I lived my life in France. Past Review

By (Cultural Anthropology / French, University of Arkansas - Fayetteville) for

University of Minnesota: Study Abroad in Montpellier, France

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
It's hard to take it all in at this point, and see how it will affect my future. But as a cultural anthropology and french major, I LOVED getting to live what I have been studying - people and their languages. I got to live that: eat their food, drink their wine, run around their neighborhood with my host dad, see my host brother's karate practice. That's what I wanted - a French life, and I got it (obviously, to a certain extent). So cultural awareness: I got a better understanding of a French worldview, one that is, in fact, quite different from our own. That small understanding in itself just allows me to understand how vastly different a whole range of people and cultures across the world can THINK differently than me. Or my southern American culture. Future plans: maybe I'll go back and teach English (in order to learn more French :) ) and definitely go visit my host family again.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 0-2 weeks

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

I learned a whole lot. I reached my goal of being comfortable in conversational French. There was not too much of a work load until the end of the semester, and the Minnesota program really took care of us well and were able to help us in any way needed.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Always available, very supportive and always willing to help with any educational struggles, host-family issues, etc.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I love my host family. They were incredible and made my experience.

* Food:

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

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)

Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? I had to pay for lunch everyday during the week, but I guess I knew about that. Just have extra spending money for trips.

Language

* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? None
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? French Conversation / Intro to Literature
If applicable, to what degree did your living situation aid your language acquisition?

Language acquisition improvement?

My host family. They were the most constant source of learning and practicing French. And wherever I went in town day to day and needed to communicate in French. Occasionally with American friends and more often with French students that volunteered with our American program.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

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  • Host Family
* Who did you take classes with?

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A Look Back

* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Live your life in France. Live with a family. Know the people and understand how they live. Accept them and learn how to be French, but be YOU. Ask questions. Be okay with messing up for four months straight and rejoice when you get things right. You benefit most if you live with a host family and you HAVE to be willing to learn the language (I mean, you could surely get by with knowing basic to NO french and living in an apartment, but then.. what are you doing in France? - people who lived in apartments did learn French too though, that would just be even harder though)