The trip that made me realize how necessary globe-trotting is. Past Review

By (Sound for Film, Columbia College Chicago) - abroad from 08/27/2012 to 12/21/2012 with

CEA: Paris, France

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I definitely gained a sense of the kind of person that I am and want to be. Not to sound cheesy, but it really did clue me into myself. I always had the idea in my head that I wanted to travel and that I would love doing it. Paris clarified that I do enjoy traveling and I want to do it as often as possible. Going somewhere that you know absolutely no one is no longer crazy nerve wracking to me. It was worthwhile for sure.

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.

There were plenty of resources as the campus comes equipped with a computer lab downstairs. I learned a great deal about French Culture in these courses. Remaining focused was a challenge though. The only aspect I would complain about would be what some of the teachers expected of students. Take your courses pass/fail!

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

I've never been around more helpful people. There wasn't one person in this administration I felt like I couldn't have an hour long conversation with. They really are interested in making your time in Paris the best possible.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I lived at AEPP and met most of my friends here. It houses several international students and it is incredibly easy to have a good time while living here. People do complain about the cleanliness factor, the size of the rooms, and communal showers, but if you can ignore these aspects, you will not find a better place to live. The rooms may be small, but it is designed to keep you from sitting in your room all day. It is only messy because of the amount of students living here. Open up a little! AEPP made it nearly impossible for me to feel homesick.

* Food:

Whenever people told me that Paris was expensive, I typically brushed it off as an overreaction. When I got there, I found that I was WRONG. Everything is basically double the price. So be prepared to eat a lot of pasta and or to spend a great deal of money on food. Whenever I did buy food it was delicious. The Vietnamese food in France is outstanding and relatively affordable. AEPP also provided baguettes and jam for the morning.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

There were definitely times in the beginning where I felt I stood out as American to people, but you definitely start to develop the mannerisms of the French culture after a while.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I went to the doctor twice while in Paris. CEA provides you with an insurance company. If you have to go to the doctor and or buy medical supplies, you use your own money. After you have the receipt for the doctor and the medicine you send it to the company. The company then reimburses you for what you spent.

* Safety:

I felt safe after about a month. I think it is natural to feel a bit uneasy at first. I didn't get mugged and I didn't get pick pocketed. I listened to my iPod on the metro, but I also kept an eye out on my surroundings. I didn't go out late in the night alone. As long as you keep an eye out and have friends around you during the night, everything should be fine.

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)

It was a challenge. There is so much to buy and so little time.

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

They wanted us to use the language. There was much encouragement.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • Americans
  • International Students
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
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 Staff
  • My Living Situation
  • Culture/People I met in France
* What could be improved?
  • The Description of Courses and how they are taught prior to signing up.
  • More Scholarship Oppurtunities
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish that I understood more about American Politics and policies before I left for France. Surprisingly, I learned just as much about French culture as I did about American Culture.