10/10 Would Recommend Past Review

By (French Language, Literature, Iowa State University) - abroad from 05/19/2015 to 06/20/2015 with

CEA: Aix-en-Provence, France

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I can't put into words everything I learned and gained from this experience. To name some, I learned a lot about the French language and culture in Aix and surrounding cities, learned how to assimilate into a foreign culture, gained a lot of new friends, and had experiences that I will remember forever. It was definitely worthwhile, and, like the title says, would recommend 10/10.

Review Photos

CEA: Aix-en-Provence, France Photo CEA: Aix-en-Provence, France Photo CEA: Aix-en-Provence, France Photo CEA: Aix-en-Provence, France Photo CEA: Aix-en-Provence, France Photo

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.

The university did a great job of evaluating student's skills and placing them in the correct level so they could succeed while still learning new material. The classes were difficult but the professors were amazing at working with students to help them succeed and at explaining topics in different ways so everyone was able to understand.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Vivienne and Nancy were outstanding. They scheduled a lot of fun and interesting activities and excursions for us and were always incredibly helpful. Any time we needed anything they always made themselves available and were willing to help us with everything. They would even help us set up and plan activities on our own that weren't sponsored by CEA. In addition, they planned a lot of activities during the first week to help us get to know Aix-en-Provence and the other students while at the same time keeping us busy so we could assimilate into the French culture and avoid homesickness and culture shock.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The apartment was a lot bigger than I imagined it would be and had all the essentials in it. However, I would have enjoyed more of a kitchen as we cooked for ourselves.

* Food:

Living in an apartment, we cooked for ourselves, however the selection of food was amazing. There was a farmer's market every morning we could shop at as well as 3 grocery stores and an assortment of boulangeries, patisseries, and charcuteries all within a 10 minute walk. When we did eat out, the food was always amazing.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Aix-en-Provence is a great little city in southern France that is very student oriented. This, along with Vivienne and Nancy's hard work and my classes, really helped me integrate into the culture quickly. After not even one week, I felt like a resident and not a visitor. I also felt like I could easily interact with the permanent residents and even started to be recognized by the staff and some places we frequented.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I didn't experience a health care issue, but the staff on site addressed all the potential problems the first full day we were there and made sure we knew what resources were available for any problem that could occur. In addition, they also addressed mental health issues and made sure we had resources available and knew about them as well.

* Safety:

Aix is a very safe city and not once did I feel unsafe, even walking home at 5 in the morning from the clubs. The streets are very well-lit at night and I never felt unsafe walking by myself at any time of the day or night. Still, I would recommend walking with another person late at night just because it's a smart idea in case anything were to happen.

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 - I could have lived easier than I did while I was there. We went out to eat more than we needed to as we were too lazy to cook a lot of the time. If we would have cooked I could have lived on less than $50/week most likely.

Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Make a budget before you leave for each week and stick to it. With that being said, leave "extra" money in your budget each week for spontaneous or additional expenses you might incur.

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? 300-level at a University
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? Use the language as much as possible. Speak to as many people as possible in the language you are learning and read, write, listen to podcasts and the radio, watch movies and TV shows, all in the language you are learning. This will reinforce everything you are learning in your classes and make them easier.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
* 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?
  • The people
  • The activities and excursions
  • The food
* What could be improved?
  • Bigger kitchen in the apartments
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I would have known to start immersing myself in the language before hand to give myself a better background before classes began.

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 Avid Adventurer
The wardrobe you packed was better suited for a semester of camping than club hopping. Outdoorsy, you might forgo a crazy night out for an early all-day adventure. You'd rather take in the rich culture of an old town than the metropolis of a modern city, but for you getting off the grid is ideal.