France: Watch Out for Those Pastries Past Review

By (Communications and Psychology, University of Michigan - Ann Arbor) for

CEA: Paris, France

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Study abroad was one of the best experiences I have had. I got to travel all around Europe, learn about immersing myself in a new culture and was even able to take classes that were not offered at my home institution. I was already planning on working internationally in the future, but studying abroad confirmed my thoughts.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 1 month - 6 months

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

I thought CEA was the perfect balance between work and play. While the classes were not too intensive they did give weekly assignments that did build up at times. The classes were much easier though than my home university and I enjoyed having the time to take classes that interested me and not be overly stressed with work. CEA was very strict with their attendance policy. CEA also did a great job of teaching outside the classroom. My french class did many cultural visits including Comedie Francais and an outing to see a French film. WIth my other classes we also did many museum visits.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

CEA was unbelievably available and helpful. They checked in on me to make sure everything was getting done efficiently.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

My host family was fantastic. She gave us the right amount of privacy, but also was willing to converse often and help us where we needed. She was extremely generous and welcoming. I had a great experience. It did really help that I had a roommate from my program because in the beginning living with a host family can be isolating and hinder your adjustment.

* Food:

I requested no seafood and the program has been extremely accommodating as well as my host family.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

CEA was fantastic about organizing outings and excursions. We went to Bruges, Loire Valley, Giverny and Rambouillet. They were very organized and I enjoyed every trip.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

Anytime I ever had any medical problem, CEA would immediately make me a doctor's appointment. Both doctors I saw during my time here spoke english, which made me more comfortable since my french level may not have been high enough to explain my problems.

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

Language acquisition improvement?

If you want to improve your language skills you have to force yourself. You need to find a balance between hanging out with Americans students and French students because if you don't you will find yourself stuck in routine of not speaking french. Most people in CEA did speak English unfortunately, so at school I did not have enough French practice. You can practice language in your everyday life and try and meet french students who may be in your classes.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Other

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Host-family set up
  • Balance between work and travel
  • The Staff
* What could be improved?
  • More culturally immersing activities
  • Metro pass factored into program cost
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Don't let yourself get caught up with being an American student in France. Try and become a French student living in France as best as possible. You will get the most out of the experience if you learn the language and try and adapt to the culture.