Study Abroad in France: Best Year of College! Past Review

By (Wellesley College) - abroad from 08/22/2014 to 05/20/2015 with

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

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I gained not only language skills, but confidence in myself and independence. I really pushed the boundaries of what I was comfortable with, and now I feel empowered to pursue all sorts of opportunities I may not have considered before. It was completely worthwhile.

Review Photos

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

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? None

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

I had a good educational experience, but Aix-Marseille Université does not have many resources, and it is really up to each student to make his or her experience work. Works best for students who are independent and highly motivated.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

This is a very well-supported program (to make up for a lack of institutional support at the local university). There are 2 full-time program managers, as well as tutors, support classes, and French student leaders all available just for this program.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

* Food:

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I had French friends, a French host family, a French job, a French boyfriend, went to French university, etc... there was no aspect of life where we weren't integrated with the locals.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

Although the health care system was good in my opinion, everyone smokes in public, and there are no designated smoking areas, so I received constant second-hand smoke.

* Safety:

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)

I lived with a host family, so meals were taken care of. With the generous stipend (and a part-time job I worked giving english lessons) I never had any problems--if anything, I actually saved quite a bit throughout the year.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? 30-40 euros
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Eating at the university, while not the most appetizing, saves a lot of money.


* 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

All program events were conducted in French (including tours, meetings, visits to local sites, presentations, etc). We were forbidden to speak English at the program center, and encouraged to speak French at all times.

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Intermediate
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? 211
How many hours per day did you use the language? 10+
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? Make French friends! It's just too tempting to speak English with other American students. Living with a host family is also really helpful for practicing and learning the language.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • 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?

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • location
  • program visits
  • funds available
* What could be improved?
  • more collaboration with AMU
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I had planned my cultural activities better, because I really didn't take advantage of that fund. [cultural stipend for 200 euros a semester]