Eye and Mind-Opening April 20, 2018

By (Birmingham-Southern College) - abroad from 01/19/2018 to 05/19/2018 with

CEPA Foundation: Strasbourg - EU Studies Semester Abroad Program

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
This was extremely worthwhile for me. I study political science at my home university and have always wanted to see how other political institutions work and how people interact with them. This program gave me that opportunity and much more. I was able to see the places I had written on my bucket list since I was young... my life has changed for the better.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 0-2 weeks

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

Unlike the other students, I participated in the Certificate of European Studies at the University of Strasbourg, IEP. While in class, the courses were intriguing, but out of class, there was not much work or intense studying required. Though this did not mean I was working a lot on coursework, this gave me more time to travel and explore Europe instead of worrying about homework.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Chateau de Pourtales is absolutely beautiful. I highly enjoyed living there and getting to explore the surrounding town, park, and the Chateau itself. The only issue was that the Chateau is quite a far ways from the city center (45 mins on a bus and tram). This limited the amount that I went downtown, but I was able to spend more time in nature at the Chateau itself this way instead of shopping or eating out (which I'm sure my parents liked too).

* Food:

Breakfast was included in this program, and it was very beneficial to be able to walk right downstairs to a fully served breakfast!

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Integration in Strasbourg happens when I made an effort to make it happen. As I mentioned earlier, it is easy to just stay at the Chateau and not go out to the city center and meet new people or experience things. I would say that we lived in a "Chateau Bubble," myself and the other Americans included in this. But, towards the middle to end of the semester, I started venturing out more and was able to meet new French/international people and feel a bit more integrated with the local culture. It also helps to know the history of Strasbourg before coming because they have an extremely interesting and complicated history.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

Perfect!!! During the first month I was here, I became ill and had to go to the local doctor. Our temporary program coordinator went with me and was able to translate everything for me! I am so thankful for this help because I never would have been able to get medicine and speak with a doctor by myself.

* Safety:

Very safe! I felt extemely safe walking aroudn Strasbourg at any given time of the day. Even walking by myself home (being a young woman) at night, I never felt threatened.

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

YES! I loved the support from the program, the people I met, and the experiences I was able to have during my time in Strasbourg.

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)

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? I allotted myself $45 a week to spend on groceries and other necessities. I usually spent under that on groceries, but often spent the rest on eating out (which wasn't necessary).
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? BUDGET!!! Set goals to save pre-trip and stick to them.

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? None
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Beginner
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? None
How many hours per day did you use the language?

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Hotel
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
* 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?
  • Traveling and seeing Europe
  • Meeting international friends
  • Exposure to new culture/mindsets
* What could be improved?
  • Easier traveling-- maybe assistance getting to major airports like a shuttle bus directly from the Chateau
  • More integration with local people/culture
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I did not know that Strasbourg is kind of difficult to travel from due to lack of international airports. So, before coming I wish I had known to budget for more travel-related expenses getting to and from the airports.

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 Avid Adventurer
The wardrobe you packed was better suited for a semester of camping than club hopping. Outdoorsy, you might forgo a crazy night out for an early all-day adventure. You'd rather take in the rich culture of an old town than the metropolis of a modern city, but for you getting off the grid is ideal.