Nice, France: I Will Never Go Back. Past Review

By (Marketing., SUNY - College at Oswego) for

SUNY Oswego: Nice - IPAG, École Supérieure de Commerce

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I gained a lot from this study abroad experience. I gained negative feelings towards the country of France and its people. I gained jealousy towards Europeans that have such a great convenience to travel. I gained great experiences in the countries I visited in Europe, outside of France. I gained great memories with some great friends around great food. Europe is a place I plan to visit again and again and I love it as a whole. But I feel that I got stuck in a bad city with a bad program and the traveling was the only thing to keep me sane.

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.

IPAG had no system to speak of. Those in charge did whatever they felt convenient for themselves without taking into consideration the students schedule. There was no consistency in the way the classes were run or the grading procedure. I understand that each professor runs a class differently but it seemed the IPAG holds no policies for classes for their professors. Some professors were not even professors at all but random people that happened to know a lot on the subject but not necessarily how to teach it. This made classes more difficult than they needed to be. And instead of being challenged by the criteria, I was challenged by the organization of the class work and was left to struggle to understand what was important information for the class and what wasn't. Professors were prone to go off on tangents leaving the students (native English speakers and ESL) to be lost and doubtful about the class and its lessons. I feel that I really did not learn what I had expected of each class but I was tested on what I should have learned. This was detrimental to my grade and I lost confidence in my work. The professors were not very helpful when I had asked questions and this left me to doubt the system of IPAG. Classes and schedules were made weekly but could change on a whim. This left no room to plan for travels (which I believe is a crucial part to studying abroad) and if you had planned to travel and class time was changed and you missed it, IPAG was not sympathetic. Which I find outrageous; to think that they believe it is OK to change the schedule whenever they want without thinking of those students that are trying to gain the full study abroad experience. Being at IPAG was the worst part of being abroad. They did not make it a pleasant experience but instead made the experience more of a headache than it needed to be.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

I had no trouble at all getting ready to go to France. The international office did a great job of getting me in touch with the right people and getting me the correct paperwork. They knew what they were talking about in preparing me to get my visa and get to France. I do not blame them for not telling me about the negatives because I believe it is something one can only understand when IN France.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I lived with a French woman in her apartment. She was an older woman who lived alone and her son occasionally came to visit and spend the night. She was legitimately crazy. I am a clean person and she saw that but she still treated everything I just touched like it was infected. She consitantly came into my room for no reason and just opened and closed my closet. She never stole anything and I did trust her not to but there was really no reason to be in my room. I would understand if I was just a student living with her for free but I paid rent there each month. I kept the space we shared cleam (bathroom, kitchen) but my room was a little messy and she would nag me about it. I believe that because I am paying so much money, I am allowed to have one room completely to myself and I can do what I please with it. She did not believe in privacy. I understand that there was a cultural difference but it definitely opened my eyes to the major differences.

* Food:

Some of the greatest goods I have ever eaten. The number one reason I miss France.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I made some of my greatest friends in France; none of them being French though. I made a lot of friends from the States, Denmark, Mexico, Greece, Argentina, Brazil, Spain, Australia. It was a great experience in meeting people and I enjoyed the different cultures. Though, it still disappoints me that the French were so rude and did not even give the international students a chance to meet them.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

Nice is a dirty and unsafe city. I feared for my life on multiple occasions on a simple, 5 minute walk home at or after 10 pm. I felt even worse for some of my blonde friends because they got harassed far more than I did. But I was still scared. Towards the end after a few scary nights I began carrying a knife with me out of pure fear. I never had to use it but I began to fear the city so much I was reduced to carry a knife. I had many nights that when I arrived home, I cried so hard and vowed to never go out at night ever again. But as a college student, night life is crucial and I hated that I had to fear for my life every time I wanted to have fun. Usually I am a tough person but never in my life have I feared so much for my safety than when I lived in Nice.

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)


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
Language acquisition improvement?

All our classes were in English but we were required to take a French class. This class was only 3 hours a week which is not nearly enough. The fact that the French students that attended the school wanted nothing to do with the international students made practicing the language that much harder. My French did not improve at all and I know half of that is my own fault but some friends that are better at French than I did have a slight improvement. No one I know had a great experience or improvement with the language though.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

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

Select all that apply

  • Host Family

A Look Back

* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Pick another city. Nice is horrible and so is IPAG.