The Most Challenging and Rewarding Thing I've Ever Experienced Past Review

By (French, Journalism, University of South Carolina - Columbia) - abroad from 09/18/2013 to 06/07/2014 with

CEA: Paris, France

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
So far, I've learned a lot about French, a lot about Parisian culture, and even more about myself, and my ability to adapt to an independent life in a foreign country.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 2 weeks - 1 month

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

ICP is great! Lots of fun courses that have greatly improved my French . It's also nice to go to a school where French students are together with international students for clubs and other social events.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Everyone at the CEA Paris office is really friendly and helpful!

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Really ugly building, not-so-great neighborhood, many things broken upon arrival

* Food:

It's Paris sooooo the food will always be delicious...

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I fractured my thumb, and the medical resources provided were useful and effective.

* Safety:

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes


* 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)

Paris is expensive. I could not have come on this trip without the help of my parents, and just eating normal food twice a day comes out to more than $130 a week.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? On a good week, around $130. On a pricey week, about $200
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? If you really, REALLY want to save money, don't go to Paris. Unless you eat only once a day or something.


* 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

All of my classes are in French, and the advisors speak French with the students on a regular basis.

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? Intermediate III
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? Try to live in a row-tourism area, and sign up for as many clubs as possible with French-speaking students and/or guaranteed French conversation.

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

  • International Students
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 excursions
  • The school (ICP)
  • The friends I've made
* What could be improved?
  • The housing, for sure
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? 1. Start the Visa process before you're born. Seriously, lots can go wrong with that. 2. Start the metro process before leaving the US, as well. 3. Don't leave any of your scarves behind.

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.'