Julia in Paris August 08, 2023

By (Psychology, Middlebury College) - abroad from 01/03/2023 to 05/23/2023 with

Middlebury Schools Abroad: Middlebury in Paris

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
It was very worthwhile. I learned about a more international perspective, as well as much more French language skills. I also got more independent and became a better traveler.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 2 weeks - 1 month

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

I enjoyed my European Union class, and learned a lot from that course as well as my French grammar course. However I really struggled with my UPC classes. Due to strikes, a lot of my classes were canceled, and I found professors to be unresponsive to emails. I also had one Professor who consistently showed up late and read from confusing slides. I was not engaged or motivated to learn in these classes. I also had a hard time with the variation between students' in the program's experiences at their external universities. Ségolène, the psychology tutor was very helpful.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

In the beginning, I felt the administrators of my program were somewhat cold and withdrawn. I understand that this may be intentional or meant to show a cultural difference, but I found it hard. By the middle and end of the semester I definitely felt support and a connection from program administrators, but would have appreciated that earlier on. I also talked to Karima more about my homestay throughout the program which I think could have used an earlier check in but I appreciated our conversations.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

My homestay greatly improved my French language skills as well as my knowledge of French culture, and so I'm overall very happy I did it. However my host mother did not have great boundaries with me, and shared stories of her romantic and family drama as well as past trauma her family had faced. We had a positive relationship overall, but it was at times challenging for me to live with her. She also didn't cook or clean a lot or keep a lot of food in the house, but did did take me out to a lot of meals which I enjoyed.

* Food:

I loved the experience of eating French food and really appreciated the diversity of food in Paris. It was all delicious. However, I had a hard time with the eating culture in my homestay. My host mom asked me about my weight a lot and didn't eat much. I also know many of my friends in homestay experienced this too.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

My host mom really helped me integrate into the culture. She told me about good museums and restaurants to visit, etc. Same for the administrators at the program center. Living in the residential area I did also helped me integrate, and so did Middlebury excursions. I only made American friends, but think this is very normal for abroad programs.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

I felt very safe in my neighborhood and on the metro. However, I was very nervous about pickpocketing so made sure to be aware of that and avoided being pick pocketed. I think it would have been helpful if the police at the beginning had provided some practical tips, like how late to take the metro at night, etc.

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

I really enjoyed my time in Paris and felt like I grew a lot in my French and travel skills.


* 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'm not sure if this is applicable to me? I wasn't relying on Middlebury funding.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? I don't know!
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Budget, make sure your credit cards are working in advice and don't have foreign transfer fees, and that you can sign in to your bank accounts without your old American phone number.


* 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? 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
How many hours per day did you use the language?

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? 0

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Guided trips
  • Tutoring
  • Friendly conversations
* What could be improved?
  • Initial warmth
  • External classes
  • Homestay?
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? To prepare for a somewhat disordered culture around eating.

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:


Course Department:
Instruction Language: French
Comments: It was very challenging and I participated a lot. I also felt there were a lot of opportunities for assessment, but could have done better with more speaking exams? The instructor was super knowledgable and passionate about the material.
Credit Transfer Issues: no
Course Name/Rating:

European Union

Course Department:
Instruction Language: French
Comments: Very engaging and challenging course, I really really enjoyed our field trip. Instructor was super engaging and knowledgable, and used a lot of different materials in the course.
Credit Transfer Issues: no