Sweet Briar JYF: Paris in the Spring Past Review

By (International and Global Studies, French and Francophone Studies, Brandeis University) - abroad from 01/13/2014 to 05/23/2014 with

Sweet Briar College: JYF in Paris

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
My language skills exploded while in Paris. I learned so much, saw so much, and had amazing experiences. It was most definitely worthwhile.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 2 weeks - 1 month

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

It was definitely a challenging program, and at times I wished it a little less intense. That being said, I learned a lot, improved my French, and still had time to explore Paris, France, and travel on weekends.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The administrators are great. The academic advisor is really looks out for students in the program in the French university system, which is completely different than my home university. There is also a student life administrator who helped me when I was sick and needed a doctor and who set up our housing arrangements. Both women, plus the two office workers, were great and very knowledgeable on group excursions throughout France.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I loved my host mom. She treated me like her own daughter. Honestly, I feel that she is one of the reasons I had an amazing semester and why I feel like Paris is another home for me. I can't say enough wonderful things about her.

* Food:

My host mom was a great cook, though that's not universal. Parisian food is awesome and can be found pretty cheap in boulangeries.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Living in a homestay and going to a French unviersity definitely made cultural integration non-optional. Social integration was harder given how French university classes work. Since we live in homestays we aren't staying with other students. That being said, French students don't generally live in dorms.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I got sick shortly after arriving, with a major stomach virus. The student life administrator found a doctor for me quickly who I was able to see and who prescribed medication. It wouldn't have been nearly as easy to see a doctor if I had weaker French skills.

* Safety:

People say Paris isn't safe, and I guess that's true for some areas, but I never felt unsafe.

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)

It depended on the week. My host mom provided 7 breakfasts and 6 dinners per week, so my spending varied based on what I ate for lunch and what I did outside of class and on weekends. So much is free to do in Paris, so I really took advantage of that.

Language

* 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? I had completed a few elective courses in the French department (110 and 150)
How many hours per day did you use the language?

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
  • Americans
  • International Students
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?
  • Host family
  • Weekend excursions in France
  • Tutors for French University classes
* What could be improved?
  • Orientation
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I can't think of anything.

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!