APA is a French and Francophone study abroad program provider.

Academic Programs Abroad (APA)

About

APA is a boutique program provider in Paris, France with a passion to provide a first-rate study abroad experience that unites academic excellence with the beauty and richness of French and Francophone culture. For over 30 years, students from more than 80 US colleges and universities have received a personalized, immersive education abroad in Paris; Montpellier; Martinique; Dakar, Senegal; and Rabat, Morocco.

Built on the pillars of academics, culture, and community, each program in the APA portfolio is thoughtfully designed to challenge each student to immerse her or himself in all aspects of the French and Francophone lifestyle. Through this immersion, we have witnessed students grow to become not only more fluent but, mature and globally-minded citizens.

Founded
1987
Headquarters

Box #17218
24 Camp Avenue
Stamford, CT 06907
United States

Reviews

Alexa
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Participating in Academic Programs Abroad - Paris was one of the best decisions I have made during my time as an undergraduate. The team of women behind the program are some of the most capable, supportive, and attentive people I have had the privilege of meeting.
I arrived to Paris relatively advanced in speaking French and left fluent -- all thanks to the program's dedication to giving its participants a fully immersive experience. I had no close ties in the city before arriving and left knowing that I would always have a family to look out for me there (thanks to my fabulous homestay arrangement).
The program's unique mix of program-provided courses and courses provided by local universities (like the Sorbonne!) enabled me to get a feel for what academic life was like in Paris and gave me a nice feeling of independence since we weren't always in our safe little cocoon (as the majority of participants in the program are from US schools). It was such a unique and eye-opening experience!
Overall, I cannot recommend this program enough to responsible students that want to:
1. Ameliorate their French language skills
2. Experience academic culture in Paris
3. Make new memories that will mature them and increase their self-confidence and ability to maneuver independently in the world around them
4. Visit cities and regions outside of Paris (this program includes culturally rich (and, quite frankly, awesome side trips to places outside of Paris).
5. Get out of the cocoon of their home university and experience all that the world has for them!

What would you improve about this program?
I would improve transparency regarding courses taken at public universities in Paris. Some of my courses didn't transfer back and some that I was interested in taking wouldn't (even though I was under the assumption they would). So, some more clarity surrounding that aspect would be appreciated. But it didn't mess me up too much in the long-run.
Carew
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

APA does a fantastic job at cultivating a fun and stimulating semester for all students. There are countless cultural events meant to better integrate students to french culture. And everyone who works for APA is absolutely wonderful. Each one of them is very supportive and always available to help the students in whatever way they can. From them a very warm and friendly community is built for you in Paris. We got to experience a multitude of different planned events through APA: dances, plays, wine tastings, thanksgiving dinner, french films, football games, and so many more incredible events.

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
The most surprising experience we has was the week one program orientation held in the south of France. We got to sail catamarans, wake board and wind surf while enjoying the lovely beach.
Sophia
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I am a Political Science and French double major, and I studied abroad with Academic Programs Abroad in Paris for the Fall 2019 semester! I absolutely loved my experience. The staff is wonderfully friendly and supportive, so even when I came upon difficult situations or experienced stress, I never doubted that everything would work out. If you're looking to improve your French skills, this is definitely a program for you. Each of my classes were taught in French and my proficiency improved by leaps and bounds over the course of four months. I also loved getting to know Paris, and Europe as a whole; the cultural program that APA puts together is incredible. With a weekend in Normandy, a day in Chartres, a play at the Comédie française, a cooking lesson, several dance performances, a cheese-tasting, and so much more, I felt culturally fulfilled by the time I left the country. If you would like to participate in a program that provides a truly valuable academic challenge along with a cultural education, I cannot recommend APA Paris enough.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Your first few weeks are probably going to be stressful, not only because of the language but because the Parisian school system and expectations (formatting of essays and homework, how to communicate with your professor, etc.) are very unique. Trust that you will get the hang of it and that academics will get easier! Remember, you always have the APA advisors rooting for you.
Taylor
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Where do I even begin! Studying abroad with APA was my first time in a country besides the United States, and I absolutely fell in love with Paris (and Europe at large) thanks to the program's support and lineup of cultural events. The small, private nature of the program lends itself to this kind of care. For instance, when we arrived, we were given Navigo passes that allowed us free and unlimited access to the Paris Metro system and beyond. The program was great about its treatment of its students as individuals: I felt a sense of community and structure within the program, but also a great sense of independence to craft my experience and spend my free time in the ways that I desired. Everyone knew one anther, and great, lifelong relationships were formed as a result. Immersion into the Parisian University System was invaluable to my experience, and I left feeling like I could take on the city with ease.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Know that you are probably going to have a long commute to school (if not to the APA office in the 14th Arrondissement, then to the universities where you're studying). I used my long commutes as time to read and listen to new French music.
Chris
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I had a wonderful time in France with APA! The language immersion really improved my skills and confidence in conversation and in the classroom. After coming home, I realized how much more advanced my language was. The events we had planned such as neighborhood visits, and weekend excursions were super fun and gave a lot of great historical overview. Traveling to other countries was easy and accessible. Academics were not too challenging but I still had some work to put in with language barriers. I loved my host family and had a great time getting to know them and exchanging cultural knowledge. The APA staff is very helpful and hospitable. Paris was absolutely beautiful and I miss it so much; I would love to spend another semester if I could!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Speak French always and travel as much as you can!

Programs

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Alumni Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with verified alumni.

Mary Devlin

Mary Devlin is a 2014 graduate of George Washington University. After graduating, she spent a year teaching English in France before returning to D.C. to pursue a career in international development.

Why did you choose this program?

I chose APA Paris after doing a lot of research. One of my major goals going into my undergrad was to study abroad in France and to learn to speak French fluently. That being said, I was looking for a program that would provide me with the most immersive experience possible. I ultimately decided on APA because of its cultural program, its option to live with a host family, and its location in Paris.

What did your program provider assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?

APA Paris is designed for more independent students. I had to get my own visa, book my own flights, and find my way to my classes at different local universities. APA organized my housing, put together the entire cultural program, and checked in periodically to make sure I was adjusting to life in Paris. I think that they have struck a great balance in that they trust their students to be autonomous adults but they are also always available to provide support and help when needed. And because it's a small program, students really get to know the three women who run the program, who are among the kindest, most attentive people I have ever met.

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

I would say to go into the semester/year with an open mind. Don't let your expectations about what you think your experience should be like get in the way of enjoying the experience you actually have. Everyone will come back with a different story to tell. While you might not be able to travel to every place on your list, and you might not make a bunch of French friends, you will probably have an amazing time anyway.

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

An average week for me consisted of attending classes, going to at least one theater/dance show, visiting museums, and eating dinner and watching soccer with my host family. The beauty of studying in Paris is that you don't have to go very far to have fun: the weekends were great opportunities to explore the museums by day, and restaurants and bars by night.

Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it and/or how did your views on the issue change?

I studied abroad for two semesters, so my biggest fear was being off-campus for an entire year (FOMO, if you will). And while I'm sure I missed out on some things in D.C., I'm also sure that I wouldn't have been able to take a weekend trip to Amsterdam or visit the Louvre in between classes. I also wouldn't have met some of the people who I still consider to be among my closest friends. Everything on campus was still waiting for me when I got back. In other words, I would make the decision to go abroad again in a heartbeat.

How has studying abroad affected your career?

I most definitely would not have the job I have right now if I didn't spend time in France. First, because I have to speak French daily in my position. Second, I developed a lot of skills abroad that I wouldn't have otherwise that I think employers see as really valuable. When you learn how to navigate the ins and outs of a different culture, you learn a lot about working with other people, respecting cultural differences, and functioning as an independent person.

Staff Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with program leaders.

Monika Markley

Job Title
University Relations & Marketing Manager
Hailing from Charlotte, NC, Monika joined the APA team in 2016 and is the point-gal for all things pre-departure, marketing, and student outreach. Diehard Pittsburgh sports fan, total Francophile, aerial silk student, pretends she knows things about fancy craft beer.

What is your favorite travel memory?

When I arrived in Lyon, France for my study abroad back in the day, it was my first time traveling by myself. I was sad, homesick, alone, and luggage-less (my bags didn't make it on the plane with me!).

Rather than stay in my hotel room and mope (infinitely more depressing), I spent the day walking around the city, trying to get my bearings. I eventually found myself at the Rhone River and saw the Hôtel Dieu on the other bank with the basilica perched atop Fourvière Hill in the background. Seeing that beautiful sight for the first time on that cloudy, overcast day reaffirmed that I wasn't making a horrible life decision and that I had so much wonder and opportunity before me.

What makes this my favorite travel memory [now] is that I now LOVE traveling by myself! I've been to 5 countries and many more cities in the U.S. and abroad traveling solo. I'm entirely convinced that I would have never grown so much personally, without my time in Lyon.

How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?

I'm naturally a creature of routine and organization and in the world of study abroad, you can be certain to expect the unexpected! I'll probably always be a work in progress but my ability to adapt and roll with the punches has increased considerably.

I'm also super great at planning six months ahead now but, don't ask me what I'm cooking for dinner tonight.

What is the best story you've heard from a return student?

It's so fulfilling to hear stories of students who have had such a great experience in Paris, to continue their French for academic and professional goals.

We have had students return to France on Fulbright grants, for the TAPIF program (Teaching Assistant Program In France), and even to gain citizenship! Perhaps one of the coolest -- one of our alum is currently working at CERN's Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland as a Ph.D. student.

If you could go on any program that your company offers, which one would you choose and why?

Paris will always have a hold on my heart! APA recently expanded with a summer program to Dakar, Senegal. Experiencing a completely new culture and section of the world would be such a treat!

What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?

While the landscape of study abroad is evolving, for the vast majority of students, they will likely study abroad once in their undergraduate careers. Which makes choosing the right program so important! In study abroad we talk about immersion and cultures and language--it's all about human interaction! You will not find a more caring, sincere, knowledgeable, attentive team than at APA.

As I was at a study abroad fair this fall, we had a few alumni volunteer at our table. My colleague Lindsay casually mentioned that our Paris Assistant Director, Sophie, was going to be in town next month for a conference. They were so excited, it was like Lindsay said a celebrity was going to be there, their reaction. How are you supposed to properly convey that on a brochure?!

Whether it's talking with a student at 9 p.m. because she can't find a visa appointment or hearing about how one of my colleagues in Paris comforted a student after she missed her flight home, it's those little things that may seem trivial but make the world of difference.

What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?

Communication! One of the best pieces of advice I've heard is that "you can't change what you don't know". We listen to our students, ask for feedback from our affiliate institutions, and are constantly in contact with our colleagues on the other side of the Atlantic.

Professional Associations