Avignon Study Abroad Program Past Review

By (International Relations and Affairs., Tufts 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?
Definitely worthwhile. With this program you can fall into speaking English with classmates, but you also have numerous opportunities to interact with locals (through programs offered by the Institute) and your host family. Avignon is also a city with numerous french/international students, so it is an environment where meeting your own age group isn't hard.

Personal Information

The term and year this program took place: Spring 2008

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

While less academically rigorous than Tufts University back home, this program's classes were sufficiently challenging, as long as you had not taken a similar course somewhere else previously.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The staff were very friendly and responsive to the students' needs, and able to converse in English if necessary.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Family, with two children (one in the last year of high school, one in the last year of the French equivalent of undergrad). <br /><br /> Housing was arranged by the program, based on one's indicated preferences. I chose a family with children, and got that. Some other students in the program were housed with single adults, without children, and one of these situations didn't work out for the student. Therefore I highly suggest housing with a family, as this maximizes the chance of a friendly and supportive environment. The location was 15 minutes from classes and the center of Avignon; I encountered no safety problems in Avignon or the immediate neighborhood.

* Food:

The family was obligated to provide 2 meals per day, six days per week. Mine was generous and placed no limits on the meals they provided me.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

IAU Avignon presents a number of opportunities to go on trips of good quality.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

I had one medical issue, and was recommended to a doctor who took good care of it. We conversed in French, although I was told he was able to converse in English, like many Europeans. The insurance set up through the program reimbursed me in full for the medications he prescribed. While it is always essential to be aware of your surroundings, especially abroad, neither I nor my friends ran into safety problems (even at 2 am, on many occasions). Make yourself as little of a target as possible by speaking as much of the local language as possible, staying in lit/populated areas, making the smart choices with your wallet/purse, etc.

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? About 100 euros.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? While I was there the dollar wasn't doing so well compared to the euro.


Language acquisition improvement?

Since this is a program designed for American students, it is easy to default with English during conversations between students (outside class). This is the temptation to avoid, depending on how much you want to practice the foreign language.

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? See previous.