Worthwhile and Eye-Opening Experience Past Review

By (English, Studio Art, Wellesley College) - abroad from 08/22/2012 to 12/20/2012 with

Sweet Briar College: JYF in Paris

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Not only did my French vastly improve in terms of comprehension and fluency, but I also gained a greater understanding of French, and also European, culture and mindsets. As a studio art major, I was able to see in person many great works of art that I have studied in previous years. Every studio art or art history major should at some point in their life visit the great artistic centers of Europe--some artworks which I was not so impressed by on a powerpoint slide took on a whole new meaning when I saw them with my own eyes. My study abroad experience was extremely worthwhile, as I was able to travel around to different parts of France, as well as different European cities, and gain a greater degree of confidence and independence that I would not otherwise have had at my own college.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 6 months+

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

Sweet Briar classes themselves were of a caliber comparable to classes at my own college. I was very impressed with the interactiveness of the classes and the approachability of the professors. Classes, however, at the actual French universities with French students were a bit more disappointing. For a lecture class, the teacher read directly from her notes and there was little to no interaction between the students and the teacher.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The program matched me quite well with my host family in Paris. My family was very welcoming and accommodating.

* Food:

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

There were many excursions that Sweet Briar planned for the students to be better immersed with the local culture.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

Paris in general is quite a safe city. I would take the same precautions, however, as with any large city if traveling alone at night.

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)

Paris is a very expensive city.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? About $350
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Always ask if there are any student discounts for museums, transportations, etc.


* 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? 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? French 221
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? Watch French movies/tv shows, or listen to French music without any subtitles. It's a fun and easy way to get used to the sound and speed of native speakers.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • International Students
  • Host Family
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • Americans
  • International Students
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with? 0

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Matched very well with host family
  • Offered wide range of art history classes
  • Offered many cultural excursions
* What could be improved?
  • Organization of orientation program in Tours
  • Timeliness of notification regarding host family matches
  • Classes during orientation program
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Paris is a very expensive city - which I knew before going, but didn't realize to what extent until I was there.

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 Nearly Native or Trail Blazer
Craving the most authentic experience possible, perhaps you lived with a host family or really got in good with the locals. You may have felt confined by your program requirements and group excursions. Instead, you'd have preferred to plan your own trips, even skipping class to conduct your own 'field work.'