An unforgettable semester à la provençale! Past Review

By (Neuroscience, French, Wellesley College) - abroad from 01/05/2015 to 05/22/2015 with

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

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I achieved all of my goals and learned and accomplished more than I expected. I was fully immersed in French language and culture which allowed me to achieve a level of proficiency that I feel is otherwise challenging to attain considering the limitations of classroom learning. I developed a greater familiarity with French systems and their structures, and became better acquainted with the norms of French life. In general, I now feel much more confident in French – language, culture, and beyond. I had the opportunity to enroll in a range of academic courses that were different from those available at my home institution, and that reflected attitudes that were be different from those typically expressed in an American classroom. I adopted a more international state of mind, to establish new and diverse friendships, to develop cross-cultural communication skills, and to practice independence and self-sufficiency. Without a doubt, wherever I end up, whatever I end up doing, whoever I end up being, my semester in Aix-en-Provence will always stay with me!

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.

* 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?

* 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)


* 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? Fluent
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? 300
How many hours per day did you use the language? 10+

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

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  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

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  • Host Family
* Who did you take classes with?

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  • Local 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?
  • I think Aix was a great study abroad location for many reasons. First and foremost, it’s a student’s town – there is a significant university student population and with this demographic, there exist a number of resources for us including but not limited to events at local cafés, price reductions pretty much everywhere, and a very active night life. Aix has the benefit of small town charm with access to a number of other metropolitan areas (namely, Marseille, Avignon, Nimes, Montpellier, etc.) so I was able to live in a comfortable, manageable city with the added benefit of exploring other places that spoke more to my big-city-girl interests. The town is also a popular tourist location, which was something I found to have both its pluses and its minuses – it gave me the opportunity to meet people from many different parts of the world at the cost of sometimes feeling like I was surrounded by Anglophones. Overall, I found the people of Provence to be très sympathique and very open towards les étrangers and the culture of Provence itself is one that cannot be matched in any other place – I learned an enormous amount not only about cuisine or perfumes, but also about some of France’s most beautiful national parks and the region’s access to the great civilizations of the Mediterranean via Marseille as early as the 5th century. Could the list go on and on? Absolutely.
* What could be improved?
  • Strongly suggest considering a pre-orientation in Aix rather than Paris, with a trip to Paris scheduled as part of the semester's/year's calendar
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I feel like there are many other pieces of advice that I might give to a future WIA student, so I’ll include those here as what I wish I'd known. Firstly, establishing relationships with your professors at the fac IS POSSIBLE – same as with professors in the states, they won’t necessarily approach you, but if you take the initiative they will be ecstatic to help you with anything you need! Make friends with at least one or two students in your class that you can regularly ask for notes. If you can take multiple classes within the same level in the same license, that is also helpful because you’ll end up seeing the same faces in all your classes and people will quickly learn who you are (everyone wants to be friends with the American). The psychology department was exceptionally awesome. I was really lucky to find such a great group of students. Also, double check to see if any of your classes have Facebook pages – that’s where I found a lot of information for my courses and where other students would ask questions that pertained to me that perhaps I was afraid to ask myself!

Reasons For Studying Abroad

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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.