Academic Programs Abroad (APA)

Program Reviews

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Colin
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Could not recommend more highly!

I can't imagine a better study abroad program than APA. I wasn't even initially planning on studying abroad (I studied hard sciences, and most programs seem geared toward social sciences or humanities). But after taking the leap with APA, I could not be happier. I improved my french enormously, I was able to genuinely integrate into a different culture and country, and I built all of these skills of open-mindedness, resilience, confidence, and others. I was supported at all times, and APA gave me the tools to feel at home in this new city, with constant excursions, shows, and workshops.

The academic options available through APA are also incredible; being able to take courses at any Parisian university ensures that everyone will find what they want (or need), and you feel like a genuine French student rather than a visitor. Claire, Sophie, and Blandine are wonderful people as well as perfect help throughout the program. 3 years later, I now live in Paris, and I thank APA for giving me the base to continue living my dream. I'm so glad I chose APA!

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Alexa
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

BEST PROGRAM EVERRRR

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.
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Carew
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

An amazing semester

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.
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Sophia
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

I loved my semester with APA!

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.
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Taylor
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

APA: The Ultimate Parisian Experience

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
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Super Fun!!

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
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Excellent 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
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Absolument Incroyable

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
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Great, immersive experience in Paris

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.

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Julia
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Dakar: Experiencing Francophone West Africa in Senegal

As an African Studies and French Language student, one of my biggest complaints was the lack of French-language study abroad programs outside of the Western world, until I found APA Senegal. The program's course content gives students an in-depth experience in a rich culture and the opportunity to make connections to locals (many of which I keep in contact with and miss very much). Living with a host family was a very effective way to improve skills in speaking French, and I felt much more comfortable with the language after completing the program. Academics are very rigorous but students will learn a LOT of new information in their classes, not only in French language but about local culture, economics, and analytical skills. I highly recommend this program and definitely do not regret choosing APA or Senegal.

What would you improve about this program?
As one of the students who participated in the first year of the program, we were very involved in giving constructive criticism to the APA staff as well as the professors. One of my biggest concerns was that the neighborhood was a 20 minute walk away from the university, which I was assured would not be the case in the future. I also requested that following programs incorporate a bit more Wolof (the main local language).