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Program Reviews

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Basil
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

My 1.5 Semesters at IAU Aix

Just a quick note, my time in Aix may be a bit different from most people's, as I was a student at the art school, which is outside of town. The walk between IAU, my host house, and the art school never felt too long, and I never considered getting a bike or a bus pass. My experience at Marchutz turned out far better than I expected. I wanted to try a full semester of heavy focus in the arts, and I was finally able to do that at IAU, as well as improve my French greatly and study regional art history at the source. The program was mostly full of juniors and seniors in college, but also a few adult students, a retiree, and a few people with families of their own. It was a pretty good mix of personalities and interests. Everything went so well that I decided halfway through that there was no way one semester was going to be enough, and I applied for a second semester in the spring.

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
I would definitely go to more school events and take advantage of all the things they offered. I missed out on quite a bit the first semester, but I went to things for the part of the second semester that I was able to stay for.
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Ariel
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

12 Weeks in Barcelona - IAU

Studying abroad is one of the greatest investments I have ever made for myself. There’s not much I can say to compare, but studying through IAU is in large part what made it all possible. In high school, we had the opportunity to study two years of Spanish. While I am thankful, this is all we had. I grew up speaking one language but seeking more.

If it wasn’t for IAU, me being given the opportunity to immerse myself in a country that speaks a different language than my own, studying and interning, would have been slim. I wouldn’t have had the capacity to communicate. IAU found professors willing to meet me and my colleagues where we were at in terms of language and provided me with an internship understanding and willing to speak English. IAU pushed me to try my best at immersing myself with the locals through practicing my Spanish and steering me to where locals acquaint.

At every moment, I was treated with respect. There was never a moment where I felt like a burden to faculty; full attention would be granted to me if there was something needed to be followed by additional half-hour 1:1 conversation about cultural differences. IAU pushed me out of my comfort zone, and I am confident saying that I have grown tremendously as a person through studying abroad.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Many speak Catalan but try and speak Spanish over English!
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Sophie
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

IAU Barcelona summer internship

Taking a summer course through IAU along with completing an internship for credit has helped me grow academically, professionally and personally. Throughout the duration of my stay in Spain, the staff continuously offered support and guidance that I may have needed, making me feel apart of their community. Their willingness to accommodate what was best for me specifically helped individualize my experience for optimal growth. IAU genuinely cared about my experience outside of the classroom as well. Although our weekends were free for us to travel and explore, there was one weekend excursion, already planned and paid for. Each weekend the staff extended invitations to give tours throughout the city and suggested many activities for our free time.

What was the most unfamiliar thing you ate?
After meeting local college students in the apartments we stayed at, we were invited to one of their favorite restaurants. They introduced me to snails, or escargot. I was not huge fan, but it definitely added to my cultural experiences!
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Allison
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Say "Yes"

Jump out of your comfort box and go abroad to Aix-en provence France. The school is amazing and offers you lots of resources. I recommend taking French and getting to know your professors. The community is beautiful and very easy to get around. I found the french residents to be very kind. I live with a host family, who took care of me and gave me love away from home. My overall trip was incredible. I felt safe and very free to do what I wanted. I highly recommend going on the bus tours that the school plans for you. IAU will not disappoint you take the leap and go!

What would you improve about this program?
It was perfect!
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Gina
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

IAU Jterm Multi-country

The professors that went on the trip were wonderful. Incredibly smart and knowledgeable on the material but were also fun, out going, and personable. Each hotel we stayed at was very different. Some were good, some were not so good but we only stayed at each hotel for a maximum of 3 nights so it was never a big issue. We did so many things each day and really took advantage of all the sight seeing. I learned a lot and was exhausted after the trip but i look back fondly of my time aboard. It was really an incredible experience and I miss it.

What would you improve about this program?
Be more clear in course description and course objectives so students understand the course before they go on the trip.

Have more descriptive meal options.. ex: I am not a vegetarian therefore I didnt select the “vegetarian” option before going abroad. But after realizing several meals were prepared and were seafood, i had wished I said i was vegetarian because I dont eat seafood
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Gabriella
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

La Belle Vie à Aix

The French Honors Program at IAU College was a fantastic experience that I highly recommend! I attended in the fall of 2011 and made so many friends that I continue to hear from today. This program is especially great for those who want to polish their French language skills, as students live with host families and sign a contract to speak only in French. If this sounds a little intimidating, students can transition into French around the clock, as not all students at IAU College opt to sign the language contract.

The program becomes what you make of it, and if you work hard to speak, read, and write in French as much as possible, the reward of your improved language skills will clearly present itself over time to you, your friends, host family, professors, and community members living in Aix and elsewhere in France!

When I attended in 2011, many of the students drawn to the program were also interested in meaningful experiences with the French people and culture, which made the program that much better! Give IAU College a try, and you won't be disappointed!

What would you improve about this program?
As someone who wanted to have as much interaction as possible with the French people and culture, I found it was sometimes difficult to break out of the fun and vibrant group of IAU College students, in order to meet more French people of similar age. IAU College does offer a community club/sports/recreational activities introduction day at the start of semesters, and I encourage all students to take advantage and try to jump into any of these group and activities if you want to create a more immersive experience for yourself!
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Elizabeth
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Bonding with a host family

The homestay experience is a great opportunity to further your language skills, get an inside understanding of the culture, and develop relationships with locals. My experience was mostly positive. I was in a family of a single mom and 12 year old host sister, along with my roommate. They were kind and providing to us, despite a few misunderstandings. One experience I particularly enjoyed was when our host mom and sister took us paddle boarding in the Mediterranean. Overall I was very thankful for the opportunity to stay in a host family and would strongly recommend it to others.

What would you improve about this program?
While I had a positive homestay experience, not all of my friends were as fortunate. I'm not sure of the details of the process to change host families, but that could potentially be made more clear or easier.
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Liam
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Integration Amidst Crumbling

This J-Term gave me the tools and perspective to understand the history, the evolution of political context, and the role of religion in every region we visited. It gave me a framework with which I could begin to understand what's going on across Europe: nationalism, regionalism, religious abandonment and reinvigoration, secularism, fear, and hope. The program, along with its stellar staff gave me the resources to see everything from Paris to the Magreb with a newly-illuminated and full perspective.

What would you improve about this program?
Give more realistic reading loads and homework assignments!
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Jackson
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Aix-en-Provence, an International Adventure

Studying abroad in Aix-en-Provence, France in my fall semester of junior year was so much more than just a ‘French’ semester abroad. I continued my International Studies coursework that consisted of classes dealing with the contemporary social and political climates in France, as well as a course about the unity and expansion of the European Union taught by an American ex-pat. A history course taught through the exploration of antique monuments and a course on international wine marketing and analysis rounded out my schedule. I enjoyed the balance of learning about big-picture, macro-level ideas and institutions, while still concentrating on topics inherently Provençal.
In giving advice about my experience, a lot of talk has come up about travel abroad being 'study tourism.' Thus, I implore those who are wanting to study in France to actively take advantage of what this amazing country has to offer and not be overcome with having to travel every weekend. I visited only places that I knew I would never have the chance of seeing again.

What would you improve about this program?
Coming from a prestigious liberal arts college in the US, the level of academics was not up to par to what I have here. Also, I think the program could offer more in terms of actively helping students contact members of the local community to pursue actives they are interested in. I basically took it upon myself to find a community where I could continue practicing and training for tennis, the sport I play collegiately in the US.
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Lizzy
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Building Freindships

The beautiful thing about IAU's location in France is how it is situated perfectly in the center of Aix-en-Provence. The size of the town is about the same as a medium/large sized college in the United States, so overwhelming size isn't something you need to think about on top of everything that comes along with being in a different country. The best part is that you really have a chance to get to know the locals, especially students who attend the French college just around the corner. Having the ability to immerse myself by getting to know actual people like me who are local made all the difference.

What would you improve about this program?
I would focus on housing and how to deal with any snags students have with the homestay policy.
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