An Experience of a Lifetime Past Review

By (Valparaiso University) - abroad from 01/21/2013 to 05/26/2013 with

Central College Abroad: Study Abroad in Paris

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned that I can successfully find my way around a big city. My French improved so much, and I learned a lot about myself overall. It was such an amazing semester, and I wish I could do it all over again.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? None

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The classes were just demanding enough. I didn't receive too much homework, but then I had to take more tests and give a lot of presentations. The professors were very helpful at the Institut Catholique, and I really enjoyed going there. One thing I did not like was that we did not take classes with French students, but there were many other ways to immerse myself in the language outside of the classroom.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

I could not praise the program director, Shelley, enough! She is so sweet and friendly and provided me with all of the help I could ever need during my semester abroad.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I really loved the foyer that I was assigned to. It was just like I requested before I arrived: small and outside of the center of Paris. I lived in a small foyer in the 14th district with about 30 girls. We shared a kitchen and did not have a curfew (unlike the other foyers that the program offers).

* Food:

My foyer did not come with a meal plan, so I had to cook for myself. Thankfully, I did not have to cook every night because Paris is full of wonderful food. A grocery store and a bakery were just around the corner from my foyer, so I could run outside to grab something to eat really easily. The croissants, crepes, and fresh baked baguettes are the things I will miss the most!

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

The program gave me so many opportunities to interact with the French. The one thing that made me feel really integrated was the mandatory service learning. I was very nervous at first to help middle schoolers with their English homework, but by the last day, I was sad to leave everyone. The experience helped me learn to adapt to uncomfortable situations and to communicate in French more easily.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

Paris is a pretty safe city. I never ran into any dangerous situations by myself or with my friends. I felt comfortable walking around by myself, even at night. The only thing you have to deal with if you're a girl is getting hit on by guys on the street.

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 an expensive city, especially when it comes to food. It just depends on how many times you go out each week and where you go. If you eat in a lot or go to inexpensive places, it's not that hard to eat cheaply.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $40
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Plan your vacations ahead of time. It'll save you a lot of money! Also, cook your meals in your foyer.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • Americans
  • International Students
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • 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?
  • My program director
  • The location
  • My dorm
* What could be improved?
  • The lack of group excursions
  • Pre-departure support from Central College
  • Not having classes with French students
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I knew how much effort I was going to have to put into it. I had no idea that it was going to be so challenging, but I am so grateful that it was.

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 Academic or Linguist
You went abroad with specific academic goals in mind; the program credentials and rigor of your coursework abroad were very important to you. You had a great time abroad, but never lost sight of your studies and (if applicable) were diligent with your foreign language study. Good for you!