Great cultural experience. Past Review

By (International Relations And Global Studies, The University of Texas at Austin) - abroad from 09/11/2012 to 12/19/2012 with

Institute for American Universities (IAU): The School of Humanities & Social Sciences, Aix-en-Provence, France

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned many things outside of the university. I learned about the French culture, I traveled to other cities in France, and I had great food. The class offered at IAU need improvement. The classes felt like a waste of time, and most of them weren't very interesting.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? None

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

My host mother was very moody at times. I never knew which mood she would be in so that made it a bit uncomfortable to live with my host family

* Food:

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

Health care was quick and easy, but the medication in France is limited and doesn't have variety, especially if you have the flu.

* Safety:

Very safe for the most part but if you are a girl avoid walking by yourself at any time of the day. I was walking home around 7pm and a random guy just grabbed me and tried to get me to kiss him. There were other reports from other girls in the program. French men can be agressive, especially towards American girls.

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


* 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)

Aix is an extremely expensive city.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? About 50 euro. Sometimes more
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Go to a local market for lunch and buy cheese and a baguette and some fruit to keep lunch as simple as possible.


* 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

I spoke more English that French and my French class was a complete joke and didn't follow the course syllabus.

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? Intermediate
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? FR 611C Intermediate French
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? Request for a host family that doesn't speak English. The professor you end up with at IAU isn't guaranteed. There are good teachers who follow the curriculum and there are others who just talk about random things without teaching anything new. I felt as if I was in a beginners class/ culture class.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • N/A
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
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?
  • Field Trips
* What could be improved?
  • Classes offered
  • Host family selections
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I feel that studying abroad in a bigger city would have improved my French speaking skills verses studying in Aix en Provence where there are a ton of English speakers. I also would have requested a host family that spoke little to no English. In Aix, once a person see that you are American, then they automatically speak English to you.

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.'