The best couple months of my life so far! February 13, 2020

By (Santa Clara University) - abroad from 09/04/2019 to 12/19/2019 with

IES Abroad: Paris - Business & International Affairs

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Self confidence and a better understanding of my abilities while alone. I also learned a lot on French social justice and political issues with peaked my attention being a political science student. And I learned that I will definitely be going back to live in France for a couple years in the near future.

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 definitely was able to learn a lot but I never felt particularly overwhelmed, which is what I loved about this program. For some classes, I felt like I learned more than the average class at home, but the great part is that I did not have to go through immense stress and all nighters to make it happen.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Admin was extremely helpful every step of the way and they definitely were accessible to us whenever we had questions.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I loved my homestay so much!! My host mom was young so we became friends and would always recap our days together, definitely think my relationship with the family was a big highlight.

* Food:

The inner foodie in me was thriving.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I made so many local friends that were able to help me in the immersion process, and the faculty helped give us all the necessary ins and outs.

* 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

We were literally all crying at our farewell lunch. I made such amazing connections with American and local French students and really did feel at home in Paris. I always say my sole regret was not being able to do 2 semesters.

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)

Paris is definitely an expensive city, but I made it work without struggling too much. I was just cautious with where I went out to eat because there are *so* many options in the city, so it's more than doable to not overspend.

Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Spend smart! Plan out your budget beforehand and give yourself some wiggle room. The kebab spots in Paris will be your best friend, you can get a full meal and drink for 5 euros at most spots. And be very careful with shopping, there's essentially no reason to do an obnoxious amount of shopping in the city because it will add up.

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

I basically spoke in French 85% of the time when speaking with professors and faculty, and they were very supportive and encouraging, and it helped so much.

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Intermediate
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Advanced
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? Advanced Conversation, 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? Listen to music, watch shows either in French with English subtitles or vice versa. Try your best to make local friends, my friends helped me a lot in becoming more casual/colloquial with my French and we still all talk today!

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?
  • The opportunity to improve my french
  • The friends I made while there
  • Being able to experience such a cultured and diverse city
* What could be improved?
  • Hard to figure out but I wish we had more options for when the strikes started
  • Some classes run late so maybe to start these classes early
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? The only thing I wish I knew more about was the metro system honestly, because I do not use a lot of public transport (I'm from Texas) so I was hesitant for the first couple of weeks.

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 Academic or Linguist
You went abroad with specific academic goals in mind; the program credentials and rigor of your coursework abroad were very important to you. You had a great time abroad, but never lost sight of your studies and (if applicable) were diligent with your foreign language study. Good for you!