Wonderful AIXchange January 19, 2018

By (The University of Texas at Austin) - abroad from 09/09/2017 to 12/20/2017 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 I can travel by myself (definitely recommend).

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.

They are aware you are going abroad to see new places but classes definitely aren't to be blown off. Professors are willing to work with you but they have to see some effort on your part.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Lots of resources within the school despite its small size. It took about a month to receive my transcript which can be stressful as a second semester senior.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

My host parents were very nice and accommodating. However, if I would go back I would request either full cultural immersion, or total independence. I never really interacted with my hosts outside of dinner, but I was still expected to talk to them and be home at a certain time each night.

* Food:

Differs according to your hosts, but mine was pretty good. Cheese and fruit every night for dessert!

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Everyone at IAU speaks english and Aix is a small town so you WILL run into your classmates everywhere. Additionally Aix is a pretty touristy place so, as quaint as it is, much of it is catered to tourism.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

Aix is an extremely safe town. Stay aware of your surroundings but there's not much to worry about even late at night.

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

Cultural Immersion is really had to achieve unless you make it your primary goal, but the professors, the people, and the town itself made it a wonderful overall experience.

Finances

* 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 super expensive and travel is not the cheapest. I would save about $5000/semester for all personal expenses.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? I spent about $350/wk but that includes travel/accommodation to 5 countries, meals, phone, a cooking class, etc.. I know people who did it on much less, but thats what I budgeted for.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? You can definitely find cheap meals. Pizza, sandwiches, and pastries are readily available but sit down places will put you back at least 20E. I wasn't able to use my kitchen but I know that helped with meal expenses. Eat the host meal!

Language

* 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

Everyone speaks english but there are definitely opportunities to improve your French. I did not take advantage.

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Beginner
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Beginner
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? intermediate FR317
How many hours per day did you use the language?
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? Talk to your hosts in french. That was my biggest mistake. Even if your french is horrible, request a beginner or intermediate speaker.

Direct Enrollment/Exchange

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

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
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • 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?
  • Professors
  • Size
  • Location
* What could be improved?
  • Finals (No study break, go right to the end)
  • Application Process (pretty easy, but I felt like I was flying blind)
  • Integration (We're so close to a big french Uni and we did one event with them)
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? You will make friends. You have to try if you want to get better at french.

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 Outright Urbanite
A social butterfly, you're happiest in bustling cities with hip people, and took advantage of all it had to offer. You enjoyed the nightlife, and had fun going out dancing, and socializing with friends. Fun-loving and dressed to the nines, you enjoyed discovering new restaurants, shops, cafes, and bars in your host country.