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IES Abroad Paris Summer - Intermediate Language

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    8

The dreamiest city in the world

My experience in Paris, France for six weeks during the summer of 2016 is something that I will never forget. Right when I arrived, all of my dreams and presumptions about the place were immediately confirmed... if you've seen Midnight in Paris, you know what I'm talking about. Beautiful, winding streets lit up by the almost ethereal lighting of the old lampposts and string lights draped over restaurant terraces were about enough to make me faint. If part of the reason you're choosing to study in Paris is to ogle at all of the historic, Napoleonic architecture, you're expectations are going to be exceeded. There is so much to appreciate visually about this city that it's almost too much for one heart to handle - let alone in just six short weeks!

The program itself was a great experience for me. It's important to know, though, that these French professors don't mess around with the French-speaking. You're there to speak French, after all, and that's what they'll make you do! Even if you're uncomfortable, they're going to call on you. At the end of my first day of classes, I sat there, blank stare and fate-accepting smile, strongly considering the fact that maybe I wasn't cut out for this kind of thing. Immersion is a scary thing, and I had never even been out of the US before. Although the first week was a bit of a struggle, I kept reminding myself of my undying love for French and how much I would improve by the end of the six weeks. And I sure did improve! The two classes I took, Grammar/Culture and History of Paris, were really engaging with lots of fun discussions. Believe it or not, the extemporaneous French speaking gets a whole lot easier, even after just a few days. I quickly began to think in French, understand jokes that my professors would make in class, and, perhaps my proudest moment, I was even able to give a French person directions during my last week! Needless to say more, this program will kick your brain's butt and be exhausting, but it will totally make you a more proficient French speaker if you put in the effort.

My host mom was wonderful, and her apartment, which I shared with her and another student from my university, was right on the edge of the city and had a beautiful view of the Eiffel Tower from one of the windows. We ate fresh baguette with jam almost every morning, and our host cooked us great dinners three nights a week. Our apartment complex always felt like a safe place to be, and it was even on top of a grocery store! This was super helpful for grabbing dinner ingredients when our host mom wasn't around.

All in all, my time abroad in Paris was incredible. The staff at the IES Abroad Center were very kind, comforting, and really wanted you to succeed. The trips we took for my History class were interesting and informative, and although these classes were demanding and required a good amount of homework, there was still always time for exploring the city and doing your own thing. I highly recommend this program for anyone who loves France as much as I do and wants to improve their French drastically over a summer. It's the dreamiest city in the world!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Summer in Paris

This is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I was incredibly nervous about my adventures abroad...especially because I had not been out of the country since I was 13, but the staff at IES is eager to help students with any situation that may arise. My main focus of studying abroad was to complete my French minor and improve my fluency through immersion, but I learned so much more. I cannot say enough good things about the program! If you can, I would recommend a homestay, if you are serious about learning the French language. Not only will the experience vastly improve fluency in the French language, it will help you make connections for the next time you visit! Additionally, I will forever cherish the colorful dinnertime conversations that would ensue every night. From "how was your day?' to "what do you think about this political issue?" (Parisians love to talk politics). All in all, it was an eye-opening experience that I will take with me wherever I go. I will never forget the summer I spent in Paris.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    9

IES advanced language summer program

The IES Summer Program was amazing. The staff was always helpful and encouraging. I had a wonderful experience in Paris and I can't wait to go back someday!

The classes for the program were small and personal. The professors were great and very encouraging. They really wanted us to learn more about France and the French language. Language immersion was a huge part of the program and french was spoken as much as possible.
I lived with a host family in the third arrondissement. They were very nice and our three weekly dinners were always full of lively conversation. I think living with a host family was the biggest aspect of cultural immersion that the program offers.
The staff at the center were great. They were always there for any questions we had or help we needed from things like travel to finding a doctor. I was never worried about my health or safety while I was there even though some big events were happening. There were violent strikes over newly proposed labor laws, but the staff warned us ahead of time about them. There was also rain that caused the Seine to flood, but we all kept safe. The EuroCup was also happening while I was there and the security was constant from the French police and army, so I never felt unsafe.
Since it was a small program, everyone got along with each other and had a great time. I made some great friends that really made my experience so much better!

Overall, I really enjoyed this program and would definitely recommend it to anyone who wants to study abroad in Paris!

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    6

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    7

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    8

IES: a strong language, culture, and adventure program

IES Paris french studies was an incredible program. The onsite staff were very led an enlightening orientation, were always available for tutoring and advising, and cared genuinely for student well-being. The teachers at IES were amazing, and the ability to study at a French university was great. I was able to live with a host family that IES matched to my habits and personality. They helped to improve my French more than any other single thing I did during my time in Paris. The academics at the IES center were a little lax, but this provided time for exploring and cultural immersion. Overall, IES was a fantastic experience that changed my view on my remaining American college years and the rest of my life. I highly recommend it.

Academics:
The classes were interesting, and the teachers were excellent. However, the material was not very difficult, and the mixed levels of French meant that things had to be repeated multiple times for students who did not understand as easily.

Living Situation:
I lived with a host family, which provided me with a connection to French culture, a chance to speak French at least three dinners a week for an extended period of time (IES requires your host family to eat with you at least 3 dinners a week), and a very helpful guide to the area.

Cultural Immersion:
IES worked really hard to get us immersed in the culture, but they were not very strict about the language pledge, so people spoke English a lot.

Health and Safety:
Any problems that people had with safety had been addressed in the extensive orientation at the beginning of the trip. Basically, IES told us exactly how to stay safe and some people did not listen. Even those people had access to a helpful staff member at all hours though, so no one got in any serious trouble.

Social Life:
I had a great time hanging out with the other American students, and the younger IES staff were also very friendly. However, it is nearly impossible to meet french friends. Definitely try joining an activity outside of school, but even this can prove unsuccessful.

Overall Rating

8/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    7

  • Program Administration

    5

  • Health and Safety

    5

  • Social Life

    6

IES Advanced Language Program Summer 2015

When I first decided to study abroad, I was incredibly nervous. I didn't know what the people, the city, or the cuisine would be like.
The IES center in Paris was humble and yet much more than I ever imagined. It was an incredible safety net, a social club, and an academic haven.

On the program, we were immediately greeted and informed about everything one needs to know in a new city, from transportation to emergency procedurues. The staff was incredibly welcoming and always happy to recommend a restaurant or a new sight to see; their own love for Paris reflected in every way they reached out the the students.
The class size was small, but not too small, and so the classes were very personal and encouraged language immersion as well as a sense that this other wasn't too far from our own.
The host families were diverse, but well fitted to the students, and mine in particular encouraged my growth in the language immensely and made me feel comfortable, if not in all of Paris, than at least in her neck of the woods.
I was initially worried that being in a program would hold me back from my independence; quite the contrary. Though group trips were planned, they were optional, and I felt I was given just enough information to take the city on on my own, secure in the knowledge that I could return the the center and ask for any help I needed.
I would've like to have more optional group trips, as well as a warning to bring a few fashionable clothes (I spent way too many Euros attempting to replicate the French chic...) but overall, this program embodies pretty well what studying abroad should be: the exquisite pain of culture shock, mingled with a thirst for understanding and nurtured into a lifestyle of open -mindedness. Thanks to all the friends and teachers at the program; you were/are incredible role models and truly fine people.