Past Review


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?
Definitely worthwhile. I have been dying to travel to Europe since I was about 10 years old, so this trip was the fulfillment of that dream. I saw sites in France, Italy, and London that I will never forget and feel privileged to have witnessed. When you go abroad, you are totally stripped of everything that defines you- your usual academic schedule, your extra-curriculars, your friends, your family, your language, and any expectations that people have of you- and what you are left with is simply you. It is up to you define yourself, decide who you want to be abroad and who you want to be when you come home. Going abroad can be both a profound worldly experience and an experience that will forever change who you are.

Personal Information

The term and year this program took place: Spring 2009

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

I was challenged, but my classes did not take up too much time, so I was still able to do other things with my day.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

They were very willing to help, readily available and truly knowledgeable.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Lived in a small house with another American student- sadly, we were the only students who had to share a bedroom. "Hanging out" with the family was awkward because the parents bed was in the living room (read: their bed was like the family couch), and it just felt too weird to go and sit on their bed with my host dad, for example. <br /><br /> It was within easy walking distance of school, but having a roommate was difficult at times. Also, see above.

* Food:

I packed some of my lunches, which definitely helped save money. It's more fun to eat out, though! Eating with the family was nice- my host mom really tried to give us a variety and sufficient quantity of food.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

The program always suggested plenty of activities, but most of the other students preferred to just go drinking... all of the time. The most successful trip was the institute excursion to Nice/Cannes/Monaco. They should have advertised the fact that they offered excursions ahead of time!

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

The city itself felt very safe. The program was always willing to call a doctor for its students.

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)

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? Initially, I spend quite a bit (bring toiletries with you- they're SO expensive in Aix). After things got normal again, I spent about 45 Euro a week- and that was mostly just the lunches and Saturday night dinners we had to provide for ourselves.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Just be careful- the dollar is weak and you can't get a job over there! Don't waste money on things you don't need (like drinks, cute shoes, etc.)- save it for going on awesome trips around France/Europe. Those are the things you will remember.


How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? None
Language acquisition improvement?

I went in barely speaking a word and left able to communicate...sort of.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans

A Look Back

* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? It's a good school, a good location, and pricy!