My study abroad experience in France Past Review

By (International Studies, Soka University of America) - abroad from 01/05/2015 to 04/18/2015 with

CEA: Aix-en-Provence, France

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Mental and probably physical strength Flexibility Communication skills Scheduling skills Language skills

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.

I was lucky to have a professor who gave me a lot of writing assignments and opportunities to speak in French. In the beginning I thought my level was too difficult, but at the end I became able to understand almost everything that the professor said in French thanks to the intensive academic program!

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

CEA program staff was really helpful and nice! I have never met such a nice group of people before. What I really miss in France is actually staff, not the country... I strongly recommend CEA to those interested in studying abroad.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I started with home staying and ended up moving out. The CEA staff noticed that I was not comfortable although I myself was not sure or courageous enough to admit that. They immediately arranged an apartment where I lived happily ever after - without the arrangement, I would have been able to finish the program.

* Food:

I did not like French food.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Although I participated in cultural activities and made some French local friends I did not feel culturally integrated well. But I am used to being a foreigner and it was not a big deal.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I did not get into any health issues.

* Safety:

When I heard my neighbor got his purse stolen I was very worried. But I didn't get in any trouble, and I understand - in France that happens.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? No

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)

I wanted to travel so I spent a lot for traveling while spending as little as possible for food.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? Not sure and different each month but maybe $500+
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Cook, don't go out to eat

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

My professors did not like American students speaking in English and I was forced to speak French which was good

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? Intermediate
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? French grammar and conversation 300
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? Be friend with language professors

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

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

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
  • N/A
* 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?
  • Intensive language courses
  • CEA staff
  • Living alone in an appartment
* What could be improved?
  • Selection/matching host family
  • Aix was too noisy
  • Opportunities to make friends with locals
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I cannot be ready enough I probably should have studied abroad in fall which was what I originally assigned

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!