I want to become a permanent resident of Paris. Past Review

By (Texas A&M University - College Station) - abroad from 01/25/2016 to 05/28/2016 with

CEA: Paris, France

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned way more than I could ever imagine. Not only did I learn the language, culture, and history of France and more specifically Paris, but I learned what I want for myself now. I went to Paris as a senior and didn't have too much direction, but I know now what I expect from my future job, the people who I'll be wanting to be around, and the person who I want to be. It's way more than living in a foreign country, it's growing as a person.

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.

The class work load varied class by class, but every professor had very high expectations for the students in the best way. They understood that we were out of our comfort zone and made the classes very hands on filled with field trips and other activities that didn't involve sitting in a classroom.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The faculty in Paris were definitely present anytime you needed them and for whatever reason. They made their number one priority the students no matter what else was going on. Much of the staff lived thirty minutes outside of the city center of Paris, but if you needed their help, they would come assist you with any major issues that you had. There was a 24/7 emergency hotline that any student could call and reach a staff member regardless of the time of day/night.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I chose to live in the dorms in Paris, and personally, that was my downfall. I thought living in the apartments would leave me with no other friends except for my one roommate, but I quickly found out that living with three other students in one room was a bit too crowded for me. All of my other friends chose to live in the apartments/studios and I was envious of them because of how much they loved the apartments.

* Food:

It's Paris. You will not find any better food in the world than in Paris. Rotisserie chicken, any and all of the breakfast breads or pastries, the desserts at the end of dinner. You name it and it's good in Paris.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Even though Paris is one of the most visited cities in the world, it never quite felt like I was surrounded by tourists. I was able to walk the streets and speak with the local bakers on my way to class feeling like I was a Parisian, and by the end of the semester, I became regulars at a couple of restaurants and bars. I truly consider Paris my second home.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

During one night out, a glass broke in my hand and sliced my finger open which led to a trip to the emergency room. However, I went to a pediatric hospital where, instead of treating my cut that required stitches and sending me on my way, the nurse told me that I needed to call a cab and go to the adult emergency room. Once my Uber driver dropped me off at the adult hospital, I had to wait three hours to be seen by a doctor, and by that time, all he could do was glue my finger shut.

* Safety:

Because I arrived two and a half months after the November terrorist attacks, Paris felt like the safest place on earth. There was very strong police presence and I never experienced a time where I felt unsafe.

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

There really was nothing about the program that I could complain about. Everything was absolutely amazing.

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 is a very expensive city and we did cook almost every night, but that was partly because we also wanted to spend our money on traveling rather than going out to eat every night. We ate out for dinner about once or twice a week and then ate cheap ($5.50) lunches.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $200
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Go to the grocery store/market every day and buy fresh veggies/fruit. They're cheaper than processed food in Paris.

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

Every staff member would speak to you in French until they noticed that you had absolutely no clue what they were saying for every day conversation.

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Advanced
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Fluent
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? Advanced Oral Expression
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? Speak French to every local at first. If you can't think of how to say something, then ask the person who you're talking to if they speak English. If they don't, use context clues.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* 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?

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Food
  • People
  • Proximity to other countries
* What could be improved?
  • It could be cheaper
  • N/A
  • N/A
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Just how expensive the country is. I knew it was expensive but it still caught me off guard.

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.'