A Journey in Personal Growth Past Review

By (Arkansas State University) - abroad from 09/04/2018 to 01/11/2019 with

Université de Cergy-Pontoise: Cergy-Pontoise - Direct Enrollment & Exchange

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned how to navigate a new city and a new country on my own through the lens of public transportation, as I have only ever really been used to traveling by car in the context of American roads and regulations. I learned more about the French language and culture. It was most definitely 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.

During my study abroad, I took three classes: French, British History, and European Art History. All of them provided me with exceptional learning opportunities, and each definitely left me with a much better knowledge of their respective subjects. The professors were exceptional.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

They were always helpful with every question that I came to them with. There were multiple times when I didn't know how to go about doing something, and the administration took the time to personally help me.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I was very satisfied. I lived in a one bedroom apartment in student housing. It had everything that I needed and was conveniently located right beside the train station. It had adequate storage for everything and all of the facilities functioned perfectly.

* Food:

I never had any problem obtaining food for myself at the local supermarket, Auchan, and there was always a good variety. When I would eat out either in Cergy or Paris, the food was always delicious.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I felt very integrated with the local culture, because I was lucky enough to have been put into contact with one of the locals before I arrived, and after I arrived I met many more, so I always felt like I was part of the university and the city.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I never actually had to go to a pharmacy or a doctor, I was just lucky enough to never have need of one, so I can't comment on that aspect, though the program did provide me with a list of local English speaking doctors to whom I could go if I ever needed assistance. The one thing I didn't realize was how long of a process it was to apply for healthcare, and I did not find out until some time into the program. So, I would want future students to be aware of all aspects of it, including all the necessary dates, steps, and fees, before the program began.

* Safety:

I always felt safe in Cergy, and there were never any incidents that made me feel otherwise. I never found myself worrying about whether anything was going to happen to me.

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

While I had a wonderful time, now that I have grown so much as a person and know how to navigate and function in that different environment, if I were to do it again I would be able to do more, travel more, and connect more than I was able to when I had to take the time to become accustomed to the environment.


* 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? Maybe $50-$70 per week on daily needs. Unfortunately I'm not sure.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Have it in your mind you're going on this lengthy trip in a relatively short amount of time, and plan you're pre-departure purposes accordingly.


* 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

Part of the program was a mandatory French course, so I was using the language weekly.

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? Intermediate
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? The second intermediate course offered by my host institution.
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? Find a language learning app or, if you can, someone who speaks the language, and just do your best to practice daily.

Direct Enrollment/Exchange

* Did you study abroad through an exchange program or did you directly enroll in the foreign university? Exchange

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • N/A
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • 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 people
  • The language
  • The cities
* What could be improved?
  • Nothing
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I had known how useful having a French banking account would be before I went on the program, so I would have set one up much earlier.

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!

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

British History (1918-present)

Course Department: History
Instructor: Mme Marshall
Instruction Language: English
Comments: The course was very challenging, but also very rewarding. I admit that I did not have that much prior knowledge of modern British history, besides a few names and a general idea of how they fit into the past century. That all changed after I took Mme Marshall's class, and I can now say that I have a firm and well-rounded knowledge of the period. The professor was certainly well prepared and extremely knowledgable about the course material. I was assessed through exams and an oral presentation, and I think that I participated to at the same level as I would have at my home university.
Credit Transfer Issues: I had no such difficulties.
Course Name/Rating:

Interpreting Places

Course Department:
Instructor: Mme. Arrizabalaga/Mme Escartin
Instruction Language: English
Comments: The course was very challenging, as it concerned a concept that I had never encountered before, but I think that it was all the more rewarding for that. The professors were both knowledgable and well prepared, and I was assessed through a presentation and exams. I would definitely take the course again, and hope that I will be able to use the skills I learned in my future career.
Credit Transfer Issues: I had no such issues.