Great experience and I'll do it again August 31, 2018

By (Truman State University) - abroad from 06/04/2018 to 07/06/2018 with

College Consortium for International Studies (CCIS): Annecy - Institut Français des Alpes

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned to be more relaxed and slow down and enjoy the moment. I learned to be more respectful of others and greeting people I did not know and wish them a good day. French women have such a classy but relaxed style.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 6 months+

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

It was a magnificent experience and what I expected. I have experience traveling abroad so a month out of the United States was not too long. I plan on traveling again on my own expenses next time i have the opportunity. I loved the teachers and the way they exposed all the students to learning and practicing French in the classroom.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

At IFALPES I felt very comfortable and people there were very nice. I never had any issues with anyone. I basically went to class to practice my French and then I was off to explore the city either on my own or with classmates.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I lived by myself in a studio and that was great. I did not have to ask to use the kitchen to anyone and I went to the supermarket to buy the type of food i eat.Thanks to being able to live by myself i could keep up with my regular routine of waking up early, working out, showering after, and preparing my breakfast and take off to class. If I felt like taking food with me i did and if I felt I was going to eat out I did as well.

* Food:

Food was great. It took me some time to adjust to the reduced salt and sugar in foods but in the end was great because it helped me lose some pounds (salt retains water). I am vegan and finding the foods I love the most was not hard at all. At the supermarket I found falafels and tofu which are my staples. Also eating fruits and veggies is big in my diet what was not hard to find. When eating out asking for a pizza without the cheese and plenty of veggie was a solution for me. There were not many places where to eat vegan but searching for them was not hard. In Annecy everything is walking distance anyways.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I felt very well integrated. Some people say that French people do not talk too much but they actually do. Men specially start a conversation out of the blue and some young people will ask for a lighter to lit their cigarettes. A lot of people would start their conversation in French assuming I spoke it as a local. Many people approach me to ask for directions too.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I never got sick so I did not need any doctor or visit to the hospital

* Safety:

I was never out too late. It get dark at 10.30 anyways. There were a couple of moment in which motorcycles came very fats by my side when walking on the pedestrian path. Additionally, some cyclist are quite aggressive when going by a pedestrian. Men sometimes catcall women and they stare a lot.

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

I was a great experience that made me grow as a person and I learned so much from a foreign culture in such a short time. I loved the french women being natural, very little make-up and no brass. They are slim and they do not seek to have breast augmentation. They also do not fear the sun and love tanning. The men show their interest in women but they are respectful. All French people would sit at the European park by the lake to relax after a day of work. Some with their family. I love it that many people used their scooters to go from point A to point B. Younger people used their skating boards, and bicycles. A lot of people used roller blades. Everyone says hi and bye and wish others a good day. I lie the fact that they want people to speak their language even though they speak perfect English.

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)

On my side it was OK. I eat vegan what makes food way cheaper. For example, rice, pasta, tomato sauce, tofu, yogurt, veggies and fruits were super cheap. I took the bus some days and it costs 1.40 euros round trip. I used some of my money for fun things i wanted to do like renting a bike and cycling around the lake, renting a boat to paddle in the lake, and eating out. Visiting the château in the little village is only 8 euros There are many events that are for free specially in summer and they are a lot of fun. French people love art so they are big in movies and music festivals.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? 500 Euros
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Do things that are free (there are plenty), Take the bus or walk. Rent a bike for the time your are going to be there but be aware that they are going to ask for a 250 euros deposit. Try to stay by yourself so that you can manage what you want to eat. Some families might not want you to use the kitchen i have heard. But in the end follow your heart and enjoy every second of being there.

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

This is what I loved from the teachers at IFALPES. I took French before going there and I got As in my exams but when I had to apply the language I was lost. There is a big difference between memorizing structures for an exam and using them in real life. Teachers at IFALPES made us use French and try not to use google translate. I felt confident in using the language after the first week.

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? FRE 201 intermediate
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? Participate in class. Do not miss class, Interact with people at the supermarket and other stores. Watch your favorite TV shows in French

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • N/A
* 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 professor at IFALPES
  • Having time for myself after class
  • the five weeks
* What could be improved?
  • N/A
  • N/A
  • N/A
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I could have reviewed my French and i wish I had taken more money with me to travel to Italy, Switzerland, Spain, England.

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!