Paris is always a good idea Past Review

By (History and Chemistry, Wellesley College) - abroad from 01/13/2013 to 05/30/2013 with

Sweet Briar College: JYF in Paris

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I became a lot more self-aware, learned to try new things and always be willing to explore. I love Europe and hope to return soon. I think that if I had to choose again, I would look for more scientific and public health oriented programs, or take more science classes at the university.

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.

You can take courses at several parisian universities and courses through the SBC office. In the Paris university courses you are often one of very few international students, which provides a pretty intense academic experience. The SBC courses are with other abroad students and consequently much easier.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The staff in Paris are amazing. The office is always open for questions or just as a place to do work.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Sweet Briar set up an independent living situation for me and another student, where we had our own apartment adjacent to one of the host family's apartments. That isn't the norm for the program as most students were in home stays, but it worked really well for me.

* Food:

I cooked for myself, which was fine. Food is, like everything in Paris, rather expensive.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I really enjoyed the classes I took at Paris VII; I made friends with several french students through working on projects together. I also used the fact that french students can get into most museums for free a lot.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I didn't get sick during the semester, but problems are usually covered by sweet briar insurance.

* Safety:

Paris is a big city, but as long as you travel in groups at night and avoid sketchy alleyways, you'll be fine.

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 really expensive, but if you budget and don't eat out very often, it's manageable.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $150


* 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? Advanced
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? 242
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? Make french friends, go out to bars and talk to people, read books/newspapers and watch movies in French.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • Americans
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?
  • Weekend trips/activities
  • Support system
  • Ability to teach english at a french middle school
* What could be improved?
  • Wellesley-Sweet Briar link- make it easier to apply
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish that more study abroad opportunities were made known to us. With Wellesley approval of very few programs, it makes it hard to really compare the options available.

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!