Sarah Lawrence in Paris Past Review

By (Sarah Lawrence College) - abroad from 09/04/2012 to 05/17/2013 with

Sarah Lawrence College: Paris - Sarah Lawrence College in Paris

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
It was definitely worthwhile. It's too much to sum up in a few words, but it's so important to just go an live some place different.

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.

Each of these categories was highly variable depending on the courses taken. The resources the program itself offers are not excellent, but the city of Paris fills the gaps. The program has no library to speak of, but it was easy to make use of city libraries, some of which are extraordinary.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The administration of the program was frequently unnecessarily complex or unclear. Understanding how to register for courses at French institutions was not clear, especially because I didn't have a sense of what questions I needed to be asking. The program doesn't have many cultural outings or group trips. There are a few dinners organized throughout the year with French students, which are good for language exchange.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The first semester I was placed in a poor home-stay situation through an association Sarah Lawrence works with. Second semester, I had the good fortune to move into an apartment which I found independently of the program, which was wonderful.

* Food:

Sarah Lawrence didn't provide food, so not super relevant. Paris is a pretty great place to eat well, though.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

The French are hard to meet, especially when embedded in an American social world in Paris. If I'd gone independently, I expect I may have met more French students, but that's always a question of the people more than the program itself.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

French health care is great - easy to use and inexpensive. I was covered by HTH, through Sarah Lawrence which worked perfectly when I had to be reimbursed for care. The local system is much more efficient than in America.

* 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)

Paris can be a very expensive city, but it's also possible to live well for not a lot of money. It totally depends on lifestyle.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? 100 euros
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Make a budget, keep track of what you're spending.


* 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? advanced french in college
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? Find a way to be fully immersed. I took a sculpture class that was only with French people and that was incredibly helpful for my French. Take at least one course, if not more, outside of Reid Hall otherwise it's much harder.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • Host Family
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • Americans
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?
  • being in Paris
  • atelier courses
  • courses in French universities
* What could be improved?
  • Sarah Lawrence courses
  • more trips outside Paris
  • more cultural activities
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? That trying to recreate an American university in Paris is a kind of silly pursuit. It would have been harder to navigate and just generally more difficult, but part of me wishes I had just enrolled in a French school and had to work through it.

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!