Indescribable Past Review

By (French Language and Literature., Sarah Lawrence College) - abroad from 09/01/2013 to 05/16/2014 with

Sarah Lawrence College: Paris - Sarah Lawrence College in Paris

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I feel like a different person after going abroad: while the academics are important, the social and personal benefits are enormous. You learn so much about yourself and the world around you. I continually think back to my year in Paris and can't wait to return.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? None

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

SLC in Paris was an incredible experience: it is a challenging program but the rewards are well worth it. With dedication and perseverance, I gained much more than I could have imagined through my study abroad experience.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

All of the directors are superb!! They work the hardest they can and are always available for both a casual conversation or a serious matter. All of the events that were planned were wonderful, useful, and fun. I was immensely sad to leave the three of them behind and hope to connect with them in the future.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I chose to live at the Cite Universitaire, which had both positive and negatives. The communal living space is often messy and loud. We had multiple issues with the internet service, stealing food, and water. However, the rooms are quite large and the environment in the Cite Universitaire can be very rewarding. I met many other international students and used the library and RestoU at the Cite. Although it is in the very bottom of Paris, the RER stop is very close and the neighborhood is reasonably nice.

* Food:

I have mixed feelings about this because the food was obviously amazing but also sometimes pricey. If you grocery shop accordingly, you can make some excellent meals at a reasonable price. I found that the quality of food was in general much better than that in the USA. Going out to eat can get expensive, but it is worth the occasional nice meal or lunch at prix fixe. The program organizing some really great food outings as well!

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

It really does take a whole year for this: the first semester was extremely frustrating and challenging on a cultural level. After winter break, you have more time to take in the city and get in touch with what you're trying to do while abroad. It takes a lot of compromise and coming to terms with things, rather than changing yourself. It is important to come in with an open mind and to be wary of your international identity.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I didn't have a ton of experience medically, but when I got a small cold I went into the pharmacy to get medicine...this was very useful because I did not have to go to a doctor. There was one weekend I got very sick and considered going to the equivalent of an emergency room, but the process seemed complicated and overwhelming when I simply did not feel well. I ended up staying in my room and talking to family at home about the issue. It is a challenge to face the system in another country that you know nothing about.

* Safety:

Paris is a large international city, there are obviously problems with theft and, with woman, being catcalled. I think it must be kept in mind that these are always possibilities and take precautions such as stay in a group, pay attention to your surroundings, and speak in French! It may seem silly but it really does help to blend in and act as if you know what you are doing if you are in a dangerous situation. Wait until you are comfortable in the city before you push any safety boundaries.

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)

It was not very easy to live on a student's budget...this is Paris. It is possible to cut costs but keep in mind you will be spending a lot of money. There are a lot of costs in getting your visa, your metro pass, food, and entertainment.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $200-250
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Grocery shop! Don't get carried away by eating out or shopping. Invest in items at the beginning of the year and sell them at the end. Utilize the program events-- these are always free and lots of fun!!! It will give you a way to experience something you would otherwise not be able to afford out of pocket. Try to find a job: this is difficult because you are in a foreign country but the extra money is definitely worth it. Also check for student prices, they are everywhere in Paris.


* 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

It was mandatory to always speak French!

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 II
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? You must be dedicated to the language and prepared to use French while there. Speak, listen, read, write, do whatever you can. It just helps to be immersed in the language.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • International Students
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • International Students
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?
  • Friends
  • Language
  • City
* What could be improved?
  • Housing
  • Preparation
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Don't expect anything, anything could happen. Don't worry about the unknown!!!!

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!