PROGRAM TYPES

CONNECT WITH US

IES Abroad participants in Sydney Opera IES Abroad participants in Sydney Opera

IES Abroad Paris - French Studies Semester/Year Program

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    10

My Paris adventures

I studied with IES Paris in spring 2016. Overall, I thought it was a life changing experience; I was able to improve my French language skills and immerse myself in French culture. When I was looking into study abroad programs, I was particularly interested in a program that would help me improve my language skills because I am majoring in French. With IES abroad, I wasn’t disappointed at all. At IES, all classes were small and taught completely in French with French professors. Also, the classes all centered around France or French culture. In particular, I really enjoyed my Paris museums class because we got to take weekly field trips to different art museums. I was able to learn a lot, and explore Paris. In addition, I also got to take a psychology class at Paris 8 University with French students. It was definitely a challenge, but I was glad to have the opportunity to get a taste of French university life. While living in Paris, I lived with a French family. They were very welcoming, and definitely helped me adjust to living in Paris. I enjoyed having dinner with them three times a week, and getting to enjoy their homemade French cuisine.
Paris is really a beautiful and wondrous city. There is always something to do, and I was never bored. There are so many monuments, parks, sights, museums, restaurants, and bars. I go to school in the country, so it was so refreshing to always have so much to do. It’s very easy to get around Paris because of the metro. It’s also very easy to travel on the weekend because IES doesn’t have class on Friday. Also, IES has field trips to other parts of France, so students can get a glimpse of life outside of Paris. During the semester, I went to Fontainebleau, the Loire valley, Reims and Giverny.
So, in short, I would highly recommend this program to anyone who is thinking about studying abroad!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    10

A moveable feast

To participate in IES Paris - French Studies was probably one of the most judicious decision I’ve ever made in my college life. I’ve been dreaming about living in Paris for years, and the semester I spent there was absolutely fabulous and life-changing.
I took 5 classes including an internship seminar during the semester. All classes are taught exclusively in french, which was a challenge at first, but later on was proven to be quite instrumental to both my linguistic adequacy and cultural integration. The difference between the US and French education systems may contribute to some professors’ being “not helpful” at first, but as we learn to adapt the french classroom, it becomes clear that they genuinely want to help. The workload was enough to help us fully understand the class, and yet not too much that we wouldn't have time living and exploring (classes are only from Monday to Thursday, yay!). I interned with a local humanitarian NGO, which turned out to be very fulfilling and rewarding. The objective of the organization was noble and of my great interest, and the nature of the intern was in perfect accordance with my major which is international affairs. I will not go into details regarding what my specific responsibilities were, but as an intern I worked 12 hours per week, meaning I would go to class in the morning and head straight to work as soon as class ended. While this was quite a busy schedule, it really made me feel as if I was a true parisian (what with the coursework and the job, not to mention all the hurried footsteps and subway taking).
As for my lodgement, I was very fortunate to have been placed in a homestay in the 4ere arrondissement. By foot, I was 3 minutes away from La Seine, 7 minutes away from La Bastille and St. Paul, and 20 minutes away from Chatelet. I would go jogging at night, and before I knew it I was standing right in front of le Louvre or Le Cathedral de Notre Dame. My host mom was very kind and welcoming. Not only did she introduce me to her family and friends, she offered to take me on tours of Montmartre and gave me advice on finding the less touristy places in Paris, a few of which had later on become me and my friends’ “spot” by the end of the semester.
For the 3-day weekends, I would go on museum tours, go clubbing with friends, enjoy some french patisserie at a local café, or just wander. Time flies by so fast when you’re preoccupied, and in Paris I would just be walking all day without realizing how many hours it’d been. Most of Paris was entrenched in art, history and beauty, making walking through it nothing else than walking in a dream.
In order to have a comprehensive understanding of what it’s like living in France, the IES Paris-French Studies program also offered us quite a few opportunities for excursions outside of Paris, including trips to Reims, Giverny, and Amboise. This was a great opportunity for me to see the cultural differences between different regions in France.
The semester I spent in Paris was absolutely fantastic, but it became so much more than just a semester abroad. As Ernest Hemingway said, “If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.” The appreciation of art and beauty, the taste of love and friendship, and the mindset of balance and tranquility…They struck me when I was in Paris. Thanks to IES Abroad, they are now ingrained in me and will always accompany me in the days to come.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    9

Magnifique!

The biggest problem I had while studying abroad was that I didn't go for the whole year! It was truly an amazing experience, and I grew as a person and a French student. The language immersion was very helpful with my French skills, as well as the all-French academic portion. The students were all very serious and I feel as if everyone got the most out of the program! The trips with IES were fun and informational, I suggest going on as many as you can.

The homestay that I was placed in was a perfect fit and although it was a bit far from the center, I was always near a metro stop. The IES center is located in a beautiful area of Montparnasse, surrounded by restaurants and fun shops. Inside, it was the perfect place to relax and study; I always looked forward to going to classes and hanging out at the center. The staff were all friendly and understanding.

I also participated in the internship class offered by IES, and I am so thankful for that opportunity. Being an education major, I was placed in an international school with a class of second graders. Although it was mainly in English, the international environment and the rigors of teaching a diverse group of children was incredible. While it was not easy to balance classes and internship, I highly recommend doing an outside class/internship.

Choosing to study abroad was probably the best decision I have made yet, and I am so happy I chose to study with IES. Living in Paris for four months made me realize that I really would love to live in France in the future, and I've already started applying for teaching programs in France after graduation! Thank you IES for this amazing experience!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    8

Très bien!

It is January 8th, 2016, and what better way to start off the new year than by traveling to Paris, France? For years, it had been my dream to live in the City of Lights, and it is because of IES Abroad that that dream became a reality. By enrolling in their French Studies Program, I was given one hundred and fifteen days to explore and experience France. Every day in the country was an adventure. I would start each morning by eating a traditional French breakfast with my host mother. In between bites of bread and cheese, we would talk about everything under the sun, from fashion to French politics, from traveling to television. Afterwards, I would hop on the Metro to go to the IES Center, where I usually had two or three classes a day. The IES Abroad staff and faculty really took it upon themselves to provide students with an authentic French educational experience. Not only were classes taught exclusively in French, but they were also structured to mirror the typical French classroom. Staff and faculty members were genuinely concerned with student learning, and they encouraged students to not only practice speaking French but also immerse themselves in the city. During my four months abroad, I went on several IES Abroad-sponsored field trips. We visited many places in Paris, including the Notre Dame Cathedral, the Louis Vuitton Foundation, the Montparnasse Tower, and the Place de Vosges. We also had the opportunity to travel to other nearby towns, including Reims, Giverny, and Amboise. However, even without a field trip planned, there was always something to do in Paris once class let out. Some days I would brave the more touristy areas, such as the Louvre Museum, the Sacre-Coeur Basilica, and, of course, the Eiffel Tower. Other days I would chill at a café with friends, where we would laugh and converse over small shots of espresso. There were even times where I would take my camera, ride the Metro to some random station, and just start walking, photographing everything I saw along the way. In doing this, I got to see the real Paris, the one that cannot be seen in just a week’s visit. In just one afternoon stroll, I could find a new patisserie, stumble upon some rad street art, and learn of where to buy French fashion for cheap. The evening usually ended with me returning back home to video chat with friends back in the United States. Study abroad was life changing for me. Never before had I imagined that I would be capable of living in another country by myself. But IES Abroad really helped in ensuring that I found my home away from home. The staff and faculty were there whenever I needed a crutch, but they also encouraged me to go out, be brave, and make the city my own. Now, thanks to this experience, I have a city that I dream of going back to, a city that I miss, and a city that I can call home.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    9

Fantastic semester in Paris, France!

Studying abroad in Paris with the IES Abroad French Studies Program was an incredible experience. I was matched with the most incredible host mother, and roommate from the same program, and we all got along so well; you could tell that IES had taken the time to match people well based on what they had asked for in their housing applications. I took 4 classes at the IES center: History of Paris, Modern Art, Creative Writing, and Grammar, and developed a huge appreciation and love for history and art (two subjects I've never been too interested in) thanks to the talented and engaging IES professors, all of whom were native French people. I took two other classes at a local art school, and found myself going to 3 hour classes twice a week, surrounded by talented Parisian artists, whom I shared cheese/bread/wine breaks with halfway through class each time. The culture there, which I found was highly focused on working hard at work, thoroughly relaxing and enjoying time away from work, savoring food at mealtimes, and always appreciating the art and culture and history embedded throughout the city, was a culture I had never witnessed before, and one which I fell completely in love with. IES Abroad gave us the toolkit to experience it all, through encouraging us to go to cultural events and meet French people, giving us incentives to challenge ourselves and always speak in French, providing us with the kindest guidance from their staff, the most inspiring professors, and through of course having its location in the very heart of Paris, where we were able to go to any and all of the most beautiful spots within 20-30 minutes after class; I wish I could go back already!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    9

Semester Abroad in Paris, 2015!

My Study Abroad experience was nothing short of life altering. I participated in a French Studies Program in Paris, France. The program has a 100% French curriculum meaning all of my classes, assignments, and exams were in French. There were 44 of us total which meant the class sizes were pretty small, about 8-12 students in each of my classes. The coursework was challenging yet doable, and I admit harder than I expected prior to going. Yet I have no complaints because the curriculum greatly improved my French and I made several lifelong friends in this program. To give you an idea of the classes I took History of Photography, Paris Cinema, History of the Maghreb World, and a grammar class that emphasized discussion of current events and issues in France. The program also offered many excursion events which allowed us to have an even greater appreciation of the city and all it has to offer!

For housing accommodations I lived with a host family in a suburb just outside of Paris. This meant I had an hour commute to school every day which had its drawbacks, but on the plus side I got along great with my host family and I enjoyed the area I lived in. I’m still in touch with my host family and I’m very thankful for how kind and generous my host mom was! The initial culture shock is not easy but my host mom and her son made me feel so welcome. While abroad I also had an internship as an English instructor at French middle school. My job was to teach age appropriate lessons related to American culture to groups of students ages 12-14. My internship was one of the best parts of my experience abroad and I highly recommend doing an internship while abroad! Lastly, during my time abroad I had the chance to travel to Portugal, Ireland, and Belgium. Traveling is definitely one of the best aspects of going abroad but there was plenty to see and do while in Paris such as going to museums, cultural events, open mic and poetry events with friends, etc.

But the best part of going abroad was simply getting to experience and explore a different city with a completely different culture and language than I’m used to and getting to know the locals that live there. It makes you grow in ways you never thought of and challenges you every day and I’m very thankful I went.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Becoming a Parisian

I had the wonderful opportunity to study abroad with IES in Paris the spring semester of 2015. From start to finish, this was one of the best experiences of my life. As soon as I arrived with my host family I knew that I had an instant home in Paris, and I still keep in touch with my host mom from time to time. IES allowed me to create a second family in this beautiful city that invites me to remain a part of it whenever I'm near them. Living in a home stay allowed me to fully experience the city as a true Parisian.

My academic life with IES allowed me to both experience cultural immersion by taking a class at a local university and become a part of a very tight-knit group of American students by taking classes taught by French professors at the IES center. This mix of classes created both new and familiar experiences in a foreign city that took a lot of stress off of what could have been a very disorienting assimilation into the Parisian culture.

IES made incredible efforts to create a welcoming environment for its students and to provide a great cultural experience. IES tuition fees included several trips to wonderful locations (for me that included Nimes, Tours, Reims, and Giverny) that allow students in the program to bond as well as experience the cultural diversity of France. IES also held monthly contests to win some amazing cultural experiences around Paris, like a free brunch at the world-renowned restaurant Angelina or a ticket to a performance of Swan Lake.

Overall, IES helped make my semester in Paris more than a one-time experience. It allowed me to transform into a functioning and contributing member of the Parisian society in a way that I would've previously thought impossible. That semester with IES has transformed me into a part-time Parisian, and for me that experience is priceless.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    7

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    7

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Improvement in language and life in general

Studying abroad experience with IES was an opportunity for me to gain French language skill, be independent, and learn cultures. Going to Paris all by myself when I am not confident with the language was a huge challenge, yet I knew that I would have life time experience and lesson from studying abroad. Indeed, this study abroad experience has changed my life.

Through this study abroad, I have gained lessons both academically and personally. IES really challenged students to emerge into culture and French language. All my classes were in French, and I had French host family which contributed to the improvement of my French ability. Whenever I had questions about French culture and French language itself, not only I had my French professors, but also my host family. They were all happy to teach me what they know, and further explain it to help my understanding. Living with a French host family has taught me different life style than I previously have experienced. IES did a great job of matching host families and really cared how it is like, and when people have questions or problems, they could easily talk to one of the staffs and figure things out. All the staffs at IES really want you to improve and achieve the goal you come in with, and they are all super helpful.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Social Life

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Academics

    10

Best decision I ever made!

i really enjoyed my time with ies. I got to explore a great city, be immersed in a great culture and study the things that I love. The people were great and the teachers were as well! I really learned a lot from the courses I took both at the center and at the outside institution I studied at(the ecole normale de musique). I'd definitely recommend this program!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Social Life

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Academics

    10

“Once-in-a-lifetime experience”

Many people have told me that studying abroad is a “once-in-a-lifetime experience.” After completing my program in Paris, France, I realized just how true that statement was. I had so many adventures while I was abroad, and I also had the opportunity to make life-long relationships. All this was possible through my program!
IES Abroad is a great program that helps students dive into the culture by providing many excursions and opportunities to learn about the important aspects of that culture.
Through the program, I also got to meet my host family, and I am so thankful that IES placed me with them. It was an incredible experience to live with them and be a part of their lives.
I really recommend the French Studies program with IES because 1) your French will be greatly improved, 2) you will meet awesome people in your program, and 3) the activities IES provides are really fun and engaging. Overall, IES Abroad is the perfect program to participate in for that “once-in-a-lifetime experience.”

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Simply marvelous!

A most amazing and wonderful program! I most highly recommend IES Abroad Paris to anyone considering studying in France’s capital city of Paris. When I began my search for an abroad program, I looked online, I talked to my adviser and I attended my university’s study abroad fair in the fall. I just kept being drawn to the IES program and I am so glad that I chose to go abroad with them. Before arriving in Paris, my IES adviser in Chicago contacted me and answered any and all of my crazy questions. They walked me through how to go about applying for a student visa and then what to expect upon arrival in my host country. I felt very prepared. I read all of the information provided by IES and received my housing placement about three weeks before my departure. I was super nervous at first, but then everything just kind of fell into place. I arrived in Paris and moved in with my host parents, who were some of the coolest people in the city! The housing coordinator had matched us up perfectly and they really helped me to integrate into French culture. The entire staff at IES Abroad Paris includes some of the nicest people you’ll ever meet and no question is ever too dumb or too weird to ask. Believe me; I’m sure I must have asked some. I was able to tour different parts of France with the trips organized by IES as well as take classes at a French university where I could truly immerse myself in the culture. The IES Abroad Paris program is simply delightful and I just wish I could do it all over again 

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Perfectly Paris

I cannot begin to describe what wonderful experience I had abroad. The administration and staff of IES were more than just helpful, they were inspiring and encouraging to all of the students. The academics of the program were definitely challenging, but in the end, the experience, knowledge, and language improvement is all worth it. IES is very organized and put together, and my questions were always answered in a timely manner. The set up of the program is a perfect way to place students into a whole new culture abroad in a prepared way. While I was nervous to go, I never felt alone or confused because IES had prepared us for everything in advance.
I cannot praise the staff at the actual Paris center more, as they were so kind and helpful always. They were always available to answer course questions, travel concerns, give advice, or just talk to. While being homesick does happen, the staff and other students are so helpful to talk to, since they have all been through the study abroad experience.
Finally, Paris is a beautiful city with amazing opportunities. Staff at the IES center truly helped students take advantage of what Paris had to offer and what France had to offer as well. Day trips to other cities were very well planned out and offered us the chance to explore the country as a whole, rather than just our city or leaving for other countries every weekend. In addition, the program understands that we are students and we came to study abroad in order to have new experiences and travel. While academics were challenging and rigorous, the program understood that travelling was a goal of many students, and therefore classes are schedules Mondays-Thursdays only to allow students time to be truly immersed in different cultures.
Overall, this was an amazing experience and I wouldn't change it for the world. IES is an amazing program and I highly recommend them to anyone interested in study abroad.
Happy travels!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    8

Overall Wonderful Experience

Having the opportunity to study abroad in Paris, France was truly the chance of a lifetime. The staff at IES truly made me comfortable both with my studies and living in Paris in general. Day to day life in Paris took some getting used to, but after a couple weeks, things like the metro became second nature. Another positive of the program was having all of the classes taught in French; this was something I found intimidating before my arrival but I really can't imagine not having this component of the program. My French speaking and comprehension skills improved drastically because of the classes, staff, and my home stay. Definitely take advantage of Paris as a city; you can learn just as much from walking around and visiting museums and monuments as you would from a textbook. Don't be intimidated by the language and people; they may seem impatient which might make you nervous about speaking with them, but they truly are patient and want to help you learn. One piece of advice is to become as familiar with the metro as possible - it will truly become your best friend when trying to get around the city! It took me a bit to get used to, but once you get familiar with it, you will be so grateful.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    5

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    7

  • Health and Safety

    8

  • Social Life

    8

Life and Language in a Big City

My semester with IES in Paris was challenging, sometimes frustrating, but overall rewarding. They did an excellent job of screening and matching me with my host family, and we are still in touch to this day. IES was great upon the initial arrival with helping the students set up phones, metro passes, and other incidentals. I definitely felt like the people in the center were there when I needed extra guidance and my professors were generally kind and welcoming. The semester was pretty short though (think 15 weeks) so I would have liked to stay longer. Academics weren't super challenging, however, that isn't necessarily a bad thing when you're doing classes in a different language.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    N/A

  • Social Life

    N/A

Great experience, tout en francais!

I had an AMAZING time. You'll learn so much. The professors and staff are great resources and can help you get the most out of your time. Generally a very high caliber of student. I lived in a homestay, which was great, but you can live in apartments too. Overall a solid program with lots of great benefits!

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    6

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    9

Studying Abroad in Paris

I studied abroad in Paris, France for the Spring semester of 2016 with IES. Overall, it was an incredible experience. The staff at the center were so welcoming and almost immediately made me feel more calm and excited about the program once I arrived for orientation. The professors were all very knowledgeable and were also willing to talk to us about any cultural differences or questions we might have. I also really enjoyed living in a homestay. My host mom was an incredible cook and also enjoyed talking to us about cultural differences between the U.S. and France so that we could learn more about France. The only complaint I would have is that I requested a host family where they would treat me like a member of the family, however, although I felt comfortable in the apartment, I really felt more like a guest than "family." I wish my host mom would have made a little more of an effort to show me even just a few things in the city, but, although she was very nice, she basically did the minimum by cooking dinner three nights per week.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    8

Taste of a New Culture

Studying abroad in Paris was easily the best decision of my life. It allowed me to finally experience a culture that I had been learning about in textbooks for 6 years. I learned more about the French culture in the 4 months abroad than I had throughout the years in French class. I believe anyone studying a language or culture must travel and see that culture first-hand.

At IES, I took 5 courses all in French: French Literature, French Language in Context, Paris Museums, an internship seminar and I also took a phonetics course at Université Catholique de Paris. The course load I will admit was more than expected, but it was also key to helping me improve my French and boost my confidence in the language. My grammar course in particular focused on current events and hot topics in France and for that reason I enjoyed this class the most.

I also stayed with a great host family on the southwest side of Paris right in between the Arc de Triomphe and the Eiffel Tower. Needless to say, my commute was always a pleasant one. My host family was very informative on where to go and what to see in Paris, dinner was always phenomenal, and the girls were around the same age as me so we would often talk about pop culture and current events at the dinner table. I'm lucky I got to stay with a family with such a great sense of humor. And my host mom was an amazing artist! She's going to be having an art expo of her own very soon!

The IES Center itself was a great place to be. There is a beautiful garden just outside of the classrooms and student lounge. The lounge has a piano and there is also a computer lab located in the basement of the student center along with a small library. I would often spend time here getting homework done or just hanging out with friends between and after classes.

IES also helped me get an internship while abroad. I interned with a market research firm and learned a lot about the work culture in France first-hand, which was supplemented by class reading in my internship seminar.

I will always remember and cherish the 4 months I spent abroad. In a beautiful city like Paris, any where you turn is a history lesson, a beautiful monument, a work of art.

Everyday I learned something new, faced and overcome hurdles, and everyday I grew. I grew to realize that different parts of the world do things differently, and with different motivations. Studying abroad has only deeper encouraged me to keep traveling and keep exploring the world and the cultures that call it home.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    7

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    6

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Health and Safety

    8

  • Social Life

    7

IES Paris- French Studies Spring 2015

This program was great! The academics were less rigorous than I am used to at my home school which allowed for more time to explore Paris and spend time with friends. Also no classes on Fridays allowed us three day weekends which was perfect for traveling around Europe.
I loved my homestay and most students also had a really positive experience with their host families!
The staff at IES were really great and helpful, and all the other program participants were really friendly!

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    8

Nothing is better than Paris in the spring

I spent an incredible semester studying in Paris, France this past spring thanks to IES. The IES staff members showed their dedication to their students by helping and supporting us at every step of our program. They made the transition to and from my home university easy and put in the effort to make us feel at home in a foreign city.

My host family was one of the best parts of my study abroad experience. Through my conversations with my host parents I learned more about French culture and language than I ever could in a classroom setting. My host parents were kind, funny, caring and welcoming. Their generosity alleviated any homesickness that I was feeling, and their advice helped me make the most of my time in Paris.

My courses at the IES center made me aware of the beauty and complexity of Paris and helped me confront cultural differences better. IES also guided me through the process of interviewing and securing an internship at a famous art gallery. My internship gave me the confidence to engage in conversations with French speakers, which led me to meeting three Parisian artists.

IES staff members also dedicated a lot of time to organizing field trips and activities for their students. During my semester I traveled to Nimes, Aigues-Mortes, Avignon, Reims, Giverny, Deauville, Versailles, Fontainebleu, Amsterdam, Berlin and Prague. Thanks to IES contests and activities, I won tickets to see Swan Lake at the Opera Bastille ballet, a private street art tour, and brunch at Angelina’s. Some of my favorite memories included visiting Paris’ Grande Mosquee, spending a night in the catacombs, touring champagne caves, drinking tea at a cat café, going to the theatre, wandering for hours through Paris’ streets and museums, and making new friends who shared these experiences with me.

My semester with IES is one that I will cherish, and I hope that other students who share my love for travel, adventure, and culture will choose an IES program for their semester abroad.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    9

A powerful, unforgettable, amazing experience

The IES staff hosted excursions into the city and encouraged interactions with French people. By the end of the semester, I no longer felt like a tourist; I felt like I knew the city -- and that was a wonderful feeling. During my time abroad, I learned to be flexible and adventurous. I gained a sense of adventure and look forward to the possibilities in life. I grew into a more confident person, and I am so happy that I had this opportunity abroad.

My “famille d'accueil” (host family) was an older retired couple living on the outskirts of Paris. My homestay was very satisfying and rewarding, and I formed a great relationship with them. The food during my semester was delicious. Dinner with my host family was always great. For lunch, it is important to note, the IES center itself does not have a cafeteria or cafe. Luckily, there are a number of wonderful bakeries and restaurants within an easy walk of the center. And you can always bring your lunch with you -- that is what many of us did.

The healthcare program with this program is great, and the staff is very helpful and supportive if you need assistance in this area. Like any big city, late-night Paris is somewhere you should always be aware of your surroundings. Always have a buddy in bars and at parties. It is a very international and tourist-oriented city. Just be smart, and you'll be fine. Being a cosmopolitan city, Paris is also quite expensive, from food, to entertainment, to shopping, to going out. But, it is definitely manageable - and worth it - if you learn to budget correctly and not over-spend. I spent approximately 60 euros per week on expenses, which is about $80 per week. A tip to save money: Make your lunch at home! Grocery shopping for the week and packing a lunch saves a lot of money. Those 5 euro sandwiches can really add up. Take advantage of picnic opportunities. Plus then you'll have extra money for pastries :) Also, drinks at bars are expensive. So buying a bottle of wine for a few euros at the grocery store before going to the bar is a great trick.

Being in the French Studies program, all of my classes were in French. During our time spent within the IES center, we were encouraged by our professors and the staff to speak in French. There was even an award at the end of the semester for people who spoke the most French outside of class! It definitely pays off to practice with your friends. Don’t panic if your French is a bit rusty or if you don’t think you’re at the same level as some of your classmates; there is an intensive language and grammar review at the start of the semester, and each student is grouped with similarly-ranked students as far as language skills. The professors are understanding and helpful.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Perfect, affordable

My most memorable experience was definitely the home stay. I developed a really close bond with my host family and they introduced me to so many great aspects of French life and culture.

I chose IES abroad because it was an affordable program, offered interesting class choices, and offered group activities and excursions.

I chose to do independent housing and live with French family friends.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Perfect, affordable semester!

Overall, IES was a great program. It was affordable, had interesting classes, and offered great excursions. The program staff was nice and very helpful. The spring break was quite short compared to other programs, but no classes on Friday opens up weekends for traveling.

Academics:
I was really excited to take the theatre course listed on the website but learned, on the day of class registration, that the class had been cancelled.

Cultural Immersion:
IES organized a lot of great cultural excursions on Fridays to interesting museums and areas of town that I probably would not have found on my own. They also have a fun conversation group each Wednesday where you can meet and speak with French people and drink some delicious hot chocolate!

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    7

  • Health and Safety

    N/A

  • Social Life

    N/A

Nantes: Best Underrated French City

I studies at Nantes, France, which is in Britagne, on the west coast. It was an amazing experience. It is the only major study abroad program, so besides fellow IES students, everyone I met spoke French. I lived with a host family, which really pushed me to speak more French, and also helped me better understand the culture. Nantes itself is a great city. It's not a tourist city, so most people have never heard or it, but there is always something to do.

Overall Rating

8/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    4

  • Cultural Immersion

    7

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    9

Living and learning in Paris

Overall, my time in Paris with IES was a great experience. The IES Center in the 14th arr. of Paris is in a great location. Rue Daguerre is a really cool market street and there were always plenty of options for lunch - especially bakeries with traditional French sandwiches and pastries. I also really enjoyed my classes. The professors were all very nice and willing to talk to us about differences between France and the United States. One of my favorite classes was “Paris Museums” because we spent time in class learning about French art history and then on some evenings during the week, we went to museums to see the actual artwork that we learned about in class. It was so helpful to go through these museums with a professor that could actually tell you about what you were looking at. I also probably would not have visited all of the museums we went to on my own, so the class was a great way to see more of Paris. Taking classes solely in French and having to write papers and give presentations in French was also a great way to improve my French and really feel fluent in the language.

I also had an internship while I was in Paris, which is one of the best things I did. I worked there 2 afternoons per week after my classes and all day on Friday (there are no classes at IES on Friday). It was great to get to work with French people and learn about the differences between business culture in America and France. They kept me busy with a variety of tasks including translating documents, designing the newsletter, and posting things on their website and Facebook page. This was such great work experience for the future as well!

My homestay was also pretty good overall. The apartment was in a very nice neighborhood in the 16th arr. and was located very close to two different metro lines, which made getting around the city very convenient. My metro ride to my classes everyday had an above-ground portion that went right by the Eiffel Tower! My host mom was a really good cook and was very nice. However, I was a little disappointed with my homestay overall because I had put on my homestay application that I would prefer to be treated like “family” as opposed to like a “guest.” Although I felt comfortable in the apartment, I never really felt like family and, apart from the required 3 dinners per week, I didn’t feel like my host mom really made much of an effort to show me and my housemate around our neighborhood or Paris at all. But overall, I felt very safe and comfortable in my homestay.

Overall Rating

8/ 10

  • Academics

    3

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    7

  • Program Administration

    7

  • Health and Safety

    7

  • Social Life

    8

Paris IES

I think the reason I enjoyed IES Paris so much was because Paris is a magical city. While I found the classes at IES to be unstructured and rather boring- the location of the campus, the freedom of scheduling our own lives, the homestay experience, and the planned program trips were more than enough to make up for the classes. I found my french to improve tremendously and I developed an understanding for the city and culture.