Intimidating at first, but an experience that has helped me grow as a person. May 18, 2017

By (Connecticut College) - abroad from 01/09/2017 to 05/19/2017 with

Sweet Briar College: JYF in Paris

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned that I can be independent and that it's not as scary as it seems. I mastered a city and it's transportation system; something that I never thought I would do. I gained a new cultural perspective and understanding of how foreigners must feel when they come to the U.S. It was 100% worthwhile.

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.

I thought it was an amazing program. They were extremely helpful along the way when things were not going smoothly academically. My only complaint is that the classes lack a lot of structure in comparison to the states. I'm someone who needs to be told what we will be learning each day and how to study for tests, etc. because testing has never been easy for me. Here, I found it difficult to prepare for exams because the directions were incredibly vague and the way notes were to be taken was a bit scattered.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Amazing! Everyone was so nice and accomadating. They want you to have the best experience possible.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

My host family was fantastic and so kind. I got sick a few times in the semester and they went the extra mile to make sure that I was feeling okay and taking the proper medicines. I could not have been happier with them.

* Food:

Food was fantastic.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Obviously the most difficult part is the language. I feel that it has improved a lot in comprehension, but I still struggle to articulate to my own thoughts in French.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

They were extremely accommodating. I had no problems.

* Safety:

I felt safe at all times. I think there is a stigma associated with living in a city that it can be really dangerous, but as long as you are aware of your surroundings 9/10 you will be safe.

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

I think if had a chosen an easier program I would not have learned half as much as I did. It would have been extremely difficult to immerse myself in the culture.

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)

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? 200 euros
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? I'd say if your host family is offering to make you dinner most nights take it because it's usually always good and a healthier option. Plus, you're saving money.

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? Beginner
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? 321
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? Commit. If you want to be fluent you have to commit to trying to speak it at all times and practicing in your free time to learn new verbs, vocab, etc.

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
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?
  • Planned trips
  • The field trips for all of the classes
* What could be improved?
  • I would have like to meet the other students that were going to the same building as us.
  • Having more time to practice the grammar, etc. without worrying about grades
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? For some reason I thought it was going to love living in a city and would never want to leave, but this semester has taught me (as much as I love Paris) that city living is not for me and that's okay. To just continue enjoying the experience while its happening because the time goes by quickly.

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 Avid Adventurer
The wardrobe you packed was better suited for a semester of camping than club hopping. Outdoorsy, you might forgo a crazy night out for an early all-day adventure. You'd rather take in the rich culture of an old town than the metropolis of a modern city, but for you getting off the grid is ideal.