An experience of a lifetime with friends and memories to last a lifetime. Past Review

By (University of Northern Iowa) - abroad from 05/10/2016 to 05/24/2016 with

University of Northern Iowa: Paris & Rennes - UNI Capstone in France

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned a lot about the differences in culture and gained memories and friendships that I will have with me for the rest of my life.

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.

The program was not intense in academic rigor but I enjoyed that it wasn't so focused on the learning aspect. I think it would be difficult to do with our program because we were all studying different topics and would have taken away from the experience of the trip and sites.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The portion of the trip that was planned by the host families seemed to be a little chaotic at times but I understand that it is difficult to plan for such a large group.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

* Food:

When we ate out and when the host family prepared meals the food was great, a little interesting at times, but it was fun to try new things. A couple of the picnic lunches could have been improved.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I felt like we stuck out quite a bit just about everywhere we went. We dress much differently, talk louder, and were traveling in a large group.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I had no health issues, besides seasonal allergies, while being abroad and also did not need additional vaccination for the trip.

* Safety:

Overall, I felt safe everywhere we were, whether it was Paris or in the Rennes area, except for the rioting and political movements happening in the actually city of Rennes. The only time I felt uncomfortable was seeing broken windows and graffiti all over the city, but the host families were very good about getting us away from areas where the the protests were thought to be happening.

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

I really enjoyed the trip and was glad to have the experience of living with a host family since this was the only program to allow students to do so. It's amazing that we were able to take the trip of a lifetime at such an affordable cost.


* 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)

Because we ate so many meals with the host families, I think it saved us a lot of money on food for the 6 days we were with them. While in Paris I think it was pretty east to stay on budget as well because a lot of those meals were on our own and it was up to you whether you wanted to have a nice fancy meal or just grab a sandwich.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? Outside of the program expenses, I think I spent around $500 on food and shopping.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Nothing in particular. I would have spent less money if I hadn't bought as much when we were shopping.


* 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? None
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? None
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? I took no courses in French prior to the trip.
How many hours per day did you use the language? 0
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? If you are interested in learning French it would help, otherwise everyone we encountered spoke a little bit of English.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
  • Hotel
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • Host Family
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • 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?
  • Visiting the American Memorial Cemetary
  • Having free time to explore on our own but with the advice of the instructor.
  • Visiting the top of the Arch.
* What could be improved?
  • More organization when staying with the host families.
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wasn't particularly shocked by anything on the trip. I wish I would have prepared for bad driving, late nights, and a little colder weather in Rennes than I expected.