Studying in France and touring Europe truly changed my life. Not knowing any French and traveling alone, I was beyond nervous to partake in this program, and some serious doubts and concerns crept into my head when I landed in Paris. However, my host mother made life very easy for me, especially in the first week when I had no idea what I was doing. But what really made the trip not only manageable, but completely worth it, was the amazing teachers and staff that worked at UCO. Because I was going to be on campus and in classrooms five days each week, I wanted to pick a program that would have an impact on me academically and culturally, and I ultimately chose this program because of its amazing reputation. But the experience was beyond what I had imagined. The university is filled with some of the most generous and exceptional teachers I have ever experienced. And not only was the staff great, but the students were a perfect mixture of foreign and American, ranging from no French skills to nearly fluent. I not only met some amazing people from Turkey, Mexico, and Japan, but I also made some great friendships with people from Colorado, Michigan, and Mississippi that could actually speak french and helped me survive. I was in class for 20 hours a week, while also taking an online class from my home university, and because the credit transfer was very generous, I received all A's and 29 credits for a single trimester! If education and academics is your sole focus, hands down this is the program for you.
However, it doesn't stop there. Because Friday classes end before noon, nearly every weekend I was able to hop on a train Friday afternoon and spend my weekend in a different city or country. I spent a four-day weekend in London and LOVED it, I travelled to Switzerland for a weekend, and not to mention Paris many times. France, and Angers specifically, are in great locations if you want to travel Europe. Trains can quickly and easily take you to Spain, England, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, or even Italy. Plus, part of the program includes four different all-day field trips where you don't have to worry about travel and accommodations. So if traveling and seeing France and Europe is your primary goal, then I also believe this program is right for you.
Lastly, if you are worried about the homestay and living accommodations, there is nothing to fear. Although I arguably think my experience was the best out of everybody I met (my host-mother voluntarily cleaned my room once a week, helped me with laundry, made delicious meals, and was just incredibly kind), nobody that I talked to had bad experiences at all. Some students got to stay in larger families, or stay with other students, some stayed slightly outside of the downtown area, while some stayed within the city. I actually stayed with a single elderly lady all by myself. Her home was about 3 miles from campus and so she showed me how to use the public transit and the bus stop was just outside her door. My homestay was honestly perfect. So if you are worried about living with another family or living in a foreign country, this program will put all of your concerns away.
Overall, I think this program was amazing from top to bottom. The support staff, environment, and people along the way made this a truly life altering experience. Although I am biased, I think anybody considering studying abroad, or just considering an adventure, should really think about this program.