A rewarding and very challenging experience March 14, 2018

By (Middlebury College) - abroad from 08/29/2017 to 12/21/2017 with

Middlebury Schools Abroad: Middlebury in Bordeaux

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Confidence, language skills, and independence.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 2 weeks - 1 month

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The academic experience was valuable in that I got to see firsthand what it is like to study at a top French university. It is very different from the American system and though I prefer the latter, it was still a great experience. My advice is to get notes from local students who previously took the classes you are taking (classes rarely change). This way you'll be able to fill in the gaps of what you miss in class.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Living with a French family was definitely one of the highlights of my stay. I adored them and could not have been better placed. I also lived in the middle of the city which was very fun and lively.

* Food:

There is really good food in Bordeaux, though it can get pricey if you eat out often.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I felt well integrated because I became really good friends with a group of local students who often included me when they hung out. This was somewhat atypical compared to the other students who hung out mostly with the other exchange students or with each other. It's really up to you to decide who you want to spend your time with, though you definitely need to put yourself out there if you want to hang with French students.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

I never felt unsafe

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

Studying at Sciences Po is great because they take in a lot of exchange students and have the administration of it handled. I didn't necessarily enjoy my classes, but there was a ton I gained from the experience and I'm really glad I opted for the more difficult choice of studying in language rather than in an English speaking country.

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)

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $100 (I ate out a lot)
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Buy wine at the market (it's super cheap and good quality), drink at friends apartments instead of at bars, cook at your home if you have a kitchen.

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

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Advanced
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? 400 level at Middlebury French Language School
How many hours per day did you use the language? 10+
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? Get to know local students. They'll teach you how the French actually speak versus how you learned in your French classes in the US.

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

  • Local Students
  • Americans
  • International Students
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?
  • Host family
  • Local friends
  • The city
* What could be improved?
  • Middlebury taught French Class
  • More program exursions
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Don't underestimate that it will be challenging at times. Living abroad is really hard, especially when you have to speak a foreign language constantly. That said, it's really rewarding and you'll leave the program feeling accomplished.

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.'

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

L'histoire de la pensee economique

Course Department:
Instructor: M. Le Heron
Instruction Language: French
Comments: Interesting and well-taught course. I'd recommend for anyone studying at Sciences Po.
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

Socioligie Politique

Course Department:
Instructor: M. Tiberj
Instruction Language:
Comments: Fairly boring but easy to follow. Exam was straightforward
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

French

Course Department:
Instructor: Mme. Beziade
Instruction Language:
Comments: Not nearly as engaging as the French classes I took at Midd, though I did like the teacher.
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

Conference de methode: etudes politiques

Course Department:
Instructor:
Instruction Language:
Comments: This course consisted of one presentation and one research paper. It was probably the most work I had but it was nice being in a smaller class with French students.
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

Conference de methode: economie

Course Department:
Instructor: M. Aissaoui
Instruction Language:
Comments: This course had one exam and one presentation. Professor was chill.
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

Institutions europeenes

Course Department:
Instructor:
Instruction Language: French
Comments: I don't recommend this course. It is way too much information and very detail specific. Most exchange students who take it have already taken it at their home universities.
Credit Transfer Issues: