Amazing experience that made me appreciate America! Past Review

By (ENGLISH LANGUAGE AND LITERATURE/LETTERS., Wellesley College) - abroad from 08/25/2014 to 12/20/2014 with

Sweet Briar College: JYF in Paris

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned that I really dislike the French education system and really enjoy the American one.

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.

My courses at Sorbonne University were quite challenging and completely different from the types of courses I was used to taking at Wellesley. There is hardly any student discussion or interaction between students and professors, which I disliked. However, my courses at Sweet Briar College were fantastic and I learned so much from them.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Amazing people who really care about their students. Several times I got really sick and the administration were always caring and made sure to be available at any time (even 3 am)!

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

In the end, I really was not satisfied with the home stay because it felt like the families were treating them like a business. My host family was nice but not really warm and I didn't get close to them. I wish there were an option for students in the program to live in something similar to a dormitory or at least with other young students so that we aren't all so spread apart and lonely/homesick.

* Food:

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

Health care was quite affordable and it was all reimbursed by the insurance, so I had a good experience with it in general.

* Safety:

The city is fairly safe, but as with all big cities, there is potential for danger.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? No

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)

Definitely an incredibly expensive city. Typical lunches cost 10 euros on average or you can opt to buy something from a supermarket (not very good food) for maybe half the price. And dinners on the weekend always turns out to be costly.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? Probably around $150-200
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? In Paris, people recommend cooking lunch at home. To be honest, I tried that too but it ends up costing about the same amount. I would say look for the best deals on lunches in the area where you usually eat so you get good food for a fair price. Also, minimize the consumption of coffee. It costs about 2-5 euros a cup and that taking a lot out of your wallet.

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

In Sweet Briar's office, there was a policy that all students could only speak in French. And they actually enforced this policy because if any of the administrators heard us speak in English, they would call us out.

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 206 (Intermediate Speaking French)
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? It all happens quite naturally. But try to use the language as much as possible and speaking in the language with friends usually helps.

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?
  • the city
  • the food
  • the friends I made
* What could be improved?
  • living situation
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I had known that the host family was going to treat this more as a business and less like a home stay because I would have preferred to live alone in my own apartment.

Reasons For Studying Abroad

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The Outright Urbanite
A social butterfly, you're happiest in bustling cities with hip people, and took advantage of all it had to offer. You enjoyed the nightlife, and had fun going out dancing, and socializing with friends. Fun-loving and dressed to the nines, you enjoyed discovering new restaurants, shops, cafes, and bars in your host country.