A calm, but intense stay in Paris July 03, 2018

By (Wellesley College) - abroad from 01/03/2018 to 05/20/2018 with

Middlebury Schools Abroad: Middlebury in Paris

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
My language proficiency improved immensely and I had a wonderful time getting to know Paris, making friends, and getting a much needed break from campus.

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.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

On-site administration was great once I was there, but they weren't very clear before getting there; there was no schedule for orientation or information about what would happen when we got there. Equally, very little advice/ information was offered about which Parisian university would suit each of us best.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Had a great experience living in a foyer in the center of Paris (5th Arrondissement, near Luxembourg Gardens). I had my own room and a foyer with a beautiful roof terrace, a library, a solarium, and some other nice spaces. Only complaints would be the very small shared kitchens and the strict rules about quiet hours, guests, and the fact that doors close at 1.30am during the week and there's no getting in til morning.

* Food:

I cooked for myself and enjoyed the advantages of Parisian cuisine.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I felt integrated with the french students in my foyer and I was well acquainted with the people in my neighbourhood (cafés, boulangerie, and grocery store). However, it was very difficult to integrate with students at Paris-Diderot due to the large lecture sizes and general lack of campus culture.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

N/A

* Safety:

Felt very safe, though there were a few incidents, strikes etc while I was in Paris, I never felt at all threatened.

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

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)

I was comfortable and was able to go away once during my trip, but things were very tight and I had a job (as I'm an EU citizen). I think without supplementary income, this would be nearly impossible. Around $200/ week sounds about right, though of course some weeks were much more and others much much less.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? €100
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Less is more on grocery shopping, Paris has some great co-ops where you can buy cheap organic veggies. Monoprix and Franprix are not as cheap as you might think! Limit spending on coffee etc by going to traditional cafés rather than more americanised ones. Book trips well in advance if you're going to take them and never fly with Airfrance as they're always striking.

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? Intermediate
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Advanced
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? 226 - College literature course
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? Follow Middlebury's advice, they know exactly how to manage language emersion.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
  • Hostel
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • International Students
* 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?

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Location
  • Language emersion
  • Social opportunities
* What could be improved?
  • Pre-arrival communication
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I was required to take 5 classes (others had to take 6 depending on how many hours each one offered). I would have chosen to go to Paris 1, 3, or Science Po rather than Paris 7, because its so far away not only physically but socially also.

Reasons For Studying Abroad

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The Outright Urbanite
A social butterfly, you're happiest in bustling cities with hip people, and took advantage of all it had to offer. You enjoyed the nightlife, and had fun going out dancing, and socializing with friends. Fun-loving and dressed to the nines, you enjoyed discovering new restaurants, shops, cafes, and bars in your host country.