Everything is smaller in France Past Review

By (Neuroscience / French, SUNY - Binghamton) for

SUNY Oswego: Paris - La Sorbonne

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned a lot of little differences that I didn't know existed. I learned a lot of French. I made a bunch of friends but other than that it's hard to nail down exactly what I gained from it right at this moment.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 0-2 weeks
The term and year this program took place: Spring 2010

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

I definitely benefitted in the speaking area but not quite as much as I would have liked. Also, I felt as though I might have scored higher given a different grading scheme. A lot of what our grades depended on were the final exams.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

I don't really know what rating to give the administration. Everything went pretty smoothly despite the large volume of students enrolled in the program.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Tiny. 18 meters squared and too expensive but a great location. Luckily, the French government is kind enough to help out foreign students studying in their country. The apartment was found through FUSAC by me. <br /><br /> Lived alone, borrowed a lot of stuff necessary to live. Had to buy a lot as well but was unable to bring most of it back. Really safe in the historic districts of Paris. The apartment itself was unsatisfactory but I was able to save some money by not living in the Foyer.

* Food:

The dining halls are good and cheap, they're called "CROUS" I believe but they're kind of a pain to get to and from just for a meal. That's why I usually stick to eating at home. Paris is vegetarian friendly but not very vegan friendly. I'm neither so I had no problem. The food seems overall to be much fresher than the food in the United States, as France has monumental restrictions on their food.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I was in the cultural center of the French world. Just in Paris there is enough culture but with my program we also went to Normandy, Saint-Malo, Mount Saint-Michel, and Reims.

* Safety:

I felt extremely safe throughout the program. I didn't have any major complications. The program itself doesn't offer solutions to student health issues but the director was on call 24/7 if we really needed her.

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)

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? It's hard to say. Being a student in Paris, a lot of the cultural things that you do are either free or reduced. I didn't really tally up weekly expenses because that's not my thing but I'd say in my 5 months there, I probably went through at least $2500 not including rent. This includes food, daily transportation, extra transportation out of the city, going out at night, personal needs, etc.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Plan for the worst and believe the fears of others when it comes to spending. Then, check it out for yourself. It's better to have more than you need.


If applicable, to what degree did your living situation aid your language acquisition?

Language acquisition improvement?

I believe overall that I'm a more effective communicator.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

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  • Other
* Who did you take classes with?

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  • International Students

A Look Back

* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? See above.