Nice France: The Opportunity of a Lifetime for French Immersion Past Review

By (French Language and Literature., Providence College) for

Sweet Briar College: JYF in Paris

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I gained a great understanding of the dynamics of the relationships between people. I focused on French immersion, but Nice is an international city with other cultures. As a result of being abroad I have decided that I would like to teach english in Europe after I graduate. Study abroad has only enhanced my interest for understanding different cultural interactions.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 0-2 weeks

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The educational system in France is very different from that of Providence in that the classes are often lecture-based with either a paper or exam which constitutes the grade. However, I did also take classes that had examinations and papers throughout the semester. Grading is based out of 20 and by French standards a 10 is considered good as professors often grade difficultly. For me all of my classes were in French but I was expected to turn in the same quality of work as the native speakers. Overall it was a good change from the small classes at Providence.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The program is in constant communication with the Virginia headquarters and has a resident director francophone. I felt that the program was very well organized and it definitely exceeded my expectations. The program size was 10 students from different universities which allowed a home-base but also allowed us to branch out to immmerse ourselves in the French culture. I encountered problems as every student abroad does and they were quickly resolved due to the effectiveness of this program. One weakness could be that the program was almost too hands-on in sheltering us rather than having to learn how to communicate and resolved problems on our own.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

My housing was arranged through the program and I was placed in an apartment on the same road as the main public transportation route. I was about a 30 minute bus ride to my main campus. In terms of nightlife I wasn't more than a 35 minute walk but the tram runs until 2AM which only takes 10 minutes to get to the center of Nice. My host family welcomed me into their home as part of their family and provided everything I needed for the apartment.

* Food:

I stayed with a host family so my dinners were primarily with them because my host mother always prepared a feast for dinner of excellent Mediterranean quality. I was also provided breakfast everyday. I did enjoy sampling the restaurants in Nice which are plentiful. Lunch I often went to boulangeries and got sandwiches.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

The program sponsored many excursions throughout the semester including a night at the opera, two plays, a weekend in Avignon, day trips to Eze, Cap Ferrat and Monaco, access to the main Carnaval event La Bataille de Fleurs and various outdoor adventures such as hiking and sea kayaking. The events were always well promoted and well received.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

I did not have any health issues while abroad but there were some who did in the program and they were assisted by the director in making sure that good quality healthcare was executed. Nice is relatively safe. My only concern was that of any young woman in a city at night.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes

Finances

* 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)

Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Most French places do not take credit cards so you have to go to the ATM a lot more frequently. It's just important to budget accordingly for your time abroad and prioritize on what you want to spend your money.

Language

* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
If applicable, to what degree did your living situation aid your language acquisition?

Language acquisition improvement?

I spoke mostly in French during my stay here with my host family, and the French students at the university. It was a good mix to speak with the different ages as I learned the different registers and quickly learned various vocabulary. France attempts to speak English but it is often easier to understand them in French then in English.

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

  • Local Students

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Organization, support system
  • cultural excursions
  • French Immersion in classes and daily life
* What could be improved?
  • class choices for seminars
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I would definitely recommend this program and would say that anyone with an average level of speaking French abilities should benefit from this program. If you cannot be independent, and are more of a loner sociabally I would be hesitant to say you will have as good an experience as you should.