Bordeaux, France Past Review

By (Biochemistry, Biophysics and Molecular Biology., Middlebury College) for

Middlebury Schools Abroad: Middlebury in Bordeaux

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Yes, it was extremely worthwhile and it will stay with me for the rest of my life. I really discovered a lot about myself and about my cultural worldview.

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.

The university administration was very disorganized, so it was really difficult and confusing to try and coordinate anything having to do with academics.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

I think a lot went on behind the scenes that we, as students, didn't see, but it felt very up-in-the-air most of the time. The on site coordinator was friendly, but most of our questions had to do with academics, which she couldn't really address. The academic coordinator was very busy and moving from site to site, so it was very difficult to get in touch with him and sometimes it seemed like his expectations for us were a bit unrealistic.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

In general, I think our program coordinator did an amazing job at matching students with host families. Most students were really integrated with their families by the end of the semester. As for my specific situation, I was almost directly in between the university and the center of the city, and I had a tram stop and a grocery store right next to my house, so it was very well situated. The neighborhood was great as well.

* Food:

It's France, so you pretty much can't go wrong.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I had a lot of fun and made a lot of French/International friends, but most of it wasn't specifically organized through the Middlebury program. They did do one trip to Dordogne, which was a lot of fun, but other than that we were pretty much on our own to find connections to French people/culture.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

I never felt unsafe in or around Bordeaux. I did experience French healthcare, but my program didn't assist me at all because it wasn't something I needed their assistance with. The healthcare in France is much less expensive than in the States, and even though I had an international insurance policy, I never felt like the expense was enough to warrant reimbursement.

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)


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
If applicable, to what degree did your living situation aid your language acquisition?

Language acquisition improvement?

Bordeaux was great in this regard because many people spoke little-to-no English (as opposed to Paris), so you were forced to speak French. Also, living with a host family really helped because they were very strict about the Language Pledge even though they spoke English.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • The Language Aspect
* What could be improved?
  • The coordination
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? An independent student would benefit the most. Someone who doesn't need their hand held every step of the way and isn't afraid to make mistakes.