Best Experience for Real Integration Past Review

By (Peace and Justice Studies, Wellesley College) - abroad from 08/18/2014 to 12/19/2014 with

IFE: Paris Field Study

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I was able to take very interesting classes that gave me a good introduction to French society that was complemented with an internship that was relevant to my field of study. I made some really good friends, and was able to live in an environment which made me truly appreciate Paris.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 6 months+

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

A lot of work, particularly the memoire, but very enjoyable. There is definitely a high level of French needed for this program.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Very accommodating to any problem I had (ex:dentist recommendation), without being overbearing with their handling of the students.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Loved living in a foyer! Chose to stay for a second semester there because it is so enjoyable to live with students from all over the world, and make friends outside of the program.

* Food:

The food in the foyer is bleh- but the food in France is incredible. So you end up doing a lot of your own groceries and are able to cook in the foyer.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

The internship and living in the foyer help in order to have a real integration to Paris, but if you work in an office with older workers (like I did) then it is less enjoyable and you'll have less experiences that put you into the local culture, so it is more on you.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

Didn't have any particular problems, but medicine is super accessible, and I was able to go to the dentist for 23 euros so that was great!

* Safety:

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes


* 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)

A lot of self-discipline is needed in Paris. But it helps to have the meals be part of the price of living in the foyer.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? 100 ish
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Save your shopping for soldes season, and set yourself limits on how much to spend. Spend using cash, makes the spending more real. Don't eat out, cook your own lunches.


* 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

Speaking French is mandatory in all of the classes and in the entire building. No English allowed.

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Fluent
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Fluent
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? Native Speaker
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 friends with local French people who don't necessarily speak English.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Other
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • International Students
* 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 Foyer Living
  • The Internship Component
  • The Professors
* What could be improved?
  • More Welcome Program Trips
  • More Traveling
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Definitely request to live in a foyer that provides meals!

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.'