Hamilton College
89% Rating
(9 Reviews)

Hamilton College

Many students will agree that studying in a foreign country is the spark that allows them to came into their own. Others gain new perspectives while studying abroad. It's no surprise then, that nearly half of Hamilton students study off-campus at least one semester. Hamilton currently offers its own study abroad programs in France, Spain and China and also offers programs through the NYSICCSI consortium in India. In addition to these programs, Hamilton College also has over 180 programs for students to choose from which qualify for academic credit.

Hamilton's highly regarded programs are distinguished by their thorough preparation and total immersion of students in the academic and cultural opportunities at each destination, as well the hands-on internship components of the domestic programs.

Most Recent Program Reviews

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cgawlay86
Female
24 years old
Albany, NY
Kingston

Super Semester in Paris with HCJYF

9/10

As a double major in Biochemistry and French at Bowdoin College, I was only able to go to Paris with HCJYF for one semster since I could not complete more than one lab course in Paris. This option, available only to science majors, turned out to be wonderful. I got a great sense of French culture and still enough time to dramatically improve my French. I was even able to take a Molecular Biology and Genetics class at a French Universtiy - in French! It was a challenge but a great experience that I don't regret in any way. It was one of two French University classes I took - with other French students. I found the French academic system...interesting. I attended Paris 6 and Paris 3. I found the coursework challenging as it was in French but the instruction and organization was much less than what I was accustomed to in the U.S. Class sizes were large and professors basically didn't have office hours. I was able to meet other French students, though not too many, as I found it difficult to befriend them. I felt the courses through Hamilton, with other American students, were great. They were realatively *easy* which I feel is important because there is so much more to studying abroad than academics. Plus, my University classes made up for their easiness. The HCJYF program was overall great, especially compared to some of the other programs in Paris that I heard about. Everyone in HCJYF had wonderful housing IN Paris which made transportation a lot easier. The meal plan was great too. I was only responsible for my lunches and 1 dinner a week. I had other friends who had to pay for a lot more meals than that which adds up really quickly in Paris! Also, the cost of the plane tickets was included in the college bill so I didn't have to pay for that out of pocket and was basically able to apply financial aid/loans towards it. I think one of my favorite parts about HCJYF was the traveling we did as a group! Our orientation in Biarritz was AMAZING. Relaxing at a beautiful beach and taking French classes in the day time while meeting French people at night. It was great. Then once we got settled in Paris, we began our excursions to other parts of the country which were also really fun and beautiful. We saw breath taking castles, vineyards, old theatres, cathedrals, etc. Day to day life was really nice in Paris. I mean, Paris is GORGEOUS so just getting anywhere felt like an adventure with much to see along the way. Classes weren't too stressful as I mentioned above so I didn't feel anxious on a daily basis like I do sometimes at Bowdoin. We also found that the night life in Paris was really fun! However, even just walking around in Paris at night is amazing as the city is absolutely stunning with the Seine and the Eiffel tower light show on the hour. I'd say the biggest challenge was generally learning to deal with the French people/culture. They close shops for lunch and on Sunday and generally seem to do everything somehow less efficiently. And they strike... However, I found at the end of the trip that their values are simply different than ours. They are focused more on family and less on work. Difficult for Americans to adjust to, but a vauluable reminder of what's really important. Overall, I really enjoyed myself on the HCJYF program and had a wonderful experience!

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ealinikoff
Female
32 years old
Washington, DC
Museum Studies

Best Madrid Program

9/10

The Hamilton College Madrid program is really among the best offered by U.S. academic institutions. It combines rigorous language training with cultural immersion and encourages travel. The program requires participants to sign a contract that obligates them to speak exclusively in Spanish and I was surprised with participants' enthusiasm to participate. This, combined with courses instructed in Spanish,ensured that students improved language skills. I frequently use Spanish in my job now, and wouldn't have the same abilities if it weren't for this program. The cultural immersion was unmatched. My homestay was fantastic--they had been hosting foreign students for over a decade and really made me part of the family. In addition to all of this, the program requires students to participate in monthly travel tours that ensure students see most of the country before finishing up their year or semester. These first-rate trips involved wonderful hotels and lavish meals at some of the best places in Spain and beyond: Barcelona, Sevilla, and Lisbon were just a few. None of this would be possible if it weren't for the supportive staff in Madrid and Clinton, NY that make the program what it is. They were always there for guidance and support throughout my year.

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Barbara
Female
32 years old
Washington, DC
Museum Studies

Hamilton Program is a must!

9/10

I am an alumna of the 2005-6 Hamilton College Academic Year in Spain (HCAYS) I was there both semesters and was very happy with the overall experience.

It was encouraged that students do the entire year, but not mandatory, however I feel I benefited from the language immersion over a longer period of time as well as the advanced grammar classes for 2 semesters. Being obligated to speak in Spanish, though challenging, has paid off, and I recommend the program specifically to students who want to take their Spanish to the next level. Additionally, as someone who was majoring in Hispanic Studies, I was able to fulfill many of my requirements while abroad.

One of the best parts of the program for me was the opportunity to meet students from other schools in the US, many of whom are still my friends today. Travelling to many different cities and locations in Spain we all became very close, and have shared memories that we brought back with us to the US.

Also, for me the home stay was an invaluable tool in practicing my Spanish with native speakers. My family was welcoming and so helpful in navigating the city and learning Spanish culture and customs.

Speaking of learning Spanish culture, one special aspect of the HCAYS is the option to take classes at a Spanish University, which some of my friends did. From what I observed, this was an additional benefit, as these friends were able to interact with peers, and create a network in the city.

Overall, I also had innumerable opportunities to try new things whether it was VERY amateur bull fighting or taking a painting class. I think Hamilton provides a unique experience and a unique opportunity to commit to learning Spanish while enjoying a small liberal arts atmosphere. I am so happy I chose to spend my junior yeat abroad, and very grateful that it was with the Hamilton Program, in fact I loved it so much I recommended it to my brother. He was in the 2010 group, so look out for his review soon.

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Camembert89
Female
24 years old
New Jersey
Hamilton College

Paris, tu me manques! Je ne regrette rien!

9/10

Ahh a year in Paris, where do I begin? Despite a few minor inconveniences, I absolutely loved my experience! My host family was a perfect fit for me and lived in a great neighborhood in Paris. They made me feel very welcome and like I was a part of the family. I had an easy 20-30 minute commute to class on the metro and lived in close proximity to other students in the program.

The site of Hamilton's classes, Reid Hall, is situated in a student-friendly neighborhood surrounded by a wide selection of affordable lunch places. Reid Hall, however, was a rather disappointing facility except for the courtyard garden when it was nice out. Our classroom was small and poorly furnished, the study rooms did not provide a comfortable study environment and the computers in the computer room were dated. In general, the quality of the facilities were not at all equal to those of Hamilton College, Clinton NY.

The Hamilton professor serving as the program director during the 2011-2012 school year was fairly inadequate and in many areas did not have the expertise one would have expected from someone who had previously held the position about 8 times. I'm not going to go into complaints pertaining to her. Our assistant director, however, Mme Stevens, who holds a more permanent position is the best! What a great lady!

We also attended French universities. The classes at institutions such as Paris III and Institut Catholique were pretty much hit or miss in terms of their quality, but they nonetheless gave us enormous insight into the French education system (including its flaws) and its implications for French society. If you are lucky you may even be able to make a couple of French friends at these institutions. Otherwise, it is fairly difficult to make French friends, especially without the residential campus aspect of most schools in the U.S.

All negative comments aside... you are in Paris! There is no better place to be! It's beautiful, there's great shopping, the food is to die for, the metro is extremely convenient (except when it closes at night) and it's a great location making easy to travel to other places in Europe. You have the opportunity to form close ties with your peers going through all of the same challenges of living in a foreign culture and above all, you get to speak French! I have no regrets and am glad I did the program for a year. The year is really much better for language acquisition as well as cultural understanding. Don't worry about missing out on a year at your school in the U.S., you won't regret your decision to study abroad with HCJYF! It was truly a live-changing experience for me!

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JMooney
Female
32 years old
Montreal, QC
Museum Studies

HCJYF is the best!

10/10

My year spent in Paris was one of the best years of my life. Going on a year long program is definitely the way to go and I can't really complain at all about Hamilton's program. They have been around for a long time in Paris so the logistics are well worked out at this point and for the most part everything went smoothly from homestays to excursions, classes to orientation. The first couple weeks are spent in Biarritz, France, which is incredible! While there you have very little time spent in class and lots of time at the beach or just hanging out and getting to know the other kids in the group. This time spent in the smaller seaside community makes heading to Paris A LOT less intimidating (and helps you get used to living in French really quickly)! I had an amazing homestay experience, and while navigating the French university system of registration was not easy, I had help from our program director, Martine, the whole time so I never felt completely lost. The group excursions that we took once a month allowed us to explore parts of France that we might never have seen otherwise. We definitely got to see the more popular places like Mont St. Michel and Normandie, but we also got to explore places like a champignonnière (no they do NOT make champagne there!) or a vignoble (they DO make wine there).

Anyway, all this to say that the HCJYF provided me an amazing foundation for an incredible year. Things were well organized, the staff and director were helpful and knowledgeable, and well, who can not love Paris?

Program Listings

France

Hamilton College
Looking for the experience of a lifetime during your Junior year in college? Then travel to Paris with this Hamilton College...

Spain

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Hamilton College
The Hamilton College Academic Year in Spain was conceived in recognition of the continuing need and importance of extended st...