Learning French at the Sorbonne and Living in Paris Past Review

By (Anthropology., New Mexico State University) for

NRCSA: Paris - Sorbonne University

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Yes this experience was worthwhile. I was nothing like I had expected but I have learned a great deal of French, I have seen many wonderful historical sites, I have met lots of interesting people and I have really grown as a person.

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.

The workload was moderate. The home was not overly challenging. The grading system was very demanding and sometimes very harsh but it was a way of enticing excellence and proficiency in the language. The teaching method was somewhat monotonous and the lessons were sometime very confusing. We did not have a text book to clearly state the grammar rules and many students expressed that they did not understand the lessons and were often confused.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

* Food:

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

* 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? No


* 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)

Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? I tried not to eat out a restaurants too often and budget myself to 100 euros for food and spending money each week. There are plenty of free and reduced activities for students to do in Paris so maintaining a budget is pretty easy if you are mindful.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
Language acquisition improvement?

In our courses all lessons were taught in French with an emphasis on reading and writing. But we never practiced conversation. My grammar professor never spoke English but my phonetics professor spoke primarily English while we were supposed to be learning word pronunciation. My speaking and language interactions happened primarily on my free time and were initiated by me. Most people on hearing my accent would speak with me in English. To find a situation where I had to speak more French I went out and found a job tutoring English with young children.

A Look Back

* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I think that people with little experience in French would benefit the most from this program because they will learn the most. And remember that Paris is a big city, it is expensive and it can be difficult to meet Parisians. But stay positive and have a good time. Try to find some kind of an activity, volunteer project or job that will get you active in the community, meeting people and give you a reason to use your language skills. That is how you will really learn to speak French.