The experience of a lifetime! Past Review

By (Northern Illinois University) - abroad from 09/15/2015 to 06/03/2016 with

CEA: Paris, France

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Besides the language component I think I have become a very independent person. Living in a foreign city without any friends takes you out of your comfort zone and makes you grow up pretty fast. Once I accepted that, I made friends easily and accepted the culture with open arms.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 6 months+

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

Amazing teachers and small class sizes to give you a real one on one experience!

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

According to my friends who chose to have apartments, they all wish they had chosen a host family like I did. It's the best way to be fully immersed!

* Food:

It's Paris, need I say more?

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

You have to make an effort. American culture is very different from the French. As long as you keep an open mind and learn to adapt you will fall in love as I have.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

During the horrible attacks of Nov 13, CEA took every step possible to ensure all of our safety. I was very impressed with how they handled the situation and feel very comfortable continuing my stay in Paris.

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)

Paris can be expensive so make sure you save up/take out a loan. But honestly, I would take out 10 loans to live here longer!

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? Around 100 euro, but I like to go out to experience the culture!
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Small cafés, bistros and boulangeries for lunches/dinners in NON TOURIST AREAS! If you go to the Champs Elysées for lunch you will spend an arm and a leg for your meal. Frequent the places in your neighborhood or near your school and you'll start to get to know the local scene--how the real French live.

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

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Intermediate
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Advanced
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? 300 level language and writing class
How many hours per day did you use the language? 10+
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? Going out to bars and restaurants and talking to strangers. If your shy like I am I know this sounds terrifying but I have met some really great friends that way and its the ONLY way to really put your language skills to use.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* 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 immersion aspect
  • cultural events for students
  • day trips to other cities
* What could be improved?
  • Nothing!
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? The language can be difficult if you don't have at least some knowledge of French. Parisians in particular speak really fast use a lot of slang. It can be hard to keep up at first but don't get frustrated it does get better!

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.'