Emily Ames - 2015 Program Participant

View of Paris, France from the top of the Arch de Triomphe

On top of the Arch de Triomphe in Paris, France

What attracted you to the idea of studying abroad?

I wanted to experience something totally new and personally grow from it. Along with that, I wanted to embrace the opportunity to interact with and learn from different cultures, in order to have a better understanding of future career opportunities.

Why did you choose IES Abroad’s program in Paris?

I studied French in high school and I wanted to go to a country that didn't speak English and experience living in a city, so I chose Paris. IES Abroad had a good business program located there as well.

What surprised you most about Paris?

Honestly, I went to Paris without having lived in a city and I was amazed by that alone. Each part of the city had its own personality and things to explore. I was surprised by how spread out things were, and how easy it was to take the metro from place to place or to just simply walk for 10 miles and not even realize it because of all the amazing things around you. It was surprising how much I didn't care about getting lost in the city, because I always knew I would discover something new or interesting.

What did you like best about your program’s setup?

I liked how I wasn't on a college campus, and how it was real city living.

What made your program experience unique?

I think what makes it unique is that the program was so small, and you were really forced to go out on your own and make your experience worth your while.

View of the Eiffel Tower from the top of the Arch de Triomphe in Paris, France

Paris, France

What's one thing you wish you would have done differently?

I wish that I would have gone out more into the city. I think I was apprehensive to do this at first, so I would wait for my friends to go with me. Towards the end I was exploring on my own and I learned a lot from it.

Describe a typical day in the life of your program. 

Typical Wednesday:

  • Wake up and walk to class (15 to 20 minutes)
  • Class from 9 a.m. to 12:15 p.m., usually a class visit somewhere in Paris
  • Lunch/Homework
  • Class from 2:20 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
  • Workout/Run
  • Shower/Homework
  • Bed

What did you like most about your time in Paris, outside of your coursework?

I loved having free time to explore the city. Many of my class days were consumed with not being able to go out and explore, so those days where I had time I liked to take full advantage.

Red telephone booth in London, England

London, England

How supportive was the local IES Abroad staff during your time in Paris?

Local staff made it known that they were always there if anyone had issues or needed to talk.

How affordable did you find day to day spending and travel around Europe?

I think that Paris was an expensive place to study abroad. You can find ways to save your money, but you do have to work on it. However, living in Paris and it being expensive comes in accordance with it being a major city and living in a city is usually pricey.

Along with that, traveling around Europe was not outrageously expensive. You just have to save where you can; you can spend what you want to spend. If you keep in mind the price it costs to fly anywhere in general in the United States, you're saving a lot on a 100 Euro round trip flight to visit a country you've never been to before. So, in general if you put that into perspective and if you try to save where you can, then traveling around Europe and living in Paris can be relatively inexpensive.

What type of accommodation did you have? What did you like about it?

Apartment. I liked how it was actually big for one person.

How has studying abroad impacted your life?

Studying abroad gave me a new perspective on cultures and how much they really can differentiate. By being in a program in which I did not have a college campus, I had more of an opportunity to go and explore Paris and the everyday Parisian culture. I definitely learned a lot more about myself spending four months in a city that didn't speak English.

If you could study abroad again with IES Abroad, where would you go and what program would you choose?

If I chose to study abroad again with IES Abroad, I would probably choose to go to the program in Cape Town.  Going to Africa has always been a dream of mine; I think that there are so many new and different opportunities if I went to study in Africa, from the culture to traveling and new experiences.

View of Geneva, Switzerland

Geneva, Switzerland