Build listening/speaking skills, not so much writing/reading Past Review

By (Wellesley College) - abroad from 08/18/2018 to 05/31/2019 with

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

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Both my ability and confidence in speaking and understanding spoken French improved dramatically. However, because many courses in France had little work during the semester (and then big papers or exams at the end) I got much less practice reading and especially writing than I did taking French classes in the US. I loved the opportunity to travel and appreciate what I learned about everyday French life. I also had access to classes that I wouldn't have in my US university - specifically classes focused on Africa (as opposed to its diaspora) through AMU's history department.

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.

Classes at the local universities were less intense than at my US university. There was less work to be submitted during the semester and more intense, important exams & papers at the end. However, there are classes to be found with pacing more similar to the US if that's what you're looking for. The classes offered by the program are one example.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?


* Food:

The food options on campus varied but it was easy for me to eat at restaurants or cook at home instead.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Not especially integrated. I made some friendly acquaintances in class and in my accommodation but I definitely didn't spend as much time with them as with my friends from my program. I feel like I got to know the town much more than I got to know its people.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

Aix is generally safe to walk in at night despite some cat-calling. Make sure to check the news before travelling as the gilet-jaunes for example were active in some parts of France during my stay.

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

This is a good program for people who don't want to be on their own or design their own experience.


* 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)

The program stipend meant that my living expenses were more or less covered.


* 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? Advanced
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? French 211 - Studies in Language
How many hours per day did you use the language?

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

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

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
  • N/A
* 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?
  • The stipend made activities more accessible.
  • The option to live in local student housing.
  • Classes offered by the program itself.
* What could be improved?
  • Coordinators who can better support minority students.
  • Increased student input on program activities and trips.
  • Could also use some younger coordinators more in tune to modern student life.
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Sciences Po's makeup test policy for exams means you essentially cannot makeup exams unless you are willing and able to return to Aix during the summer.