The greatest adventure of my life! Past Review

By (Political Science and Government., Miami University) - abroad from 05/28/2013 to 06/29/2013 with

CEA: Aix-en-Provence, France

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I gained so much from my study abroad experience. I gained a sense of freedom and independence that I never knew before that I believe you can only get from completely throwing yourself outside your comfort zone. I learned I was way more self-sufficient than I ever thought I could be. Normally I am very clingy to my family and friends but being abroad shattered that. I feel like I can rely on myself way more.

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.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

* Food:

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

Aix is extremely safe! I never once felt uncomfortable walking alone, even late at night.

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)

2.5 - $100/week - live with a honestly you'll spend less on food and other things like laundry, utilities, etc.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? I'd say less than 40 € for food and I spent quite a bit on traveling...probably close to 1000 US dollars to go to Paris and to Italy. However if you plan ahead it would be much cheaper. Since the program was only 5 weeks long I didn't have the chance to do this so I spent a lot on train and plane tickets. Lastly, I spent around 200€ on gifts and souvenirs. I had friends who spent way more because they bought everyone they know something. My advise is to just shop for you immediate family (mom, dad, brother/sister) and then maybe your best friend and/or significant. Make a list and don't deviate from it, you'll save a lot of money and time that way.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? (See above) don't eat out every night, plan ahead when traveling (try companies like Ryan Air or Easy jet for cheap flights), make a gift list ahead of time, don't go crazy clothes shopping especially at places we have in the US...save a lot before you leave. I was a server at a restaurant and saved all my tips for 6 months to give myself some extra spending money. If you can do something similar, I advise doing so.

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? 4 college semester and 3 years in high school
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? Go out and put yourself in situations where you're forced to use your language of study. If someone tries to speak English with you just keep on trying with the native language in as many situations as possible.

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

  • Local Students
  • 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?
  • I like that my weeks were filled with so many different activities. I never had a chance to get homesick because I was so busy. I also liked that my weekends were open so that I had the option to travel.
  • My program director was the most amazing person. You could go to her with any question/problem and she would sit with you no matter how long it took to figure out.
* What could be improved?
  • Nothing it was awesome!
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Nothing. I have no complaints.

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 Nearly Native or Trail Blazer
Craving the most authentic experience possible, perhaps you lived with a host family or really got in good with the locals. You may have felt confined by your program requirements and group excursions. Instead, you'd have preferred to plan your own trips, even skipping class to conduct your own 'field work.'