A semester in the land of lavender March 25, 2020

By (Williams College) - abroad from 08/24/2019 to 12/20/2019 with

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

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I gained near fluent levels of French, great friendships, amazing food experiences, and a European fashion sense.

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.

The classes were not academically challenging, but did a great job of enforcing French language concepts.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

She was very approachable and readily available. Any questions you have, she is always there to help you find the answer.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Had a wonderful homestay with a family who accommodated vegetarians (it was their first time, had a fantastic experience!)

* Food:

Great home cooked meals (veg-friendly), amazing restaurants in Aix that the living stipend helps cover.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Going in the Fall allowed me to meet French students who were also entering as their start of the semester, looking for new friends. I was also able to join clubs and get to know people that way!

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

Ask your homestay if they have a family doctor they can refer you to. If not, there are walk-in clinics you can go to, as recommended in the GAP.

* Safety:

Safe town, able to walk home at night without worry.

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

I felt like I hadn't done enough research before I went, so I was thrown off by the fact that Aix is a city of about 200,000 people, where I take buses to classes and there is a lot of English spoken in the city. So the first few months adjusting were hard. However, the tight community of Aix allowed me to form amazing friendships, get in with the locals, and develop a language skillset that will be with me for life! Well run program, would recommend.


* 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)

Aix can get expensive if you eat out a lot. There are cheap options you can find. Breakfast and dinner included in homestays everyday.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $80
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? I saved up some of my summer money for abroad purposes alone. Traveling costs a lot (in terms of food) so cook in your airbnb or save for those trips alone.


* 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

We took an oath to only speak French from 10am to 6pm daily. It worked and all the program participants stuck by it throughout the semester.

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? 3rd year French course in University
How many hours per day did you use the language?
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? Watch TV shows, listen to radio

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?

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Organized
  • Immersive
* What could be improved?
  • Mental health services
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Aix is a relatively large town. €7 fee to get to airport (adds up if you want to travel a lot). The French strike a lot, so expect the buses to not always be up and running.

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!