An Aixperience to Remember! Past Review

By (Carthage College) - abroad from 01/06/2014 to 04/19/2014 with

CEA: Aix-en-Provence, France

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I definitely improved my French! It's so important to actually be immersed in a culture to learn the language. I learned how to be more independent, without the support of my family, and how to keep calm in difficult situations. I gained the most amazing group of friends. It's crazy to think that we didn't know one another before, and now we're inseparable, despite the geography between us. I got to see incredible monuments and architecture, as well as experience history. It was the best semester of my life!

Review Photos

CEA: Aix-en-Provence, France Photo

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 0-2 weeks

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

There was barely any homework (not that that's a bad thing) but I learned a lot. I especially liked my class on Provencal culture, which really helped me to understand the culture in which I was living.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

AMAZING! So helpful, supportive, and friendly! Mamma Viv and co. were always there whenever you needed anything! Whether you get locked out of your apartment (happened to me), you want to find something to do, or you need help finding a doctor, they're there to help, and they have incredibly useful advice!

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I lived in an apartment with other American (and one German) student. It was centrally located to town and school and it was gorgeous! However, I REALLY didn't get along with one of my roommates which detracted from an otherwise awesome place!

* Food:

French food is heavenly. I miss macarons so much!

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I made a lot of friends who I miss so much!

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I got sick and had to go to a doctor. The onsite staff were very accommodating, and made me an appointment quickly ad I was able to get the help I needed without issue.

* Safety:

Aix is a pretty safe city! You don't want to be out past 11 or 12 by yourself, especially by areas with bars, but with a friend, you have nothing to fear!

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)

Aix is the second most expensive city in France after Paris. However, if you shop at cheaper grocery stores like Dia or at the market, and if you don't eat out more than once or twice a week, you should be fine.

Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Cheap airlines and trains along with staying in hostels saved us a lot of money when we traveled. However, we had A LOT of problems with one cheap airline--Ryanair. Just be careful, and check to see if everything is correct at every step when you purchase your tickets. We stayed in hostels and used Air BnB when we traveled, which saved a lot of money.

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

It was hard because everyone had different levels of French. But we all tried our best, which is what really matters.

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? 3110
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? ALWAYS use the language when you speak to locals! Even if they speak back to you in English. It's ok to mess up. They appreciate any effort.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • International Students
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • International Students

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Onsite staff
  • Location
  • Excursion opportunites
* What could be improved?
  • Roommate match-up
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I knew more about traveling in Europe--about different modes of transportation and about how to pack lighter.

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!