Living in Paris Cannot be Described in Words Past Review

By (Film, Augsburg College) for

CEA: Paris, France

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I came back from Paris a different person. Not drastically different, but different nonetheless. I was scared of this concept before I left, but it's truly a change for the better. Living in Paris, even if only for a semester, is a lasting experience. As corny as it sounds, it'll get inside, and it doesn't go away after coming home.

Personal Information

If you took classes at multiple universities, list those universities here: CEA Global Campus, Universitie Paris Sorbonne
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.

I was enrolled at the Sorbonne, which was an excellent experience for trying to truly work on my french skills. It was a pretty heavy workload, I spent three hours per day in Grammer and Phonetics classes, and had class five days per week. I also took a class on CEA's global campus, when combined with the Sorbonne classes it is quite a lot of class per day, however I felt I got a through overhaul of my french skills, and got to leave france with a course completion certificate from The Sorbonne, which is a fun perk.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The people were great. There isn't much more to say. They were very caring, joyous people who had our best interests at heart from the very beginning. Not enough good things can be said about the people running this program.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The international foyer is the place to be. You will be with people from all over the world and of a similar age to you, French will be the common language (though most of the people from Europe also know English) and it's the best way to form lasting friendships.

* Food:

It's Paris. If you don't like the food here, you're hopeless.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

The only negative social aspect about this program is leaving. It's emotionally damaging to say goodbye to some of the closest friends you've ever had, but the experiences leading up to that point are worth it in every way.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

Paris is pretty safe, especially for men. However, it's still an urban environment and there is crime. Don't go out alone at night, and don't make yourself vulnerable. It's mostly common sense, if you have it, you'll be okay.

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)

Language

* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
Language acquisition improvement?

I practiced my language thoroughly in classes at the Sorbonne. CEA also introduced me to several French students who I was able to go see shows, get drinks with, etc.. on a regular basis. I also lived in an international foyer where French was the common language, so I also was able to practice with Spaniards, Germans, Brazilians, etc. However, I would warn that if improving your language skills is your primary motivation, Paris is not the best place to be in France. It is very much a city filled with tourists, and english is the common language. It's very difficult to speak French at restaurants or in stores, as most of the time it's easier for them to speak English to you rather than decipher what you are saying. Paris is great for the culture, and the ability to practice a decent amount of French. But to really master the language (or even be fluent) it would be best to choose a smaller town outside of Paris where English is less commonly spoken.

If applicable, to what degree did your living situation aid your language acquisition?

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • International Students

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • The Social and Cultural experiences offered.
* What could be improved?
  • More opportunities to speak French.
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Paris is above all an extremely rewarding social and cultural experience. If that is what you are looking for, you will benefit greatly from this program. You will be able to practice your French, but will be disappointed with how much English you actually find yourself speaking on a daily basis. It will be a fantastic experience, and you will make a lot of truly great friends, just be sure to be open to everything and anything. If you try to control it, you will be disappointed. If you're willing to just go with the flow, you will be changed for the better.