Past Review

By (Biology, General., The University of Texas at Austin) for

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?
This experience was amazing; I could not have asked for a better summer. I loved getting to know everyone on the program, meeting locals, learning about French language, food, culture, and history. I feel much more culturally aware and my French language skills have vastly improved after completing this program.

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.

The workload was not bad overall. One of my classes was significantly more difficult than the other, but neither was harder than my classes at home. The grading system was different from American systems, but this was clearly defined in the syllabus.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

I believe they were very accessible, although I didn't really have to use them much. Some of the administration was a bit overbearing, but well-intentioned nonetheless. The program was smaller than I had expected, with only around 35 students, I think. Overall, I would say that the administration was satisfactory.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

My host's apartment was very well-located, with only about a 15 minute walk to class, and around the same for nightlife. It seemed very safe, clean, and modern. I didn't need to buy much to settle in, but I did purchase a fan at the Monoprix for my room (smartest decision ever). I was treated almost as a family member, except that my host didn't give me many rules.

* Food:

The food was excellent. I don't eat meat (besides poultry) and my host was extremely accommodating. Boulangeries are great for grabbing a quick lunch!

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Fete de la Musique was so much fun, and Bastille Day in Paris was amazing. The field trips were great, but bring headphones for the long bus rides. I loved getting to know everyone on my program; it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

I would say that Aix is a very safe city, but it is still important to stay alert. I had my phone stolen out of my purse, and so did my housemate. Looking back, though, I think both of these incidents could have been avoided if we had paid closer attention.

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


* 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)


If applicable, to what degree did your living situation aid your language acquisition?

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • Host Family

A Look Back

* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Anyone who is independent, knows some French, and is looking to have a great time while being immersed in French culture will love this program.

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Introduction to Photographic Concepts

Course Department: PHO242
Instructor: Frank Ward
Instruction Language: English
Comments: This class was not excessively challenging; as long as you did your work and studied for tests, you'd be fine. We had a few field trips/photo-ops that definitely contributed to the class' effectiveness. The teacher was very knowledgeable and prepared for class. I participated in class more than at home, as the small class size made it easy to have class discussions.
Credit Transfer Issues: no issues.
Course Name/Rating:


Course Department: History of Provence
Instructor: Guillaume Durand
Instruction Language: French
Comments: This class was more challenging than my other class, requiring more outside-of-class work. Based on what I have heard, this may be the most difficult course offered during the summer, but it was still doable. Although it is taught in French, the instructor speaks clearly and doesn't use excessively difficult vocabulary without stopping to clarify. We did have quite a few field trips that made the class seem more hands-on. (They also got us out of the sweltering classroom.) I participated a good amount in class; although the class size was very small, speaking French in a class setting was a bit intimidating.
Credit Transfer Issues: no issues.