C'est tout clair maintenant! (It's all clear now!) - France: Language, Community & Social Change Past Review

By (Austin College) - abroad from 01/24/2012 to 05/07/2012 with

SIT Study Abroad: Reviews from Former Locations

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I went through a wide range of emotions when I was abroad, at some points even wondering why I was doing it, because I missed home so much. Finally, towards the end, it became clear why I did it. Of course I learned about French culture during my stay there, but I also learned a lot about my American culture while I was there. Many people take different things from it, so you will just have to find out for yourself!

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 2 weeks - 1 month

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

SIT: France is a very intense, French language and culture immersion program. By living with a host family and completing 60 hours of service for your community service project (CSP), and classes devoted to French history/ culture/ and daily life, it is impossible to not learn the French language during your study abroad experience. WARNING: If you are expecting to party the whole time while you study abroad, this is not the program for you. The program is strict on attendance, and for the most part, you will have class Monday through Friday at 8:00 AM. Also, there isn't much opportunity to travel outside of Toulouse (except with the program on the 3 day excursion to Lot and the 10 day village stay to the Pyrenees Orientales) except the weekends, so you have to stay relatively close if you want to make it back in time for class on Monday. Therefore, if you want to travel around Europe/France for a bit, I recommend extending your stay after the program for a couple of weeks.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The professors and administrators were very helpful and always within contact.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

All students stay with a host family for this program. For me, it was difficult at first to click with my host family, but after I got a better grasp of the language, it was easier for me to feel more at home. For the 10 day village study, you also stay with another host family in the Pyrenees Orientales. This was my favorite part of the entire program. While it is not technically a break from school work (you will have to complete a 5 page paper and prepare a 15 minuter presentation on the topic of your choice related to the village stay), the host families try their best to make it the most like a vacation.

* Food:

I ate about 80% of my meals with my host family and they were amazing cooks! You are expected to get lunch on your own because you're at school during the day, but the program gives you a stipend of 6 euros a day for lunch, so don't worry about going hungry.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

For the most part, we were well integrated into the culture. This program is great about giving you a taste of what authentic French life is like. I had a lot of friends studying abroad at the same time as me, but from what they told me, they were basically living their same American lifestyles while they were abroad. This program is great about

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I only got a couple minor colds during this program, so I didn't have to utilize the health plan, but a couple students did and from my knowledge they were more than satisfied with the coverage the health plan provided.

* Safety:

I never felt as if I was unsafe. I know there are some areas in Toulouse which are not the safest looking, but for the most part, the program keeps you in the main part of the city.

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)

Food, housing, and transportation are all provided for you. Therefore, any money you bring is pretty much play money.

* Was housing included in your program cost? Yes
* Was food included in your program cost? Yes
Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? Around 20 Euros a week. This was when I went out on weekends.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? You receive a stipend of 6 Euros per day for lunch. You can always buy groceries and use far less than 6 euros for lunch and pocket the cash.


* 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

Every class and every assignment is completed in French.

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Beginner
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? One and a half years of French
How many hours per day did you use the language? 10+
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? For me, the hardest part was listening. French is a language of homonyms, so I would buy audio tapes and download French podcasts off iTunes to start training the ear.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* 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?
  • The Village Stay was my favorite part of the entire program because of the family I stayed with. They were a wonderful retired couple who remind you why it was so fun to spend a week at your grandparent's house when you were young.
* What could be improved?
  • I would disperse out the workload a little bit more. At the end, things were very hectic and it was kind of difficult to enjoy my last days in France when I had so much homework and exams to study for.
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? It was going to be more difficult than I expected, but it was worth it because I learned so much. This would have made those first weeks so much easier!

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Francais Quotidienne

Course Department:
Instructor: Isabelle Jaffe
Instruction Language:
Comments: This was by far the most useful course the program offers. It teaches you the shortcuts and slang in the French language that the people use everyday.
Credit Transfer Issues: