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

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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.
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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!
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Camille
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

APA was a huge reason that I had such an amazing experience abroad. Their incredible academic support and the cultural events they set up for students throughout the semester, provides students with both language and cultural immersion. Additionally, the option to stay with a homestay family, a dorm, or on your own provides students with flexibility in their living arrangements so that each student can choose what would be best for them. Since the program remained fairly small, only about 20 students, the staff provided us with personalized attention, especially during class registration since the French system can be much different than what we are used to. Overall, they truly cared that each student was having a fulfilling experience. APA is a fantastic program, and I highly suggest it!!

What was the most unfamiliar thing you ate?
The food was incredible in France, but the most unfamiliar thing I ate was stingray!
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Keyler
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I cannot say enough amazing things about APA. While at first I was hesitant to be thrown into all things French, APA helped push me and support me through every step of the way. I walked away from my semester in Paris with a vast cultural appreciation, near fluent in the language. Taking my business courses in French forced me to acquire a deeper understanding of the material, and between living with a host family, communicating with peers, and taking yoga entirely in French, I advanced tremendously without really realizing it in the moment. I am so grateful for the opportunity to live in a city with something new to see and do daily and with a program to help me grow so much. Not to mention I'm now a pro when it comes to the metro! Such a great experience going solo as I met so many likeminded students through APA who later became my travel buddies.

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
My university was a bit difficult giving me credits, so I would have communicated with Claire Suraqui before going abroad so I could connect her with my abroad advisors.
Evan
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I highly recommend APA! The academic program offers probably the most flexible and diverse set of options possible, with access to multiple universities, in-house courses, and self-study. The APA staff was incredibly helpful with all aspects of student life, really going above and beyond to make sure we were comfortable with our courses, host family, and general life in Paris. One aspect of the program that I really underestimated before coming here was the cultural program. Getting (essentially) free weekly tickets to shows across Paris was an amazing way to engage with the cultural side of Paris in a way that I wouldn't have thought to do or wouldn't have been willing to spend the money on (don't miss the shows at the CentQuatre!). The program offers a great deal of independence while still fostering a tight-knit community between the students and staff (especially through the group trips). My language skills improved a lot and I overall gained confidence and independence.

My advice to future students is to speak French as much as possible (even when only among Americans) and go out as much as possible! When choosing classes, prioritize scheduling and finding classes that seem manageable/ professors that seem chill. I'm really academically oriented, but go for the 3- (or 4-) day weekend - you'll learn so much from taking classes in French within a new system, so focus the rest of your energy on cultural and social opportunities! Also, just be aware that your host family (or other living arrangement) will almost certainly not be in the center of the city, and that you'll sometimes have long commutes to classes. This is just realistic and part of life in Paris, but it's something I didn't think about before.

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.

More Interviews

Professional Associations

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