A Great Summer

Growth: 8
Support: 10
Fun: 10
Housing: 9
Safety: 9

This is a great program if you want to explore various parts of Paris and French culture while learning the language. The whole experience is packed with activities from day one, so there is never much time to feel bored or homesick. One experience that was particularly memorable was seeing the fireworks at the Eiffel Tower on Bastille Day (July 14th). Alongside seeing all the big attractions like the Notre Dame and Versailles, we also saw a variety of attractions such as a famous cemetery and old neighbourhoods which you wouldn't typically think of when you think Paris. Don't be scared off by the sample itinerary posted on the website, as there are never full activity days at the residence and the only group activities are fun nightly games. I went with a friend, and while it made the entire experience significantly more fun and enjoyable, it didn't stop us from making good friends and socializing with everyone. However, if you're unused to being abroad and away from home, I would recommend bringing a friend to make the entire experience even more memorable. There were a variety of cultures present, but most of the kids were American and Spanish. Although there were occasional language and cultural barriers, we all spent the trip sharing various things about our own countries which made for an interesting mix. There was also another camp going on at the same time as ours, and we sometimes had activities with them. The guides were fun and flexible, they accompanied us everywhere whilst still giving us free time everywhere we went, and even allowed us to go out for dinner. Some of them only spoke little English, which sometimes made communication difficult, but also made for a great opportunity to practice French. They were also not Parisian, which sometimes made navigation through the city difficult, but we survived the whole trip without any major mishaps. The food at the residence was very good. While it was cantine-style and nothing fancy, there was a variety of meals throughout the trip, with lots of local cheeses and fish. Keeping an open mind is important. The French classes were also good. We had proper professors who came in to teach us every morning, and my teacher used the time to teach little things and review concepts we'd gotten wrong as a class on our placement tests. This was very helpful and effective, as 2 weeks isn't really enough time to fully cover any major new concepts. We also spent the time writing and putting on a skit which was a lot of fun.

One thing to note that doesn't seem to be clear is that we were not actually in France with Greenheart themselves, but with a French agency titled CEI (Centre d'Exchanges Internationaux). This did not pose a problem in any way, as the two agencies are partnered, but was merely confusing when it came to details such as airport pickup.

Would you recommend this program?
Yes, I would
Year Completed