Huge learning experience Past Review

By (PSYCHOLOGY., Indiana University - Bloomington) - abroad from 01/14/2013 to 05/08/2013 with

CEA: Paris, France

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
It taught me to fend for myself, be independent, and truly not take anything for granted.

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.

This program is extremely helpful from Day 1. As soon as I applied, I had all my questions answered and felt very comfortable. From the moment we were picked up at the airport, to the last goodbye, I knew I was in good hands. CEA is very caring and does everything possible for you to have the best experience.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Helene, Chris, and AC, and Devon were absolutely the JOY of coming to school each morning. They truly felt like the family I needed while being abroad. I could ask any questions and they never made me feel silly. I even had a minor passport emergency on my way back to the US and Devon met me at the school at 6am to help resolve it on her holiday. Unbelievable crew.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Definitely a whole lot smaller than what I expected... but thats Paris. Its just a difference in culture. Our " studio apartment" was truly the size of a small bedroom with a bathroom. The kitchen was a microwave, mini fridge, sink and a stove top. Its certainly a shock, but absolutely and completely livable.

* Food:

Who doesnt like French food? Although eating out can be exorbitantly expensive sometimes. I took great advantage of living a true independent life and utilized the grocery stores. I cooked at home almost every night, minus a few special occasions.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

As americans, it is so tough to be completely integreted. We were simply raised differently. You will go through phases in terms of how "blended in" you will want to be or care to be. The main point is to not offend nor disrespect the host culture. Do not feel like you are a guest, but rather an intruder. This humble attitude is one that American tourists often forget, and are therefore met with stern or "rude" interactions with the locals. The faster you understand the locals, the easier integrating will be.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I never had any health issues to address!

* Safety:

Just be smart. Keep your wits about yourself. I did not get pick-pocketed, not harassed, but I know several who did. Simply holding an iphone can make you into a target. If you keep a low profile and stay alert, there is no reason to be afraid. I would also like to note that the great majority of my peers' incidents happened after they had been drinking. Drunks are fabulous targets.

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)

ROUGH. Even being as frugal as possible, I felt like I had to plan where ever euro I spent was going to go, otherwise I would have run out of money. DO NOT go to Paris without a minimum of $6,000 to spend, especially if you plan to travel.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $300
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Eat at home as much as possible. Make sandwiches as a bagged lunch. Dont plan on going out to party like we do in the US... those drink can run $15 a piece.

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

Because the classes were in English, I felt like there wasnt too much pressure on learning the language. However, the staff would always speak to you in French if you wanted to!

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Beginner
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Intermediate
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? F250
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? Listen to the people speaking on the streets and try to understand as much as possible. Even try to repeat what they said as you walk away!

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

  • Americans
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with? 0

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • The weekly raffles!
  • The fairwell surprise!
  • The tips and pamphlets at the office!
* What could be improved?
  • Difficulty and expectations of class content
  • Spring Break in the middle, not the end
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I had saved more money! It sounds silly, but you cant enjoy things as easily when youre constantly worried about how much things cost.

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 Nearly Native or Trail Blazer
Craving the most authentic experience possible, perhaps you lived with a host family or really got in good with the locals. You may have felt confined by your program requirements and group excursions. Instead, you'd have preferred to plan your own trips, even skipping class to conduct your own 'field work.'