Amazing city to live in! Spoke more English than I'd planned to. June 02, 2024

By (Sociology, Brandeis University) - abroad from 01/26/2024 to 05/26/2024 with

University of Minnesota: Language & Culture in Southern France

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned to embrace alone time and to enjoy the small things. I learned a lot about myself and others. It was 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.

Direct enrollment course at the French University was difficult and I did not get very much support from the professor. The program center classes were very easy but all of the staff there were beyond supportive and understanding.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The UMN Center staff were so supportive and friendly. They knew our names before we even got to France and they were supportive in every challenge I faced.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I was matched so well with my roommate and we lived in a wonderful two-bedroom apartment near the city center. Could not have been better!

* Food:

Montpellier has amazing food but grocery shopping was difficult at times since even the large grocery stores had very limited variety. I also did not have an oven which limited my cooking.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I was super comfortable in the city and had my own routine and it was great. But the French students did not speak very much to American students and there were very little opportunities to get close to any locals.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

Did not personally need healthcare but I had friends who found it to be good.

* Safety:

Had to get used to being approached by strangers on the street but I never felt unsafe

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


* 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)

Montpellier is not a cheap city but there are lots of student deals at restaurants and museums. I tried not to eat out too much but wished I had been able to more.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $65 (not including trips)
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Find recipes that use cheap ingredients so you have extra money to eat out and experience the city's food when you want to.


* 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

4/5 of my classes were in French but I was in the wrong level for grammar so found it too easy. I wish there had been more opportunities to speak French with others in class.

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Advanced
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Advanced
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? Talk to locals, even if it feels weird!

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
* 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? 0

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Location
  • Program Center
  • Housing
* What could be improved?
  • More information provided before program start date
  • More opportunities to be with other French students
  • Food stipend for groceries
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? - the Montpellier Airport does not have direct flights to a lot of places. It's often cheaper/easier to bus to Marseille, then fly from there (which is a bit of a hassle though) - Make an effort to see other Brandeis friends abroad!

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.