I learned so much about French culture January 14, 2019

By (George Washington University) - abroad from 09/06/2018 to 12/13/2018 with

IES Abroad: Paris - Business & International Affairs

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
The classes were engaging and the small size allows you to interact with both the professors, which come from prestigious universities around France, as well as the students. Coming from a university with larger class sizes, this was something I appreciated. The classes also offered excursions; I went to the cinema with my French class to watch a movie and went to the World Trade Organization Headquarters in Geneva with my Market Trends and Economics class. I learned a lot about the policies that France and the European Union implement; a lot of the material presented in my classes as well as the presentations I completed impressed employers when doing internship interviews. My study abroad experience only grew my identity as a global citizen and shaped my ability to communicate across different cultures, which in an increasingly connected world is important. My decision to immerse myself as much as possible refined my French and by the end of the five months, I was confident and it was easy to carry on discussions in French.

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.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

* Food:

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

* 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? Yes

The IES BIA Program gave me the opportunity to learn more about the political, economic, social, and cultural institutions in France through their planned excursions, weekend recommendations, and ticket giveaways for the Opera, Ballet, rugby games, and cooking classes. My French not only significantly improved through these immersive experiences, but also because of my host family, which was perhaps the best part of my experience. My host mom was kind and supportive, always helping me improve my French and introducing me to the different facets of French culture and cuisine. I highly recommend this program to others who are interested in learning about the facets of French culture and are studying business or international affairs because the knowledge you acquire is invaluable and will aid you in the future. I also recommend doing a homestay - it was probably one of the best decisions I made while abroad.


* 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? $100
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Take the time to find places that the locals eat! They are often cheaper. When going to cafes or restaurants, getting a formule usually costs less. For a student on a budget, take the time to go to boulangeries, farmers markets, and fruit stands because you can buy more for a reduced cost. It is completely possible, you just need to manage yourself well and recognize you cannot go out to eat at cafes all the time or eat brunch every day. Keep track of how much you are spending on a spreadsheet and book all travel in advance; it will be a lot cheaper.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes

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?

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Living with a Host Family
  • Lottery Tickets for Events (Opera, Ballet, Rugby Games)
  • The excursions (Normandy, Cinema, WTO)
* What could be improved?
  • Diversity within the program
  • More Immersion
  • Accurate Placement for French class
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I knew that it was up to me to immerse myself in the language and culture.

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.'