Paris in Reflection Past Review

By (Undecided, University of Wisconsin - LaCrosse) for

CEA: Paris, France

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
This was a new program, which explains my rating for the Home Institution Advising Overall. They only had a small idea of what this program would be like, which is of no fault to them. That was one of the most interesting parts of this trip. We had a lot of open time and options so we could make decisions for ourselves or as a group. I was already planning on pursuing a minor in International Studies or Business, and this trip just furthered that plan.

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.

I wasn't enrolled in a foreign university, however I feel that when it came to experiencing another culture, all I did while I was in France was have new cultural experiences.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

One of the leaders knew some French which was very helpful, but seemed to get frustrated easily and the other leader knew basically no French. If we ever split up as a group, it was very difficult to get things accomplished if it required us talking to a French speaking person.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Because we were in a country that spoke another language, it was very comforting to be able to speak english in the dorms. The housing was in a really good neighborhood it seemed. There was a park right across the street, the metro station was less than a block away, and the dorm was in a beautiful campus. There weren't many places to grab food right outside the dorm or near the dorm, so I found myself using the vending machines a few times. However, the vending machines had sandwiches, coffee, croissants, and many other options so it wasn't like eating from the vending machine was a negative experience.

* Food:

I absolutely loved France's food. There were bakeries and restaurants everywhere, and I can say honestly, I never experienced food that was of a bad quality or taste. I know one of the leaders was vegetarian so she had a few struggles finding food at some of the places we ate at, but for the most part it seemed to go smoothly for my experience at least.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Everything. I loved just walking around the city on my own and also all the different tours and excursions we went on.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

I got very sick on the trip which caused me to miss a few days when we had no tours for our program, but had stuff planned as a group. There was a pharmacy a few blocks from the dorm that I went to get medicine from. I would recommend that future students know a few words for cold or sick so that if they get sick they can have an easier conversation with a store worker than I did. Also, when the people at CEA learned about me being sick, they offered up how to make a doctors appointment and were extremely faccommodating.

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

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
  • Local Students

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • walking around the city
  • the CEA staff, and the excursions they planned
* What could be improved?
  • Leaders knowing more french
  • more structure
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Learn about Paris history before you go, and learn some basic French before you go. Also, pack clothes for cold weather and no tennis shoes!