3 weeks in Chicoutimi: Just enough time Past Review

By (Brookdale Community College) - abroad from 05/05/2019 to 06/01/2019 with

College Consortium for International Studies (CCIS): Chicoutimi - University of Quebec

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
It was extremely worthwhile. I learned the most from the other people in the program. Although most of them were Canadian, they were from all over the country. A handful of us were American, Mexican, Brazilian, and Spanish, so we all learned a lot about each other's cultures by talking.

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.

The classes are not super demanding -- it's more like a comprehensive review of everything you've learned throughout your previous French courses. However, because it's being taught by a Francophone, you can start to connect some dots you may not have recognized before. There are a ton of interactive and speaking activities (which are important for improving your speaking).

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I lived in the dorms on campus, and it was a much better decision than living with a host family. Host families are great because they engage you in household and conversational French and they will plan things with you on the weekends, but you may have to take a 30 minute bus to campus multiple times a day. All activities (beside the excursions) take place on campus, so it's much easier to already be there. Plus, when you live in the dorms, you have the option of going home for lunch.

* Food:

The food is not great. It's like American cafeteria food with a French Canadian twist. There are very few options for gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan diets.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

I never felt unsafe, and I spent a ton of time walking around the city alone just to sight-see before the day was started.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? No

I would still go to an Explore program, but I would not go to Chicoutimi. Other Explore programs are less structured, which would have allowed me to partake in more school and extracurricular activities that I was genuinely interested in.


* 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? At maximum, 75 Canadian dollars
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? My program was only a few weeks long, so I had no problem saying "yes" to going out to eat or going to the bar. If your program is longer (i.e. an entire semester), learn to say "no" and be prepared to make your own fun in your dorm or host family's house.


* 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 contractually obligated to only speak French.

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Advanced
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Advanced
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? B.A. in French Literature
How many hours per day did you use the language? 10+
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? This program is one big opportunity to practice the language, so don't try to cram and study it beforehand. Take the placement test honestly (without notes) and you'll be placed in an appropriate class. There will always be someone who can speak it better and someone who will speak it worse.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • International Students
  • Other
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Other
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 people
  • My professor
  • Living in a dorm
* What could be improved?
  • Fewer mandatory evening activities
  • More lunch and dinner options
  • Better pre-trip preparation
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I had known that the program would be 95% Canadians -- not that this made a huge difference to me, but for people deciding whether to study French in Canada or France, it may make a world of difference.

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.