My abroad travels were certainly worthwhile. I feel as though after living abroad I have a new found confidence as well as a changed global outlook on the world. I found internship opportunities through CEA which complemented my experience as well as my resume. One of my favorite aspects of CEA was their cultural engagement program, where the staff lead excursions to connect students with the Parisien community.
CEA staff made every effort to assist students in connecting with local culture. They did this through arranging housing among other french persons, arranging guest speakers, and arranging a variety of day trips and walking excursions within the city throughout the semester.
I felt as though the intensity and rigor of the courses I took did not align with that of the program descriptions I had initially looked at when applying for this program. I actually found the courses to me more intense than anticipated accompanied with more homework, research papers, and presentations than I though. However, the resources provided were beneficial to my courses and the cultural engagement requirement for each class (where students are required to participate in an excursion that pertains to the course material) I found to heighten my comprehension of course content as well as my interest in the Parisian culture. Additionally CEA Paris has an impressive range of professors with real world experience within their disciplines.
The administration here at CEA made every effort to acclimate their students. They did this through formal orientation programs and out of the classroom activities.
Living abroad can be a tricky situation however my living arrangements were very comfortable. In the event of a leaky pipe or power outage, the staff at CEA always responded immediately and helped my roommates and I to fix the situation.
Meal plan was not an option for this program. Paris however has an amazing range of things to eat so I never went hungry. Additionally, upon arrival, CEA staff coached us on where to shop for food, how to read labels, and inexpensive dining options that aligned with our student budgets.
I never personally had to see a doctor or go to urgent care while abroad. However my roommates did, and CEA staff were accommodating, discreet, and took the time to follow up multiple times with the students.
I never felt unsafe once while studying in Paris. My housing was in a quite neighborhood, people on the metro were civil, and because I was aware of my surroundings and tried my best to not stick out I was perfectly fine.
Though Paris is an expensive city to live in (like any major city) I found it manageable finance wise to eat, shop, and travel.
Every professor and staff member encouraged me to use and practice my french while abroad. I definitely think my language skills have improved since going abroad.
If i had to do it over again I 100% would. I learned so many practical life lessons that I would have never learned in a traditional classroom. The only thing I would do differently would be to sign up for an entire year abroad!
The only thing I wish I knew before this program would be the level of difficulty of some classes. For me, I knew only a small amount of french before going abroad and the level of french that I took abroad was probably too hard for me (but I managed :) ).