I will remember my summer in Aix-en-Provence for the rest of my life Past Review

By (Romance Languages, Truman State University) 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?
I gained a better understanding of the French way of life and became much more comfortable with my French. Studying in Aix was one of the best experiences of my life, because I was able to experience several different cultures (French, Spanish, and British) and gained a lot of confidence in my French. I also made friends I hope to stay in touch with for the rest of my life and the only complaint I have against studying in Aix is that I miss is almost every single day.

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 workload was perfect for a summer study abroad program. It was enough that I gained significant exposure to French literature (my class material), but not so much that I wasn't able to enjoy my surroundings. The grading system was fine, a little more subjective than I'm used to at my American university but I guess that just depends on the classes. I noticed some differences in the educational system, such as a lack of explicit syllabi.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Accessiblility and support were fantastic. The president and housing coordinator were always available to talk about classes and housing and were very knowledgeable and ready to help us out with any problems.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

My program assigned me to a family, and I have nothing negative to say about the arrangments that were made for me. My family was fantastic, the neighborhood was safe, and I was treated as if I was a member of the family (ie, sheets, towels, laundry, food, etc were all provided). It was a little farther than I would have liked (about 30 minutes from downtown), but I had my own room and I feel like the host homes closer to school had smaller homes, so it was a trade-off.

* Food:

Any of the sandwich shops in the city center are fantastic, but be sure to check out Mezzo di Pasta for a nice hot lunch and Nikolas for a great pita.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I was in France for the Fete de la Musique, the Feu de St. Jean, and le 14 juillet which were all really fun and interesting to experience. My program took me to several small French villages in the south, which were beautiful and fun. We also went to Ste. Tropez and the Lac de St. Croix.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

Aix is a very safe city, I was never afraid of being alone. I didn't have any health concerns but my program made it very clear that they would be sure we were taken care of in the event of an accident or illness.

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)

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? Goodness, I spent a lot of money abroad. I spent an average of 30 euro a week on food, and maybe 30 euro total during the 6 weeks for miscellaneous items such as toiletries and stamps.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Save a lot of money! It is very hard to estimate what you'll spend on souvenirs, so if you don't a) save in advance, and/or b) budget how much you want to spend per person/in total for souvenirs you will find that it is very easy to spend much more than you ought. Also save up/be prepared to spend money on travelling. I spent around to $500 travelling around within my host country and to Spain and London.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Beginner
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? I took French 325 (Composition and Conversation II) prior to studying abroad.
If applicable, to what degree did your living situation aid your language acquisition?

Language acquisition improvement?

I practiced French in both of my classes, one more than the other because one of my professors was French and the other was American. I was also able to practice with the program president and housing coordinator. The best opportunity to practice was with my host family who spoke almost no English. I definitely used French in everyday interactions, with my host family and when I went out to eat, went shopping, etc. Many people did speak English, but I spoke French most of the time.

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

  • Americans

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Aix is beautiful and embodies the Provencal culture of southern France.
  • The workload was just enough that I was required to read and write in French, thus improving my skills, but not so much that I was unable to experience my surroundings.
* What could be improved?
  • Having the same classes every day for 2 hours each was very hard to get used to.
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? To students to choose to study in Aix: excellent choice! Before you leave, do some research as Aix has a ton to offer, not all of which I took advantage of and wish I had. It may seem small and you make think you'll see it all easily, but I stuck to the same places every day and I wish I had branched out.


That's wonderful! We are happy to hear that you had an amazing study abroad experience! CCIS

CCIS April 24, 2014

That's wonderful! We are happy you had an amazing study abroad experience! CCIS

CCIS April 24, 2014