Discover, study, explore Paris: The perfect balance

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Students at the Eiffel Tower, Paris
Students at the Eiffel Tower, Paris

About

The JYF program offers an advanced and immersive learning experience in Paris for qualified students from American colleges and universities. Through direct enrollment in Paris universities and access to courses in almost any major, JYF students benefit from a high quality academic program to suit their academic and language goals. Integration in French family life, internships, supportive advising and guided reflection help to deepen cultural immersion and language practice and allow for exploration of all facets of French life and culture. Our affordable program fee and generous scholarships make it possible for any qualified student to experience “la vie à la parisienne” for a semester or academic year.

Highlights
  • Variety of disciplines of study, internships and volunteering
  • Immersion in French university and family life
  • Emphasis on language and intercultural learning
  • Individualized student advising and support
  • All inclusive, moderate fee and generous scholarships

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Questions & Answers

Reviews

90%
based on 6 reviews
  • Academics 7.2
  • Support 9
  • Fun 8.7
  • Housing 8.8
  • Safety 8.7
Showing 1 - 6 of 6
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Alejandra
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I had the best 5 months of my life!

I loved my time in Paris. I lived with an incredibly kind and gracious host family. They became like a second set of parents to me and would cook the most amazing meals for me! I also made friends that will last a lifetime! We planned trips together and the program was always very accommodating of our travels by ensuring that Fridays were always free so that we could travel. The program was always there for me when I needed them! They helped me out with tutoring for economics courses that I took at one of the public French universities. The courses that I took with the program were also super great! They were very educational while keeping in mind that academics wasn't necessarily 100% our focus during our time abroad and were conscious about the time required to do the work assigned.
I had such a great time and recommend this program to anyone and everyone!

What was the most unfamiliar thing you ate?
I had rabbit and quail with my host parents! And the funny part is that I didn't even know that I was eating that at the time because I didn't recognize the names in French and had to go google the words after dinner!
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Mary Kate
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing and Immersive Experience in Paris

I loved all my classes in this program, I got so much better at French through my classes and talking to my host family. The program also organized two really fun excursions to two different parts of France. I loved the classes I took, and the fact that one of them was at a Parisian University. One of them was also a walking tour of Paris and every week we went to a new place in the city to learn and explore. I also got the opportunity to volunteer teaching English at an elementary school near me apartment which was a great opportunity. All in all this was an amazing opportunity and I loved my whole experience from my friends to my teachers to my host family! I would recommend this program to anyone who wants to learn more about Paris and France and get better at French.

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
I would bring my lunch to school to save money! I would also try to speak more French with my peers.
Default avatar
Madeleine
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

A Year to Remember

I was told my year abroad in Paris would be stressful. My mother, a former JYF student, warned of the difficulties getting by in a second language, adjusting to cultural differences, and maintaining hyper vigilance of my safety in a foreign city. She also extolled this program, asserting that it was a year of immense personal growth and unparalleled immersion into the French culture. Looking back, I can agree with the second part of her stance. I feel that students on this program receive so much academic and personal support from JYF's staff, host families, professors, and other students, that stress was the lowest it could possibly be while moving to a new country. JYF's staff was always ready to help students book doctor's appointments, set up a French bank account, communicate with our French university, and resolve pretty much any conflict that could worry a student abroad. Additionally, I found Paris to be an incredibly secure and easily navigated city. I reveled in the independence the city's metro brought me, for which JYF helped students buy a yearlong unlimited pass. Sweet Briar provides safety nets that ensure comfort but do not eradicate the need to learn self-sufficiency in a group of 20 year olds living in a foreign country. The classes taught at Sweet Briar were truly once in a lifetime opportunities, providing insights into French culture through architecture, art, immigration, and theatre. These courses were also great ways to explore the city. For my art history class, we spent an hour and a half in the Louvre or Musée d'Orsay each week, surrounded by famous paintings while our professor gave detailed histories on literally any work you could ask him about. A course on Paris's history through its monuments took us through a new neighborhood each week, and we were able to see period styles, monarchies, and revolutions come to life as our professor informed us on the riveting stories each site had to offer. After classes at JYF's office, I would walk 5 minutes to the Jardin du Luxembourg and picnic or stroll around the Latin Quarter. In the evenings, I came home to delicious four course meals with my host family and we discussed, theorized and debated a range of subjects at the dinner table, providing a quintessential French experience. Weekend excursions with Sweet Briar provided an itinerary packed with guided tours, exquisite meals, gorgeous views, and visits to remote sites that would be difficult for a student tourist to get to on their own. My personal favorite was a weekend we spent in the south of France. One afternoon we took our chartered bus to the Van Gogh museum, a former mental hospital where the artist lived, and painted Starry Night, in the countryside near Arles. This is one unforgettable experience from my year abroad with Sweet Briar. For anyone wanting an immersive cultural experience full of unique opportunities for study abroad, this is the best program I could imagine.

What would you improve about this program?
I can't think of any improvements.
Kevin Medansky
Kevin
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Endless Support

The number one aspect of my semester abroad with Sweet Briar College in Paris that will always stay with me was the endless support that every student received. There's an on-site staff of four people, while they have more professors taking care of all of the classes, for a grand total of about 20 students each semester. This meant that whenever I needed anything at all, there was no wait-time for getting help. The program partially focuses on signing students up for courses at a local university in Paris--for me, it was the Sorbonne Nouvelle, Paris 3--but they don't just leave students hanging. We each had a top-notch advising session, where we looked at all of the classes offered and heard feedback from previous students about some of the available options. Then, they either registered us for the classes from their own office, or they walked us directly to see each of the departments' secretaries, to guarantee that we would be registered for our courses, and that all would be well. A few weeks into the semester, this initial support was dovetailed both with lengthy meetings about our academics, and how we feel overall about the university at which we take classes, and about our host families. With the goal of providing every student a built-in opportunity to practice French, each student was guaranteed a host family, and such housing was strongly recommended by everyone in the program. And yet, they didn't just assign us to host families and move onto the next thing. They asked us multiple times throughout the semester about how our relationships with the host families were developing, asking pinpointed questions that demonstrated both how much they were listening to us about the subject, but about how much they genuinely cared about our stay in France. They educated us about culture shock in ways most other programs, and most people at my home university, never really do, and they also provided students with free therapy, for even more individual and personal support. Throughout the semester, some of the in-house professors served as tutors both for the Sweet Briar classes and the ones at the various Paris universities, so each week, I received free tutoring for as long as I wanted, all throughout the semester. The group also engaged in a few paid-for excursions, including one to Lille and another throughout Provence, which included high quality housing, three-course meals, and all of the planning performed by someone else--so that all of the students could relax on these miniature vacations! Overall, though, throughout the semester, at any moment of need, from preparing for coursework, to practicing for an improvised speech competition at the local university, the staff was consistently there to help us out, and do whatever they could to make our stay a positive one.

What would you improve about this program?
I think there were some issues with the WiFi in the office, but nothing too major!
Read my full story
Alexia
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Semester @ JYF

My semester abroad could have not gone smoother.
I went abroad for the cultural immersion and JYF gave me just that. I was nervous to be immersed, especially since I started taking French only three semesters before (Fall sophomore year), but JYF supported me in every way they could. All my classes were in French and I had to speak French with my host family (since they did not speak English). Having 6 meals/week with my host family was perfect for me; it forced me to speak and practice my French very often. JYF paired me with the perfect host family, a family that I will always stay in touch with. The classes were not necessarily difficult, but I did not go abroad to be challenged academically; I had that at Williams College and I wanted to focus on language and cultural immersion, which as I said above, worked. I wished that my colleagues spoke more French to each other, but that is on the students who attend the program, not the program itself.
The office is there to support you, so if you have any questions, do not hesitate to ask! From the summer before I went abroad, the office was super helpful on helping me out with questions and the application. While abroad, they helped me navigate the university system and checked in with me about my host family. They even helped me find an internship here in Paris!

Default avatar
Eve
5/10
Yes, I recommend this program

A wonderful experience!

JYF allows eager college students the opportunity to go to Paris and immerse themselves fully in French culture. You live with a host family, take classes at French universities, and are expected to speak french primarily. While these opportunities do allow for immersion, given that the program is comprised entirely of American students, it is hard to ever fully immerse yourself in the unknown culture and language. There are times you find yourself speaking more English than French, and you can choose to isolate yourself from your host family so as to only interact with them at meals. It takes a lot of agency on the part of the student to decide not to opt out and to fully embrace the discomfort that comes with being an exchange student.

What would you improve about this program?
They should offer more intensive French courses through the program. Also the academic offering through the program should be more rigorous. While our classes were taught in French, they weren't very challenging. The JYF professors should be more strict about abiding by the language pledge.

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About Sweet Briar College-JYF in Paris

The JYF program offers an advanced and immersive learning experience in Paris for qualified students from American colleges and universities. Through direct enrollment in Paris universities and access to courses in almost any major, JYF students...