The best part was coming back home. Past Review

By (Middlebury College) - abroad from 08/31/2016 to 12/16/2016 with

Middlebury Schools Abroad: Middlebury in Paris

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
It wasn't worth it. I mean I am happy that I achieved language proficiency, but I could have done that another way.

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.

I enjoyed my classes at the Middlebury Center; I learned a lot and the professors were great. I did not enjoy my classes at Paris 7. Most students would agree with my in saying that the academic experience in Paris is not enjoyable. If you guys want to improve the program, have students take 3 classes at the Middlebury center and 2 at a Paris University.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

I think that they are very nice people, but I feel they should be more concerned with the well-being of the students. Orientation week is pretty overwhelming and they didn't make it any easier. Later on in the program, I had to reach out to let them know that I was not okay. I feel that if I hadn't made the decision to talk to them about it, I would have just fallen through the cracks.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

My room was nice and fairly big. It was a 15min walk from Paris 7 University and a quick 30min train ride to the Middlebury Center. On paper it all sounded great. However, the host family was extremely unpleasant. For almost the entire time I was there, I felt like I was renting a room, and not like I was staying with a family. I understand that it was a special situation because there was an autistic child in the family, and I was very understanding of that, but I felt unwelcome. Whenever I was in the kitchen making breakfast or dinner, I was told that I made to much noise. I felt as though I had to be as quiet as a mouse at all times. At one point, they wanted me to make my breakfast at night, so as to not make noise in the morning. During a discussion with the host person, she even raised her voice at me and I felt very disrespected because I had done nothing but be respectful of her home and her family. I could go on and on with examples. In the end, I couldn't take it anymore so I had a meeting with the woman who runs Host Families in Paris. I asked her to talk to my host family and see if things could change. So, with two weeks left in Paris, I told my host mom that I would not come back to Paris for the spring semester. She then proceeded to apologize for her behavior, she told me that I was a wonderful person and that I was welcome in her house when I returned to Paris. She even took me out for lunch. I left on a good note, but that doesn't erase everything I went through during the semester. My housing situation made my already difficult experience abroad even more difficult. I think that Middlebury should find a new company to match students with host families, let students find their own apartments or provide more student dorm options. I feel as though students have to completely concede and mold to the host family, but since the student is paying, both sides should have to adjust; it shouldn't be one-sided.

* Food:

The food prepared by my host family was not good. It was soups that came from a box, slices of french "jambon", rice, etc. One of my friends did the math and discovered that for the price of housing, each meal should be about 15 euros. My meals with my host family were definitely not 15 euros. If I had known that earlier I would have opted for less diners a week and just cooked for myself. I think that there should be certain criteria that the host families should have to meet in terms of food.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I put five stars because my problem was never integrating into french culture and language. When I was in high school, I went abroad to France through a program called EIL (experiment in international living). In that program I lived with a french family, that I now consider my second family. This time around, I tried to spend as much time with them as I could (they live in Nimes) and with their family friends in Paris. I can now say that I am proficient in French and that I have truly immersed myself in French culture, however, no thanks to the Middlebury Program.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I was never sick while I was abroad so I don't know.

* Safety:

I didn't feel safe in Paris.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? No


* 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 an expensive city


* 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? FREN230
How many hours per day did you use the language?

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
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with? 0

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • That it is easy to travel between European countries
  • The professors at the Middlebury center
* What could be improved?
  • They should change the company that places students with host families because they don't have the right criteria to chose the best host families. If students are paying, they deserve to have a good living situation.
  • Students should take more classes at the Middlebury Center. It would ease their stress levels.
  • There should be more support for students and understanding that being abroad is difficult emotionally.
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I had chosen to live in a student dorm.

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:

La France Colonial

Course Department:
Instructor: Nicolas Rousselier
Instruction Language: French
Comments: It was an amazing class. I learned a lot. I would definitely recommend it.
Credit Transfer Issues: