Don't Look Back July 01, 2022

By (English, French, GSIS, Connecticut College) - abroad from 01/03/2022 to 05/11/2022 with

Middlebury Schools Abroad: Middlebury in Paris

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Absolutely worthwhile. As a student, researcher, artist, and thinker, I have expanded my world and feel ready to take further steps abroad. The best things to do are wander and see.

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 am very driven in all aspects of my life. I like to be busy and I do not like to feel like I'm floating through curriculum. If I were taking these classes in English, I'd have found them, for the most part, too easy. But given they were completely in French, the difficulty level evened out. I found the rigor just right and the work level logical (though heavy, no doubt). I was in consistent contact with all of my professors and I appreciated the essay writing course offered through Middlebury.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

I had no issues with the on-site team. I only wish there had been a bit more consideration of the timing/scheduling of Midd courses in comparison to university course.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Very.My situation was rare: I lived in a homestay with a family and because of their dietary restrictions and the layout of the house, was given the au pair suite which had its own kitchen and bathroom.

* Food:

I bought my own groceries and cooked my own meals (something I've waited to do for years). I ate with my host family 2 times per week and the food was lovely then, too, as Jonny is a cook.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I lived and studied in Paris for a month last summer, and in France for a few weeks in 2018. I felt integrated prior to returning in January and have since expanded my group of international friends, colleagues, and artistic collaborators. This expansion was not really a result of Middlebury, though; I felt as though the Midd group was very tight and therefore did not break into society much.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I don't really have any reference points, so I'll say well. I appreciate the care the Midd on-site team took in keeping distance and mask mandates.

* Safety:

Paris is Paris. In a female body, I receive my share of comments everywhere. But I'm a city person and feel more at home and safe in a big city like this than anywhere else. Don't flash pricey things on the subway, don't backtalk, mind your business. All will be good.

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

The pledge, whilst impossible to follow 100% of the time, was incredibly useful. I feel like I did not falter on my rigorous studies whilst I simultaneously got to know Paris by heart.


* 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 don't really understand these numerical/dollar rankings. I am completely self-funded/Conn-funded. Most weeks, save larger costs like the Navigo metro card, my expenses averaged to about $50-$80 a week. On the weeks where I bought groceries, that number was probably more like $80-$115.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? same as above: $50-$115, depending on if I bought groceries
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Cook your own food! Don't waste money on ubers! Buy your own alcohol--don't go to happy hour every night. When I first went abroad, I was extremely scared to spend a lot because I knew I had months and months ahead of me where I couldn't earn work study money and would be spending more than I was saving. Over the year, I found a balance of spending and saving which allowed me to cross off bucket-list items and make beautiful memories whilst not going broke.


* 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

language pledge

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? 420
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? Make native friends! The most learning I ever did was paying attention to my lectures, reading *all* of my assigned texts, and spending time with French people/more advanced French speakers.

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? 10+

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Paris & the ability to travel Europe more easily and on my own
  • Patrick Guédon!
  • 2 of my Sorbonne classes
* What could be improved?
  • Orientation felt very long/heavy-handed
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? You will make the money back.

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:

Émancipations Féminins

Course Department: French Literature @ Sorbonne Nouvelle
Instructor: Sabrinelle Bedrane
Instruction Language: French
Comments: This course was extremely easy (though a nice way to brush up on my specific knowledge of the history of feminism, dates etc.). But the real issue was the teacher. She came to class knowingly having COVID, refused to wear her mask, ate consistently in the classroom before the mask mandate was dropped, did not have a clue what was going on in terms of our schedule or semester requirements/long-term planning, and almost every class period was taken up by student presentations. I think she herself taught us for a total of about 3 hours.
Credit Transfer Issues: