Nothing less than magical. Past Review

By (Sarah Lawrence College) - abroad from 08/27/2012 to 08/14/2012 with

Sarah Lawrence College: Paris - Sarah Lawrence College in Paris

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
It was more than worthwhile. Like every study abroad student, I would like to say life-changing, and stick with it no matter how cheesy it sounds. The French academic system, at least as regards their approach to art history, really helped me to ground my academic work and not stray so much into theory. My life outside of school has been even more enlightening.

Personal Information

If you took classes at multiple universities, list those universities here: Sarah Lawrence College Paris program at Reid Hall La Sorbonne, Paris IV
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.

Honestly, I learned a lot over the course of the year, though I'd have to say this had to do with adjusting to the French academic system. I didn't feel I could plunge into my work as I normally would or really explore certain interests, given certain restrictions within that approach. I definitely benefited in some ways, and I think this process will help me later on, but I did not quite get what I wanted out of my academics.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The people working at administration are wonderful. They do their best to foster a welcoming atmosphere, and really can help with anything. I wouldn't have made it through the year without them.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Paris Academic Rentals (run by Chuck Dressner) has found me two absolutely incredible apartments this year, and has always been there to help me out.

* Food:

Paris can speak for itself in this respect.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

At this point, I feel completely at home in Paris, but it seems like I'll always be a little bit of an outsider.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I really like the health system here in France. Every time I had a problem, it was relatively easy to handle and inexpensive.

* Safety:

I feel perfectly safe in Paris, though I've definitely learned to keep an eye out. My one complaint about the city: you shouldn't let your guard down.

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)

* Was housing included in your program cost? No
* Was food included in your program cost? No


* 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? Intermediate
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? Watch films, listen to podcasts, listen to music... anything to get your ear accustomed to it.

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
  • Other
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?
  • My French course and professor at Sarah Lawrence
  • The assistants to the program
  • My courses at Paris IV--I found every professor to be more than willing to work with me, and I got quite a lot out of these classes
* What could be improved?
  • Though there are certainly some benefits to the program, I don't really think the liberal arts school, discussion-based academic system can, frankly, be adapted to the French one, at least not very easily. This definitely caused some problems for me this year.
  • I really wish the students could have taken more courses at more exterior universities, and at higher levels than L1 and L2
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Honestly, I would have chosen this program no matter what. I had no way of knowing any of what I didn't like about it.