CEA Paris: I would do it all over again without changing a single thing! Past Review

By (Business Administration, California State University - Fullerton) for

CEA: Paris, France

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
One of the main things I got out of my study abroad experience which I utilize now in everyday life is working with diverse personalities. While I was abroad, I met students from other countries who spoke more than two languages so I felt I was exposed to a diverse set of cultures from all around the world, which I would never have had the opportunity to do elsewhere.

Personal Information

If you took classes at multiple universities, list those universities here: American Business School of Paris, University of Paris IV (La Sorbonne)
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.

The French grading system at the University of Paris, where I took my french classes, was very different from the American grading system of A - F. The French use from 1 - 20, with 20 being the highest and it is commonly known that a 20 is very difficult to obtain. An above average grade would be above a 15 or 16. I had my French classes everyday. Either I went to the grammar class or the phonetics lab. The total units for the French class was 10. Surprisingly, I wasn't at the lowest beginner level as I thought. I self-studied about a month prior to arriving in Paris and was at the beginning intermediary level. At the American Business School of Paris, the grading system, teaching methods, and workload was similar to the American educational system. I found that the business courses I took were challenging as they were upper division. It was a rewarding experience overall.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The administration handled the orientation and excursions very well. I truly enjoyed that the office contained additional educational as well as leisure resources such as: reading books, traveling guides, and a computer lab. If I could do the study abroad program again, I would definitely go with CEA again!

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The safety at the hostel could improve, but since we had been warned about pick pocketers in Paris, I was very conscious of my surroundings. One time, a stranger walked into our hostel room pretending to be a housekeeper, when I was in the room by myself. He wasn't wearing a uniform like the two cleaning ladies wore, so I immediately knew that he wasn't telling the truth about who he was, and that he wanted me to get out of my room to steal something. After he realized that I wasn't leaving the room, he left and I later heard that he stoled a wallet. I remember that he asked me where the broom was and that was a giveaway because I told him that it was at the end of the hallway. If he had been a housekeeper then he would have known where the cleaning supplies are kept. From this experience, I learned to ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS lock your room, even if you're leaving for a few hours! Everything else as far as safety, aesthetics, proximity to class and hightlife were excellent! What helped me make this an enjoyable experience was that I made some really good friends while in Paris and they made me feel safe and secure. I would love to do this all over again. Grocery shopping is highly recommended if you are on a tight budget. I found that food wasn't expensive if you prepared it and luckily our hostel had a kitchen available with cookware. The staff at the hostel were absolutely welcoming and totally friendly. I believe this is why I felt safe, with the exception of the stranger walking into my room, the staff at the BVJ hostel in Paris located at the 5th district - Latin Quarter- rocks!!! Breakfast is also included in the price.

* Food:

It's Paris! The food was the best I had ever tasted!

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

The excursions to the Loire Valley, the Normandie Beaches and WWI memorial, and Bordeaux are great places to visit outside of Paris. I actually learned a lot about American history while attending these excursions.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

There was only one safety incident which I addressed under the housing satisfaction section.

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)

Language

* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
Language acquisition improvement?

I used the language in everyday interactions. Before arriving to Paris, France, I had only taken French in high school which had been about 8 years since I decided to visit this beautiful country. Taking the oral and written exams were a bit intimidating but it challenged me to learn the language and be able to communicate while I was abroad. From my encounters, everyone spoke French, so I would only speak English with my roommate.

If applicable, to what degree did your living situation aid your language acquisition?

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Hostel
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • That they provide multiple events to meet new people, practice the language, and get the most out of the experience.
* What could be improved?
  • The price of the international business program was the highest among the other programs of study.
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Save lots of money!! Especially, if you intend on traveling to other European countries. The type of person who would benefit the most is a person who is both curious and passionate about the Parisian lifestyle and culture. If you don't like anything Parisian, including the people, you probably won't enjoy it. Also, if you are not a flexible person as far as blending with the French you will also not enjoy it. The reason is that the French don't really show much as much expressions or feelings towards strangers and even more so when an American doesn't value their traditions, cultures, and country. They don't wear T-shirts or dress down jeans.