. We had 10 hours a week of language classes and then electives. Language classes included Written and Oral Comprehension and Expression. There was a fair amount of suggested homework that was discussed in class, then one weekly written graded assignment, two tests, and a presentation, in addition to final exams. In the electives, classes were lecture style and grades were based on a cumulative final exam.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Vivienne, Vainess, and Sandra are awesome!

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

My home stay was one of the best parts of my experience. We were offered a lot of cultural immersion through the family. Although they were very reserved and distant at first, we were progressively more and more welcomed and included in family life, and I had a wonderful stay with my host family.

* Food:

The food was always good, but portions are much smaller and meals are much lighter.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

My only social and cultural integration was thanks to my host family. Because the IEFEE is only for international students and it was hard to meet local students, I don't think I would've felt immersed at all without my family.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

When I needed to go to the doctor, Vivienne got me an appointment within 48 hours. The doctor was really nice and medicine is very inexpensive in France.

* Safety:

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes

Finances

* 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? $50

Language

* 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

We only spoke French in the home stay, and that was my best practice.

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Advanced
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? 432
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? Speak French as much as possible! We spoke it at home and with each other all day, and practicing like that is the best way to improve. Take advantage of this opportunity to learn French in France - there's no better way or place to learn it!

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • 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?
  • My host family
  • Aix itself
  • Everything
* What could be improved?
  • Maybe more opportunities with local students?
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? How fast time flies! At times, it didn't seem like the days were passing as quickly as they actually did, but by the end, I couldn't believe it was over. Take advantage of every single moment - with friends, at school, traveling during breaks, and enjoying Aix.

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 Academic or Linguist
You went abroad with specific academic goals in mind; the program credentials and rigor of your coursework abroad were very important to you. You had a great time abroad, but never lost sight of your studies and (if applicable) were diligent with your foreign language study. Good for you!