Acceptance of new ways, appreciation of old. October 29, 2018

By (Middlebury College) - abroad from 01/03/2018 to 05/19/2018 with

Middlebury Schools Abroad: Middlebury in Paris

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Studying in Paris was certainly worthwhile as it proved to me that I am capable of alternate methods of learning, and that my ways are not the only ways. It allowed me to look critically at the way I live and learn at home and gave me the confidence to interact in a new space in an unfamiliar language. Lastly, I learned how to represent myself to people and to a country that had preconceptions about me.

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.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The administration at the Middlebury Center was wonderful. It is the administration at the actual Parisian universities that was frustrating.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Although I am happy with the conversations and general interactions I had with my host parents, I was not satisfied with the degree to which I sometimes felt unwelcome in the house.

* Food:

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Like others, I found it quite difficult to develop close friendships with French students in my classes.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

Although I did not have any safety incidents, I often felt unsafe living in the 20th arrondissement, just on my walks home from the metro alone at night. Traveling with friends when possible is definitely a good idea!

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

Although I am happy to be taking American courses again, I look back at my time in Paris with nostalgia. The city and the people taught me so much that I can't imagine studying anywhere else.

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? On a normal week I probably spent about 50 dollars a week, but during weeks where I took trips, those expenses added up quickly.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? There are so many restaurants that have cheaper food, so try to cut out expensive restaurants.

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

The language pledge was highly respected in the Paris program.

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? French 230 at Middlebury (Intro to Contemporary France)
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? Living with a host family is key to using the language heavily. I also recommend listening to French music, watching shows with French subtitles, and switching phones to French when possible.

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?
  • Exploring the city, learning to live in a city
  • educational experiences outside of classrooms (tours, museums)
  • interactions with other international exchange students
* What could be improved?
  • Professor communication with host program
  • resources provided by host family
  • clarity about exam processes
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish that I knew that it really was okay to be uncertain about the work that I was doing, and that that uncertainty did not necessarily put me at a disadvantage. I think I was under the impression that as an exchange student, my thoughts/input in classrooms would not be valuable, but that really just isn't true.

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 Academic or Linguist
You went abroad with specific academic goals in mind; the program credentials and rigor of your coursework abroad were very important to you. You had a great time abroad, but never lost sight of your studies and (if applicable) were diligent with your foreign language study. Good for you!

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Traces of History in Contemporary Literature

Course Department: Comparative Literature
Instructor: Gabrielle Napoli
Instruction Language: French
Comments: This course was extremely challenging for an exchange student. Although the class was interesting, it seemed as though I should have taken another class with the professor beforehand to be prepared for the one I took. I participated in the class very little because the professor was not welcoming. We were assessed with papers and presentations, but my presentation was canceled due to strikes.
Credit Transfer Issues: No