Aix-en-Provence Beautiful but isolated Past Review

By (Neurobiology, 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?
I learned to appreciate more of what I already have. The entire experience was a wake up call to get my life at home in order.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 1 month - 6 months

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

I felt the workload was just the right amount considering the travel opportunities that were available on the weekends. Teaching methods were much more personal and less strict compared to the University of Texas. A lot of time was spent with the same people in a very close setting.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The administrators were accessible in that they were commonly found in their office if needed however I found that they were difficult to talk to and seemed to be very distant from the students and from our age group in general. Considering the group led field trips and activities they did have a good understanding of the host country however much of the time on the trips felt like a trip back to highschool. The program size was very small that seemed over the semester to turn into the 'american club' within the city- the peer environment within the city seemed to incite limited interaction with the natives. All of my expectations were not met but I do not regret my time there. Generally Aix was very expensive and as a student, we spent a large amount of time alone. The weather in the fall was also very rainy so nonexpense activites were impossible.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The first host family i was assigned to proved to be a very bad experience. I was not at all compatible with the two women who served at my host parents. They were not very accommodating and one of them in particular seemed to be constantly inflicting her frustration with job security on me. My second host family however was absolutely great. I loved spending time with them and was very sad to leave their house at the end of the semester. We have in fact remained in contact since my departure, and have continued to exchange gifts. The house was not as close as the first house to central AIx but the size of the house and general privacy of the second house was well worth the trade. I did not need to buy any items to settle in, anything that i had not brought with me, my host mom was able to provide. I felt that ultimately at the second house i was treated as a family member.

* Food:

the food served was generally satisfactory.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

the trips along the cote d'azure were the most memorable and the most exciting. there were no special events arranged but the trips themselves were great.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

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)


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
Language acquisition improvement?

There were language partners that allowed you to learn from a native speaker as well as help them learn english. This mix of teaching and learning allowed better understanding of the vocabulary and grammar relationships between French and English. Host families were the best source of language practice. teachers were also a great source.

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

  • Host Family

A Look Back

* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? be sure that you are ready to spend time alone. Going into a completely foreign area like that you are sure to make friends but they are not to be considered int he same light as your friends at home. They are not getting to know you as you are whilst at home in America they only know the you who is in a new foreign place away from any recognizable comfort zone. In very small close-knit programs such as the IAU AIX Center the students you go with are the people you will be constantly surrounded by for the next 5 months, therefore friendships tend to be necessary more than realistic. Be careful who you chose to spend your time with and remember that you are there to experience a new place, not to please anyone but yourself.

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Essentials of Elementary French 2

Course Department: FRE 105
Instructor: Margaux Hofstedt
Instruction Language: Franglais
Comments: Overall the professor was great therefore the class was very enjoyable. She was always well prepared and took time to show us more about the city of Aix and the its unique culture.
Credit Transfer Issues: No
Course Name/Rating:

Ancient European Art and Archaeology

Course Department: ARC 309
Instructor: Guillaume Durand
Instruction Language: English
Comments: THe class was well paced and the professor was always prepared. The field trips were relevant and interesting.
Credit Transfer Issues: No
Course Name/Rating:

Foundations of European Philosophy

Course Department: PHI 301
Instructor: Christopher Carsten
Instruction Language: English
Comments: THe course was loosely structured and mainly built on discussion contributions. The class material was very interesting and the instructor was very good at encouraging interesting and thoughtful conversation. The instructor also had a good way of teaching the cultural aspects of France alongside the material covered in class.
Credit Transfer Issues: No