Semester in Paris Past Review

By (Pennsylvania State University - University Park / Penn State) - abroad from 09/01/2018 to 12/22/2018 with

SAI Study Abroad: Paris - American University of Paris (AUP)

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned so much from this experience. Going abroad - especially in a country where you don't speak the language - really helps you gain independence and opens up the whole world to you. I've been able to see so much of the world and learn about whole new groups of people. It was absolutely a worthwhile semester and I loved every minute of it.

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 classes at my home university were much more challenging, but since I was studying abroad and wanted more time to enjoy Paris, I was happy that I didn't have to spend too much time on academics. There are truly some incredible professors here, though.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

I can't recommend SAI enough. They were there with me every step of the way to help me when I couldn't figure something out, and to just make sure I was fully prepared to study abroad. They also took us on fun excursions around Paris (and to the French Riviera!!) which was amazing.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I really loved the area of my apartment, but I was a 30 minute metro ride to class, which wasn't ideal. The apartment itself was small but not extremely so - there were some minute issues such as a shower that didn't drain well, no oven, a very tiny trash can for three people, etc. - but overall, my housing experience was pretty good.

* Food:

It's Paris, so the food is obviously going to be incredible. However - it is not cheap, so definitely set aside some money for eating out.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

This is the issue with attending an American University - you're with other Americans (or other international students). This being the case, it's really hard to integrate with the local culture. You're always speaking English with non-French people.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

Fortunately health wasn't an issue for me this semester, but I had incredible resources had it been. France has amazing healthcare, and I would've been covered for just about anything that happened during my time in Paris.

* Safety:

Overall, Paris is pretty safe, but it is still a city. I don't recommend taking the metro late at night, and make sure to stay aware around tourist-y areas. It's basically the same precautions you should take in New York City, although the language barrier can make dangerous situations more stressful.

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


* 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)

Paris is really, really expensive. It is easy to spend $100-200 a week just from grabbing Starbucks before class and going out on the weekends. You either need to be incredible at budgeting, or save up a lot before coming.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? No

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
* 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?
  • Living in Paris!
  • SAI was extremely helpful
  • Being able to travel across Europe easily
* What could be improved?
  • More local immersion
  • More encouragement to learn French
  • More of an academic scene
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Make every day count here because it goes by fast

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!