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IES Abroad Arles Summer - Arles Summer
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IES Abroad Arles Summer - Arles Summer

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    7

  • Health & Safety

    9

  • Community

    10

Study abroad in Arles with IES

I loved being able to live with a host family and I enjoyed all of the opportunities to go to different events hosted by the program. I just wish there was more information that was available before orientation to better prepare us for our experience. I still had a great time and learned so much about the history of France. They were also very accommodating for people with dietary needs (vegetarian, gluten free, etc)

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health & Safety

    8

  • Community

    8

An Adventure in Arles

Studying abroad in Arles was an experience I will never forget! Every day was a new adventure and I loved every minute of it! The town is small but lively! Arles is full of history, festivals (photography, music, and cultural), and wonderfully kind people! Living with a host family was one of the highlights of my trip! I was able to connect with my family and completely immerse myself in the culture. Through my host family, I attended community events, met many of their friends, and explored the town. The classes, professors, and program administrators are great! I always had people to turn to for help and advice when I needed it. The program is run smoothly and efficiently, offering all the support you may need and more. You are encouraged to speak French all the time, which was at first challenging for me, but helped me to improve! I loved travelling to nearby cities (with the program or by the easy train system) and exploring what the south of France, Provence, has to offer. The area is beautiful and history is around every corner. Yet, every day, even the days full of class in my home city Arles, was an adventure. Some of my favorite memories are conversations I had with shopkeepers, my host family, or other kind citizens of Arles. Everyone has something to teach you! I gained an appreciation for the French culture, but also my own culture. I hope to return someday, because Arles, my favorite cafes and bookstores, and all the people I met there will always have a special place in my heart!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    9

  • Community

    9

An amazing summer in Provence

I would recommend this program to any student of French. IES easily gave me the best summer of my life. The courses were interesting and tethered to the town of Arles and the Provence region. Host families were a fantastic way to get immersed into the culture of France.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    N/A

  • Community

    N/A

Arles = 5 Thumbs Up!!!

I can't think of a better way I would have rather spent my summer in 2009. Arles was the perfect balance of school and cultural understanding that I truly wanted in a study abroad program. I still talk to my host family and my host mother is one of the reasons in which I will return one day to Arles. The IES administration was supportive, encouraging, and provided each and every student with a unique experience.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    6

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    10

Amazing experience!

The Arles Summer program was an incredible experience for me. The program is small, so you get to know the staff and other students really well and feel a strong sense of community. Arles is the perfect town to study abroad, in my opinion, because it is safe and small while also being full of culture and activities. I enjoyed my classes and the program excursions, but the best part was my homestay. My host family was unbelievably kind and generous, and they made me feel very much at home. The immersion aspect of the program really helped me improve my French, and overall I was very satisfied with my progress and experience!

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    6

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    9

  • Community

    8

Trip I'll Never Forget

This was probably the one of the best decisions I've made about how to spend my summer. I've always wanted to visit France and learn the culture by living there and this was my dream come true.

My host family was awesome. I lived with a mom with two children. She was extremely nice and spoke slowly to me at first so that I can understand. During family meal times, she would always try to start conversations with me and ask me about my day. It was difficult to talk to her in French at first but it got better day by day and I learned a lot about French culture and living in Arles as she has been living in Arles for awhile. I loved playing with the kids as well. They would teach me random words of objects and animals in French while playing with me.

The staff for Arles program was amazing as well. They were extremely supportive and informative. I asked them many random grammar questions since I wasn't taking a grammar course on the program, and they would help me out until I would understand. They also helped me a lot with pronunciation and made me feel more confident when I was speaking French to the natives.

I loved Arles. The town is absolutely beautiful, with old Roman architecture and cultural sites all around the town. People are very nice too. I visited Paris for a weekend and that really made me appreciate people in Arles. French people in Arles speak slower and are a lot nicer. There were French guys once in a while who would cat call and yell out things on the streets and that made me feel uncomfortable at times but I didn't feel like Arles was a dangerous place where I could never walk anywhere alone (doesn't mean you should walk around alone at night though just in case...). It's small and everyone knows each other.

The courses were not intellectually challenging, especially because I don't normally take any humanities/social sciences courses during my school year (I'm in the engineering school at my university). So this was a different experience and most of all, I learned a lot about French culture in the classes which helped me to understand lots of cultural differences as a foreign student living in a new country. The professors were enthusiastic and extremely understanding, especially on the difficulty of understanding and communicating in all French.

The weather in Arles was always sunny and beautiful. There were couple days that rained but it's not like Paris... It rained everyday that I was in Paris when I visited (4-day weekend). Tons of mosquitos at night though... so don't forget an insect repellent!

I loved Arles and I would love to go back again sometime in the future. I would definitely recommend this program. You won't regret it!

Overall Rating

7/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    7

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    8

The Things I Learned in the Winding Streets of Arles, France

The most important things that I learned didn’t end up being what was taught in the classroom, nor was the most special part of my experience the things that I saw; though, I must admit, the lavender fields and the treasured buildings left behind by the Romans were more beauty than I should ever think to behold in a lifetime. Arles is a city full of life and art and foods all fit to satisfy the soul. So much beauty can be found there, in both the place and it’s people. It’s the things that I learned from them that made my experience so grand.
Van Gogh taught me how to see every yellow of the spectrum. This man is everywhere in Arles, though he only spent a year of his life there. I could feel him in L’espace Van Gogh, in the little museum that recounts his life so well, and even in the sunflowers he so carefully painted.
My host mother taught me how to be strong. As a single mother of two, twin four-year-old girls working multiple jobs and doing all that she can for her daughters, she’s one of the strongest people I know.
My host sisters taught me patience. Something about being taught daily by four year olds makes you quite humble, I would say. And when they don’t understand why you sometimes can’t understand them is where the patience bit of it comes in.
My good friend Hayley, also a student in the program, taught me how to love absolutely everyone. She showed kindness to everyone she met and never failed to be there for me and others. The friendship that we created in Arles has continued even over some odd 800 miles apart.
One of our professors taught me what to do when the waitress places a whole fish, eyeball and all, in front of you at lunch. Three times a week, we ate lunch with faculty and other students, dining at local restaurants. One afternoon at “Le Bistrot Des Artistes,” fresh fish was on the menu, and after one look at my horrified face, our kind professor taught me the delicate art of cutting and de-boning the fish, exhibiting how to eat “lentement,” “slowly.”
Each morning on my way to class I would see the same man playing the guitar on the side of the road. He taught me contentment. Every morning he would sit idly in the same spot along the main street and fill the morning air with beautiful, simple tunes. Sometimes he would make eye contact, other times his fingers demanded his attention, but always he looked content in his usual place doing something he evidently loved.
The man who was my lavender field tour guide taught me that the things you dream are always possible. As he drove our van of eight through the high winding hills overlooking patches of lavender and greens below, he told us that he had lived out West for many years working with horses. His dream had always been to be a cowboy.
I traveled to Nice on a free weekend alone, and a group of locals invited me to join them for beach volleyball. One of the little girls kept asking me how to say words in English, ecstatic when she could remember how to say, “how are you?” when I asked her. Though brief, this little girl will forever be in my mind. She showed me her determination to learn, even in a setting of play.
My fellow hostel-goers in Nice taught me confidence—don’t be afraid to talk to those you don’t know. Usually they’re looking for the same thing you are, to make a friend in an unknown place. I met a friend that I still keep in contact with at the hostel, and we spent the day pretending to be art critics in the contemporary art museum and getting lost in the streets of the old town.
Oh, and the people of Arles taught me how to dance. And I mean really dance. They dance with such vitality, such joy and don’t mind who’s watching. They pulled us in to join their traditional dances, taking our hands and laughing along with us at our attempts.
Then there’s what I learned about myself, and that is this: When you’re in a foreign place where you don’t know anyone, you learn a great deal about yourself. Though you spend much time with fellow students, in class, and with host families, you still have a fair amount of time on your own. You get to explore a place that by the end, you feel a part of. You realize the importance of connections and how important it is to look out for one another. You realize that to be on your own isn’t necessarily a bad thing. You learn how to be patient with yourself (speaking constant French will definitely test that).
It was hard, I won’t say that it wasn’t. Oftentimes I wished to leave as the classes were difficult and I sometimes felt alone. It’s not until I returned that I saw how much my time in Arles impacted me. I am so grateful to Arles for making me a stronger person, for sharing its beauty, and for teaching me so much.