My French is so much better, and I'm coming back for sure! Past Review

By (Political Science and Government., Western Washington University) - 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?
My French skills improved, my self-confidence and independence grew, I made new friends, and I fell in love with French food and the culture.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 1 month - 6 months

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

I found my classes were all in lecture format and less interesting. However, my French improved dramatically, so something must have been going well!

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

CEA has the BEST program administration in Aix. They were there for us in every way, we all adored them.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I stayed with a homestay where I learned a lot about the culture and ate fabulous French meals. I do wish I had been more integrated into the family, but I think that is difficult to find for a semester student.

* Food:

France has the best food in the world, Aix in particular has a great food scene, and my host mom was an amazing cook. If you have any appreciation for food, go to France!

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I was only there for a semester and my French was not good enough to take classes at the French university. Best way to integrate yourself: do tons of activities, meet people in bars, and avoid Americans when you can!

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

Aix is the safest city I have ever lived in.

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)

With a host family, I rarely HAD to buy food. It's very easy to budget around your traveling and live cheaply in Aix.

Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Pack lunches whenever possible, don't go on shopping sprees, take cheap flights, drink wine.

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

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Intermediate
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 301.
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? Make French friends, be outgoing and assertive and French people will make time for you.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • Host Family
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • 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?
  • Food
  • My friends
  • The beauty of Provence
* What could be improved?
  • More challenging/better classes
  • More ways to meet French students
  • More encouragement for speaking French
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? It's a beautiful time of your life, enjoy every minute of it and don't worry about the future (yet).

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 Networker
An active student leader, it was important for you to network abroad as well. Once overseas, you sought out student clubs, volunteered with local organizations, or attended community events. You encouraged your friends join you, and often considered how you could reflect your international experiences in a resume.