Beautiful City but Stressful Program Past Review

By (Wellesley College) - abroad from 01/02/2019 to 05/08/2019 with

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

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I did learn some cultural differences through my host family. My French level did improve a little but not as drastically as I had hoped.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 6 months+

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

There was a lot of stress surrounding academics, especially since the directors of the program constantly reminded us that we could potentially fail our classes which did not help me destress or stay motivated to do well in my classes.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The directors were not empathetic and I felt very uncomfortable approaching them with issues I had. They were also very unresponsive to emails and housing problems some students had.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

My host mother was great and very caring -- I just wish she cooked more food...

* Food:

When my host mother was out of town for dinner, she would just leave me with bread and a slice of ham for dinner. She also used a lot of precooked meals or frozen food.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

It was difficult at times to be in Aix a woman of color. Sometimes random strangers passing by would say racist comments.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I did not have any health issues so I did not use any healthcare programs.

* Safety:

For the most part I felt safe except when I was walking back from a night out.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? No

I would have chosen a different program that was less academically stressful. I spent most of my time studying at the library instead of bonding with my host family or exploring Aix.


* 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)

$100 a week

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $300 a week if I was traveling to another country over the weekend.


* 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? Intermediate
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Intermediate
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? French 210
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
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?
  • The other American exchange students
  • My host mother
* What could be improved?
  • The directors of the program
  • The Wellesley-in-Aix classes
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I had known how demanding the program would have been academically. I thought I would be less stressed and have time to enjoy Europe but I found myself more stressed than I was at Wellesley.

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 Nearly Native or Trail Blazer
Craving the most authentic experience possible, perhaps you lived with a host family or really got in good with the locals. You may have felt confined by your program requirements and group excursions. Instead, you'd have preferred to plan your own trips, even skipping class to conduct your own 'field work.'