Avoid Paris if you can June 27, 2017

By (IES Paris, Political Science, Trinity University) - abroad from 01/12/2017 to 04/29/2017 with

IES Abroad: Paris - Business & International Affairs

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I traveled a lot within Europe, so yes that part was worthwhile.

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.

Paris is nowhere near the best city to study abroad in. It's harder to socialize than in Rome or Barcelona, for example, and harder to date for various reasons. One reason is France does not really have bars like other cities do. I traveled to Rome for spring break and had more fun than my entire time in Paris. Also, the subway is slow as heck because you HAVE to stop at every station. Often takes an hour to get anywhere. As for the program itself, its much smaller than other IES programs such as in Barcelona. Most of the students I was with thought "roasting" and generally acting stupid was the cool thing to do. I've never been around trendier, shallower people. The class readings were mostly banal, dry and boring with very little to learn from. And the language class was not well taught after the first half of the semester. There is no textbook, just a workbook. The classes were easy enough, however.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

If you can, choose an apartment because you'll be near a lot of other students and right next to the program, as opposed to an hour away by yourself with a host family.

* Food:

The home meals were mostly good and there is plenty to choose from in Paris.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

It's hard to socialize here because of a lack of normal bars that exist in most other countries. Many people don't speak english, and it's hard to date.

* 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

Rome and Barcelona are much better options. It's too hard to socialize in Paris.


* 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)

I lived in a homestead and had to eat out a lot at pricier places because there wasn't cheap food near me when the host family did not cook.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? I have no idea, but overall I spent over $5000


* 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

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? None
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? 400 level or upper division courses
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? Make sure you take a well structured class that has a textbook to follow.

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
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?
  • Traveling around Europe
* What could be improved?
  • French Class and smarter students
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I knew other locations were so much better!

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 Nearly Native or Trail Blazer
Craving the most authentic experience possible, perhaps you lived with a host family or really got in good with the locals. You may have felt confined by your program requirements and group excursions. Instead, you'd have preferred to plan your own trips, even skipping class to conduct your own 'field work.'