Really Hard July 11, 2022

By (Art and Visual Culture, Bates College) - abroad from 01/04/2022 to 05/17/2022 with

Middlebury Schools Abroad: Middlebury in Paris

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned that I have major depressive disorder. I learned that I can't simply go to a new country and a new culture and a new living situation and two new schools and expect to thrive. I need more support. I felt like I had very little

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.

it was rigorous, but didn't feel very comfortable accessing the academic resources on offer

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

i don't feel like the person to ask, necessarily. But, from my pov, it seemed like a very well-run organisation.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

While the apartment I had was cozy and well furnished, my room was excessively small and I never felt totally comfortable taking up space in shared spaces like the kitchen or bathroom. The living room felt almost entirely off-limits.

* Food:

My entire life in Paris was spent under a tremendous anxiety. As such, my diet was restricted to a group of 5 or so foods i felt comfortable buying in the grocery store.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Honestly not horrible. given that I was trying to make my self small, the amount of integration i felt with neighbors and strangers was more than you might otherwise assume. I credit that with the shared language and my "french look"

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

mmm, harder time here. I descended into a major depression. Stuck in bed for two weeks, unable to do much of anything kind of deal. While there were some small proactive attempts by people in the program to help. Evidently, i was not given the support i needed. By the end of those two weeks, my goal was to get back home and start to heal. I did not engage with any support that they may have offered

* Safety:

whatever fine, not a real big problem for me

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

I flunked out. After a dew months of extraordinarily intense anxiety, with little support, I gave up on one of my glasses. I stopped going, I didn't show up for a presentation. Then, I experienced the most major depressive I have ever experienced. And I looked up and all my other classes were gone too. I wouldn't want to do that again.


* 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)

Didn't really spend a lot

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? not more than $100
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? don't eat


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
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? Intermediate
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? AP French, different advanced language and grammar at college
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? gosh i don't know, find some way to feel comfortable using it. maybe talk with friends who study the language. get a feel for its use in an informal setting. The biggest thing, one of the hardest things, is like an ego adjustment. No matter how good you are at the language, you not as good as everyone around you. You can't say the things you want to say, you don't understand what should be simple things going on around you. It does not feel good. You have to find someway to keep your head up through that and keep going.

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?
  • Paris is a beautiful, wonderful city
  • French people are charming and funny and kind
  • They had a good wine and cheese night
* What could be improved?
  • i don't know, i don't really want to answer
  • i found the gender discrepancy awkward and challenging to navigate
  • locking me up in my room for 3 weeks in the middle of january to start me off didn't really help me to establish many healthy habits. two people in my life identified that as a bad practice before it even happened.
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? That I need friends and family who love me and legitimate psychological help if I want to succeed

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!