The international city, Paris Past Review

By (International Relations and French, Austin College) - abroad from 01/20/2014 to 05/23/2014 with

Central College Abroad: Study Abroad in Paris

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I really enjoyed my semester abroad and would do it all over again, or course I might do some things differently, not that I know what to do.

Review Photos

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Personal Information

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.

I really enjoyed having an immersion course before I actually enrolled in my course at the Institut Catholique de Paris.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The program Director was very helpful in many different ways, if there was something we were interested in outside of our classes, she was always there to suggest something and even contact them on our behalf. I had a rough few weeks at the beginning and she knew this too, she would always check up on me and it made me feel like she truly cared to know how well I was adjusting to being abroad.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I loved the option of having a host family, and it was definitely an experience. I had studied abroad the previous semester in Switzerland and my host family there was absolutely amazing, so I guess I was expecting a family like them. My host family in Paris were great, but I had a host brother around the same age, and I felt more like a babysitter to him, because my host mom would ask me what all happened over the weekend if she went traveling or tell me things he was allowed to do or not do.

* Food:

It's France come on!! I had a fantastic time roaming around Paris and trying all different types of food. I was exploring near where I live and found a little burrito place, I heard Spanish and saw Mexico's flag, it was amazing Mexican food, and whenever I was homesick I went there.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I definitely feel I was able to become a part of the culture there, I did some volunteer work as well as an internship, so I was around a lot of French people. I was even invited to a dinner with people I volunteer with, and enjoyed spending the evening with them.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I had a some problems with my back for a few weeks and even had to have a doctor come to where I was staying (I was traveling with the Program and staying in a hostel). The director was very helpful to me and helped me call a doctor and go get medicine with me. I was surprised at some of the medicine that you didn't have to have prescription for, as well as being able to tell the pharmacist what was wrong and they knew what to get me.

* Safety:

I felt safe just about every where I was. Of course you do get those random catcalls from weird guys, but I learned to just keep walking and brush them off. If you use your common sense while being out and about then you will be fine.

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)

I did live with a host family and had some meals with them, 4 days a week. I didn't go all out with every meal, but I wasn't going to starve myself with just a baguette and cheese, but it isn't impossible to find good food for a reasonable price.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? 50 euros a week was what I typically budgeted, but sometimes I would want certain things so it would go up a little.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Don't buy everything you see right off the bat, wait a few weeks and buy things over the whole time you are there. I had a conversation with a French shop owner, in French, and a little English, and she reduce the price by 10 euros. She said since I was here in France as a student and was learning French, and spoke with her in French that I deserved it. This happened in the middle of my semester after I felt as if my French had gotten a lot better.


* 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

We were always encouraged to speak French. Our instructor primarily spoke French with us, the other students and I all practiced together, and during my internship I also spoke French.

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? I had the second semester of a 200 level French class at Austin College, but felt as if the class was more beginner than Intermediate by Fraance's standards.
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? Talk French with your fellow Students, with your host family, or people that live in the same dormitory as you. If you go out, speak French with the people you are around, and don't be too worried if you can't speak as well as them.

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 freedom that they gave us.
  • The central office that we could come to and hang out before class, or talk with the Director.
* What could be improved?
  • Important dates in the program, eg. breaks and holidays
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? When I first came into the program I was under the impression that you had a choice of doing a French internship or doing a community service/ volunteer thing while here. I thought you picked one or the other, but you had to be doing at least one of them. After arriving I found out that instead of having just the internship like I had planned, I would be doing both. It was a bit of work to handle those 2 things as well as school, but I managed and got to meet some very interesting people while being involved in both.

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!