By (Harvard University) - abroad from 01/04/2019 to 05/16/2019 with

Middlebury Schools Abroad: Middlebury in Bordeaux

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned to adapt to a new culture when you think it's very similar to your own and it turns out to be quite different in small ways. It was definitely worthwile.

Review Photos

Middlebury Schools Abroad: Middlebury in Bordeaux Photo

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 liked the courses I took and I really appreciate how much I learned in some of them, in particular my conférences de méthode and Système Administratif Français, but especially my French language class only taught me very little. I would have loved to have access to a CEFR level C2 course.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The staff in France was great. Whenever I had a question, however big or small, they always answered right away and took care of everything!

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

My host family was easily what I loved most about my time in France. They were very open-minded and treated me very kindly like a "real" member of their family.

* Food:

The meals I had with my host family were always very well-balanced. I also appreciated greatly that my host mother took the time to teach me the essentials of French cuisine and invited me to cook with her.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I very easily found French classmates and teammates that I could talk to and hang out with.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

The one time I got ill, my host family took excellent care of me and right away notified the support staff who in turn checked in on me several times to make sure I was alright.

* Safety:

There were some troubles with the Gilets Jaunes like everywhere in France, however, if you stick to basic safety rules (like don't provoke anybody etc.) you should be fine.

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

Except for some less rigorous courses, I really, really loved my stay in France. I still feel like a part of my host family and am in close contact with them, I grew so much personally, and I really improved my language skills. Bordeaux is a fantastic location and the program was well-organized, so what's not to love?


* 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)

I did not have many personal expenses as the food around my home and at university was not expensive at all and public transport was very cheap compared to the US or Germany.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? About $50 to $60
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Do basic research at home (is it easier or cheaper to go to markets or supermarkets, what kind of public transportation is the cheapest, maybe it's a good idea to invest in a bicycle etc.)


* 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

We had a language pledge, I only spoke English or German when talking to not-French speaking family or friends.

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? 80s
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? Watch movies in French and read books, make notes of new words you've learned.

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?
  • my host family
  • the location
  • the trips I went on, with the program or my host family
* What could be improved?
  • academic program
  • better orientation week
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish we had had the course evaluations of previous students, that would've helped me make better decisions.

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:

Système Administratif Français

Course Department:
Instructor: Anne Gaudin
Instruction Language: French
Comments: This class was truly amazing and I would highly recommend it. I felt very challenged by what could have been a very boring subject matter, instead, Mme Gaudin managed to always show us the relevancy and possible applications of what we learnt.
Credit Transfer Issues: