Small City Dweller to International Metropolitan Hub July 13, 2022

By (Comparative Literature, International Studies, University of Michigan - Ann Arbor) - abroad from 01/04/2022 to 05/13/2022 with

Middlebury Schools Abroad: Middlebury in Paris

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I was able to learn actual French, and what I mean by that is that I was able to learn everyday French. In class, I only learned academic French—which makes sense, it is a university setting—but then on top of that, it was most reading and writing. So, alongside gaining new vocabulary, I greatly improved my oral comprehension and speaking capabilities. When I first got to Paris, it was hard for me to just order a pain au chocolat from a boulangerie; by the end of the trip, I could order anything from anywhere! Personally, while I don't think I changed as a person, I think I was able to reinforce things about myself that I wasn't sure of. For example, I had always told myself that I wanted to live in a big city, but I had never lived in a city with more than 150,000 people, so what if I was wrong? Going to Paris taught me that I was right when it came to that, and many other beliefs of mine. I loved this experience so much and I wish I could have done it for a whole year instead of only a semester.

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

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I had a great host family experience, although I know some other students had some issues. Overall would highly recommend as the host family really helps you get settled in and navigate daily life, as well as strengthens your language skills!

* Food:

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I felt like an active participant in the student culture more so than the overall culture. However, I still think I fit in a lot more in the end and blended in well.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

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

This program offered me so many opportunities that no other program would have. I met many friends on other exchange programs, namely Erasmus, who would tell me about how jealous they were that my program included cultural sessions, language courses, and other activities they didn't have.


* 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)

For me, most of the costs were up-front. Living with a host family, I had to pay my rent in one lump, which included costs for daily breakfast and four dinners a week, so my weekly costs do not reflect what most students' weekly costs would be.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $100-200
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? When you go to get your Pass Navigo, make sure to get the real one and not the découverte! While they function the same, if you get the découverte, you cannot have the pass replaced. To get the other, you'll need proof of residency (attestation) and to bring your host family with you (I believe).


* 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? Advanced
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Fluent
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? 5th/6th semester
How many hours per day did you use the language? 10+

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?
  • Language Practice
  • City Atmosphere
  • Cultural Exchange
* What could be improved?
  • Group Cohorts (I really only saw the same people from the Middlebury Program)
  • Centre Madeleine Scheduling
  • N/A
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I knew more about the international student infrastructure outside of the program. While Middlebury did a lot for us students within the program, I know many of students had little to no interaction with students outside of the program. There are groups, such as La Voyagerie Parisienne and Erasmus, that host events for international and local students to meet up that I only ever heard about through my friends at my host university. If I had known they existed before, I could have signed up and learned about their events much earlier than I did.