I was thrilled to have the opportunity for a full immersion program in Paris. JYF was an excellent decision because they organized an internship in addition to managing the heavy bureaucracy involved in enrolling in a Parisian university. I highly recommend the program to students who are serious about improving their French. However, although there is a strict no-English contract with the students, the majority of the American students speak English with one another most of the time... but it is an option to stay in contact with that group for comfort and commiserating.
JYF administration was absolutely incredible! They were very well organized in enrolling the students to internships and classes, as mentioned above, they organized plenty of excursions around Paris and the country, provided academic support for revising essays or tutoring for French University classes.
The host families usually have long-time relationships with the program so they know the protocols and I felt very safe. The extent of connecting with host families definitely depends on personalities though, as expected.
Academic classes at Sweet Briar were great; classes at the Sorbonne were...French. It was a good balance of familiarity and exposure to the French system. The administrators are very sweet and helpful, if questionably efficient. They did a good job integrating us into Parisian life. Living situation-- with a host family, and it depends on the family.
I had a great time abroad in Spring of '08. SBJYF was really good about paying attention to the students' individual experiences & I always found the administration helfpul whenever I had any problems. They found us host families who were in it for more than just the money and I felt like I got a lot out of it. Paris Universities are not so good, but Sweet Briar's own classes are great.
Well-organized. Though home stay had its drawbacks. I got along with my family but some of my firends didn't. I also ended up on the outskirts of the city with my family. The academics were good; we took classes at the Sorbonne.