My issues with my abroad program July 02, 2018

By (Wellesley College) - abroad from 01/08/2018 to 05/19/2018 with

CUPA: Paris - Study Abroad in Paris

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
It was worthwhile for me to go abroad because it allowed me the opportunity to immerse myself in a new culture and force myself to learn the language to the best of my ability. My biggest takeaway from studying abroad with CUPA was my newfound appreciation for Wellesley and its reliability, engaging faculty, and engaging courses.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 2 weeks - 1 month

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

As someone who was less confident in my French speaking abilities before going abroad, I found the academic experience of CUPA to be initially overwhelming, but more and more manageable with time. I appreciated that CUPA offers academic resources such as tutoring and assistance with the French methodology, but I found the head of the tutoring program, the French language coordinator, to be condescending when I did work with him. Aside from him, tutoring can be provided by interns who are students studying French as a second language, both of which I really liked. I just had a very bad experience with the head of tutoring when I was asking for advice as to how to study for my upcoming midterms where I was met with responses including "Why didn't you start sooner?" and "I don't know what I can do to help you." I sought out his help two weeks prior to my exams and was told I was coming in too late for him to actually assist me. That being said, I found the associate director who acts as a liaison between students and their universities to be extremely helpful.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

CUPA tried its best to mitigate a strike in the universities, but the strike was very difficult to follow and CUPA unfortunately could not provide any further information or clarification regarding how the strike might affect final exams. Aside from that, I felt that CUPA did a good job of hosting students and planning programs and cultural events for us to take part in.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I enjoyed my homestay and really loved the location of it. It was a bit further from all of the friends I made in CUPA, but I really appreciated living in the 18th. I did not have that much in common with my host family, but we got along fine.

* Food:

I really enjoyed having a host family that prepared my meals most of time and having the weekends to make my own food. It gave me a sense of independence that I was really lacking living under someone else's roof.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

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

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)

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

CUPA has its students sign a language pledge on their first day agreeing that they will only speak French on CUPA's premises.

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Intermediate
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? French 225
How many hours per day did you use the language?

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

  • Local 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 location
  • The number of courses available
* What could be improved?
  • Supportive faculty members
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I had known that orientation was so involved, but that it would not help me familiarize myself with Paris or get to know the other students.