Semester in Aix-en-Provence Past Review

By (French, Wellesley College) - abroad from 08/22/2014 to 01/17/2015 with

Wellesley College: Aix-en-Provence - Wellesley-in-Aix

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned a lot about French literature and authors that I enjoy reading. This experience was worthwhile but I did not get as much appreciation for the French culture out of it as I had expected.

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 took one course directly through Wellesley, one second-year course, and two third-year courses and these classes were nowhere near as rigorous as Wellesley courses. In particular, the other students rarely came to class and there were no class discussions, so it was not a very rigorous or motivating environment overall. My professors were very knowledgable and gave good lectures, though.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

* Food:

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I had very good experiences at the pharmacies in France but when I did need to see specialized doctors I had terrible experiences. I needed to see an allergist and a gynecologist while in France but I was unable to get an appointment with a specialized doctor so I had to go to a 24-hour clinic next to the university for a consultation with a general practitioner. The whole experience was confusing and I ended up waiting a couple of weeks without treatment until I was home and could see a doctor in the US.

* Safety:

The city was overall very safe but there was a huge amount of catcalling that made me feel very uncomfortable when I had to walk anywhere alone.

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)

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? I was living with a host family so I only spent about 10-20 euros on food during a normal week, but if I traveled for the weekend I spent more money at restaurants and on train tickets and apartments.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Buy train tickets early and stay in apartments through Airbnb.


* 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? Advanced
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? I had completed a 300-level language course prior to departure.
How many hours per day did you use the language?

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
  • International Students
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?
  • I enjoyed traveling easily around France and Europe.
  • I liked that we really saw where our tuition was going through the trips and outings organized for us by the program and the monthly living stipend.
  • It was nice to have full-time Wellesley staff members in Aix to help us.
* What could be improved?
  • The classes at Aix-Marseille Université were not very rigorous and the professors did not hold us to the same standard as French students because we were international students (this was nice but it was not necessary).
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Although I have studied France and French for years, I was not prepared for the cultural adjustment to Aix. I wish I had understood better what to expect from the culture, beliefs, and educational system in Aix-en-Provence.

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!