Frustrating place, but overall good experience Past Review

By (The University of Texas at Austin) - abroad from 01/27/2016 to 05/23/2016 with

Hautes Etudes Commerciales / HEC: Paris - Direct Enrollment & Exchange

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned a lot about myself and what's important for me and what I like and what I don't like. The program allows you to make friends with the other exchange students, other Americans and international students, and I would say that is the best part. The friendships you make are wonderful and I think it's a great experience to meet lots of different people.

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.

HEC is a prestigious university, however most of the professors are researchers who focus mainly on their research work. Teachers do not seem to care about students or if they are learning or not. Professors mainly lecture students on their area of speciality, and while sometimes interesting can be dry and are not geared towards students. Little to no work is given and final exams or group projects are either ridiculously easy or almost impossible. There is little to no work during the course, and you are graded on a single project or final exam with little guidance.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Administration was overall friendly, but pretty unhelpful. Offices were often closed and took a while to get back to questions or concerns. I personally did not have large issues, but many friends dealt with problems that were never solved.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Housing was good. Initially I was put in an incorrect room, sharing a connected bathroom with a boy, but when I told the housing office I was quickly moved. The room was a good size and the bed was comfortable. Overall good housing.

* Food:

The main cafeteria on campus had terrible hours, opened late and closed early. The food was cafeteria food, sometimes good, sometimes inedible. Red meat was often completely raw, but besides that the food was decent. The two cafes in the academic buildings were well stocked and good place to grab lunch.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

HEC did have good resources that allowed us to get to and from downtown Paris easily and the International Club had lots of events for the exchange students in the beginning. Past the beginning you were pretty much on your own, which was fine. It was hard to be "integrated" with the local French students because they did not care to interact with us and it was difficult to be integrated with Paris unless you had an apartment there and took the train into Paris on a regular basis.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

Healthcare was good and the doctor on campus (when he was on campus) was helpful.

* Safety:

Felt very safe on HEC campus because it wasn't in a downtown city and the security at the gates was pretty thorough.

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

Even though the program and the city of Paris was very frustrating, the rough experiences brought a lot of the exchange students together. I learned a lot from the bumps and I would definitely do it again. Make sure you go into the experience with an open mind and a good amount of patience.


* 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)

It of course depends on your lifestyle, but the basic minimum was very affordable. However going into Paris regularly adds up because Paris is an extremely expensive city. There were lot's of ways to be very frugal, however those ways were usually slow and not the most convenient.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $50-$70 depending on my activities
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Learn more about the free transport that HEC offers. In terms of traveling, do it as far in advance as you can that way you can save on flights. Travel in groups of 3-6 to receive the best savings. Be careful about where you eat and save on your breakfast and lunches and make sure you're not paying an arm and a leg for dinner.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? No

Direct Enrollment/Exchange

* Did you study abroad through an exchange program or did you directly enroll in the foreign university? Exchange

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • Americans
  • International Students
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • Americans
  • International Students
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with? 0

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • The other exchange students
  • The safety on campus
  • Proximity to Orly airport
* What could be improved?
  • The teaching
  • The cafeteria
  • The administration
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I knew, but many didn't know that the campus wasn't in Paris. I wish I would have known more about the transportation that HEC offered and some of the groups that sold things or offered services.

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 Nearly Native or Trail Blazer
Craving the most authentic experience possible, perhaps you lived with a host family or really got in good with the locals. You may have felt confined by your program requirements and group excursions. Instead, you'd have preferred to plan your own trips, even skipping class to conduct your own 'field work.'