Great for french, difficult to live in Paris! February 20, 2019

By (Claremont McKenna College) - abroad from 09/03/2018 to 01/22/2019 with

Middlebury Schools Abroad: Middlebury in Paris

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
French skills improved, self-awareness improved, made a bunch of lasting friends from the US

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.

Academically very challenging program. The amount of work I had to was doubled because of my language capabilities. The professors at Middlebury are very understanding towards second-language speakers but this does not detract from the intellectual growth you experience either. However, expect to devote a significant amount of time to work. This program is not for someone who wants to relax on their semester abroad.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

All the administrative staff were extremely helpful, and in situations they could not help themselves they referred us to other people.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I lived in a foyer and that gave me the independence I wanted, as well as a roommate I loved. However, it did not feel safe or secure physically because of a couple of particular people in the program. This is not indicative of my general view of foyers however, it might have been a coincidence/bad luck.

* Food:

If you are living by yourself and do not like cooking for yourself, food is a huge problem - as even the cheapest satisfying meals are expensive in Paris.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I felt integrated in the sense that I was accustomed to behavior and norms that are considered "correct". This does not mean I liked these behaviors and norms (and I think study abroad programs often mix adaptation with assimilation in the sense that negative views of the city or its culture are seen as inability to be flexible or adapt whereas in reality they can be a refusal to accept unfair, demoralizing and discriminating standards). That is to say French culture is considered the epitome of high culture in many places around the globe, which I find to be part of its colonial history that has propagated discriminating and exclusionary practices that have persisted to this day. Parisians are easily annoyed and annoying themselves. The city is isolating like most other big cities.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

When I expressed concerns to supervisors healthcare services were made available to me immediately, but I did not use them so I can't make a fair judgement - my health issues were due to laziness on my part.

* Safety:

Money was stolen from room, from within my foyer.

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

I took a history class in the local university Paris 7 which made me so much more motivated for other history classes and the skillset I learned in that class has helped me immensely afterwards.

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? 75 euros, approximately
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Cook for yourself! It is healthier and much cheaper

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

We had a language pledge and were forced to comply with it.

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? Upper-level French class in college (although my level was lower than many classmates)
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? Homestay is the best way to practice, but can go wrong very easily. Insist on getting a French roommate and speaking French with anyone that can. Complying with the language pledge will drastically increase your language skills.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • International Students
* 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? 0

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Classes
  • Middlebury Staff
  • Friends
* What could be improved?
  • Housing
  • Mental Health Awareness
  • Class Reviews from Former Students
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I knew that my health was my priority.

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 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.