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My college daughter wants to study aboard in Paris. Any ideas?

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My college daughter wants to study aboard in Paris. Any ideas?

Old May 2nd, 2007, 10:16 AM
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My college daughter wants to study aboard in Paris. Any ideas?

Hello. Has anybody done this? My daughter is 20 years old & will be doing this next year as a junior in college. She would be there for one semester (3 months). We have checked the websites & it is so overwhelming. So many to chose from & so many different living arrangements & classes to decide. I told here I would try my friends at Fodors to see if anyone had any personal experience. Thank you.
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Old May 2nd, 2007, 10:19 AM
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Where is she in school and what do they recommend. Our son has done a semester in Russia but with the university he went to.
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Old May 2nd, 2007, 10:22 AM
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Most colleges of any merit have a Study Abroad office that specializes in such info. If yours does not contact that in a nearby university. They have tons of info on programs that their univ participates in and lots of others. And you often need not be a full time student in a college to take their study abroad programs.

Go to the library and there are some books on the subject with a comprehensive listing of such programs or just google Study in Paris, etc.

And buy your daughter a copy of the book Let's Go France, with its wealth of info and possibly also something on studying in Paris.
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Old May 2nd, 2007, 10:31 AM
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I do have some personal experience, you can't go wrong with the Sorbonne, is what I'd say.

But, in reality, I also find this a very curious question that she isn't doing this within the context of her school. They are the ones that should have a program and recommend things, as it will make the credits, etc., straightforward. I think there are limited schools where credits will transfer directly, and and that is the main purpose of it, I presume. You haven't even said what she wanted to study, which also makes a big difference. If it's French, that makes it much easier. If it's something else, that makes it very difficult.

What does her school say about this and what she should do? Also, what is her level of French ability?
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Old May 2nd, 2007, 10:33 AM
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Exactly. She needs to organize this through her university - to be sure she will get credit for any courses she takes - or another nearby school - that her uiversity will accept credits from.

Or - are you talking about a no-credit semester in which she just learns French?

One of my SIL's neices id this last year - spent the year in Scotland - but her university provided the links, approved the courses - and, of course, there was no language problem involved.

In fact, everyone I know whose kids have done this had the whole school/course thing arranged via the home university (and the school they went to abroad provided info and guidance on housing options).

By doing this on your own you're risking a lot of time and money that she will get no credit or benefit for.
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Old May 2nd, 2007, 10:44 AM
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Thanks to the above for your quick response. She goes to Cal State Long Beach in Southern California. And yes she will be studying French there. She has taken 2 years of college French so far. Her school promotes one program only. And that program has you find a place to stay when you get there which worries us. We were hoping to find one that would have some sort of dorm or a place students stay at. At least one that could reserve a place for you instead of having you find a place when you get there. The problem is we found over 50 different ones on the internet. Most do apply credits. I was just hoping to find someone with personal experience. Thanks again.
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Old May 2nd, 2007, 10:48 AM
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YOu might look into CEA(gowithcea.com). They have several different Paris programs and I believe most schools accept their credits for transfer. They offer the choice of homestay, dorm, or apartment living. My daughter is studying in Paris in one of their year long programs this year, and she loves it.
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Old May 2nd, 2007, 11:21 AM
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It's worth it to call over to UCLA's Study Abroad office and ask questions.
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Old May 2nd, 2007, 11:26 AM
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Buy a good chastity belt and let her go. It will be the greatest experience of her life.
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Old May 2nd, 2007, 12:21 PM
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Don't discount the program, just because it makes her find her own lodging. I think living among the Parisians would be the only way to go.

There's nothing wrong with her having to find her own place to live, once she arrives.

I had to do that when I studied abroad for a semester in London. We were given hotel rooms for 3 nights, then it was up to us to find apartments. The school had listings to help us and none of us were stranded.

It would have been a completely different experience if I had to live in a dorm with the rest of my friends.

The dorm will isolate her from the rest of the city and its inhabitants. I loved living in my own little neighborhood, getting to know my neighbors, my chippy owner, my pub manager, and even my landlord, quite well.

It was a ball and the best time of my life.
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Old May 2nd, 2007, 12:29 PM
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most programs give some guidance on how to find a place to stay, which to me would be a daunting task for a 20 year old. My son's girlfriend did a program in Paris and they provided contacts - she ended up staying in a flat in a nice area with one other student and an old lady, who, however, kept barging in unannounced into t heir rooms. A dorm may not be so bad and would be better for meeting French counterparts - that said i think most French students in Paris live in private accommodation.
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Old May 2nd, 2007, 12:35 PM
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I did study abroad in France (Paris & Aix-en-Provence) exactly 10 years ago! It was by far the highlight of my college experience. It forever changed my life. My program was entirely run by the university I attended, but there were two students from other universities who joined our program and got full credit at their respective universities for courses they took through my university on the program. So if you're not comfortable with what CSLB has to offer, look around at other schools. Best wishes to your daughter!
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Old May 2nd, 2007, 12:39 PM
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Check to see if other CSU campuses have year aborad programs. Going through them should make the transfer of credits much easier.
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Old May 2nd, 2007, 12:44 PM
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My SIL did a semester abroad in Spain last fall. She is a marketing major at Cal Poly San Luis and the program was through the school. She lived with a Spanish family - the lodging was set up through the program.
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Old May 2nd, 2007, 12:45 PM
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You may want to read this lengthy thread:

http://tinyurl.com/276z3o
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Old May 2nd, 2007, 01:22 PM
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Just signed up my daughter and friend (girl) for next fall at the Sorbonne. We are not sure if any of her course work will be credited to college, as they are taking a year off before college to study french language and culture. I don't really think 1 year will matter in the whole scheme of life.
Anyway they are renting an aprtment near the Sorbonne on their own, as the Sorbonne does not have any dorms itself, but just recommends various places to stay.
We are still looking for an apartment by the way.
If my HS graduate daughter can do it, then I think your college aged daughter will have no problem.
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Old May 2nd, 2007, 01:35 PM
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I went abroad my junior year, but it was 30 years ago. Maybe some of my experiences might be helpful.

I went to the University of Edinburgh. I had the option to go through my college's programs, but they didn't have an exchange for my major where I could speak the language so I opted to go on my own, knowing that there was a possibility to not get any credit for the year. I commend my dad who said I should go for it anyway and we would worry about the credit when I got back. Way to go Dad!

I too had to 'find my own lodging' once I arrived. I was put up in a residence house for 2-3 days and then used the university housing office to help find me a dorm room. That took a bit longer than anticipated, but the office did not abandon me. They worked on it tirelessly and found me a host family to stay with until a dorm room opened up. That in itself was a good experience as long as I can forget about that onion pie they liked to have for dinner. Maybe you could talk to someone in the housing office of the colleges she is considering and ask questions along these lines to ease your nervousness and to help understand the actual process.

This year abroad was definitely the highlight of my college years. I became more independent, I learned to travel on my own and learned so much about foreign culture and myself. I only wish all my kids would take advantage of such a wonderful opportunity! I recommend it to anyone who asks.

When I got back to my American college my senior year, I recall visiting the dean's office almost every day for weeks and weeks with notebooks and tests in hand. I think they finally gave me credit for all the courses I had taken just to get rid of me, but I got it all! It would be easier to go with an approved program because she would not have to worry about the outcome. However, I would add that if the only way she could go abroad comfortably were to go outside the college, it can be done and it would defintely be worthwhile. Just be comfortable with the risk.

Good luck with the decision.
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Old May 2nd, 2007, 01:38 PM
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I'm a UCLA grad and they have an excellent French dept. Coincidentally, I also took some classes at Cal State Northridge, but not in languages. I'm surprised to hear they only have one program, but I would check out UCLA and see what they might have.

There are some other universities where a student can sign up with them, even though not a student there -- I think Temple Univ. in Pennsylvania is one, but maybe UCLA can help you out on that one.

You can apply to the Sorbonne directly and get student housing with no problem in summer (I have also attend ICP, Institut Catholique de Paris, and actually found it superior to the Sorbonne in some ways. Both were very good and had residence halls.

I don't agree with the idea that a student of that age should find their own housing and have the idea of setting up an apt, etc., be part of the experience. They are a student, and should be focused on student experiences and there is enough to do, anyway, at that point. There is a French dorm at the Sorbonne, but they do tend to put students in dorms of their own countries, more or less (having to do with subsidies I won't go into -- the foreign country subsidizes the dorm).

But I don't agree that living in a student residence isolates you from the city or people. There are many people attending these schools who are NOT just the people she may come with. That is a completely wrong assumption. People from all over the world attend these universities, and that was one thing I really enjoyed about living in the residence -- I met and made friends from not only the US and Canada, but the UK, Croatia, Japan, South America, etc. It is also very good for learning the language because you are about the same level (well, some will be) and that may be the only language you have in common, so you need to communicate in it. Having the residence hall arrange dinner and breakfast is also very nice, and a great way to meet other people.

I did know a few people who were on their own in those programs trying to arrange housing, and they spent a lot of time doing that, didn't meet nearly the people I did, and actually had a few dicey experiences with landlords, bad apartments, etc.

You can also check out AIFS. They are a for-profit program that does arrange such things at various universities, and the Sorbonne used to be one of them. Getting grades and credits transferred is just a little paperwork for you if your school isn't the go-between, but at the Sorbonne, they will definitely transfer. That is www.aifs.com but I don't really know if they do periods other than summer, that is the most typical one. Well, I see on their website they do seem to have some during the academic year at the Sorbonne.

I still get a newsletter from ICP and they had very nice dorms, actually, and it was a better location. I don't know if they have semester programs, also. The dorms were run by nuns, I really liked them as they didn't allow any funny business and they were clean and quiet.

Here is their website
www.icp.fr

Go to "accueil - etudiants etrangers" on the left and there should be a UK flag for English. They certainly allow foreign students, but I don't know about those programs for teaching French to foreigners. That could just be in summer. If you want to ask them, that program would be called the "Cours de Francais pour Etrangers" and the email address is [email protected]
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Old May 2nd, 2007, 01:42 PM
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oh, I just read the above note that the Sorbonne doesn't have dorms. That isn't true at all, they have plenty (it's called Cite Universitaire). I've stayed there, and they have a student housing office with subsidized apartments, also. I also got permission to stay there on my second trip when studying in Paris, even though not studying at the Sorbonne (they generally allow students in there, if they have room, even if you are at another school). I changed my mind and went with a different place, though.

But just wanted you to know that they definitely have dorms. They even have their own website and tell you how to apply for a room
http://www.ciup.fr/
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Old May 2nd, 2007, 03:01 PM
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Cite Universitaire is not a "dorm" for the Sorbonne -- it is a huge residence complex where students studying at a variety of schools can stay. The Sorbonne is just one part of the University of Paris system.

I stayed at Cite Universitaire many years ago. I still remember the timed showers (you hit a button and got a certain amount of water, which was just getting warm when it shut off again). : ) I also lived in a "foyer" (young women's residence) for several months and then later spent a year as an au pair in an arrangement where I had a teeny tiny psuedo-apartment of my own (my own bathroom/used the family's kitchen). Of the three, living with the family was by far the best experience for improving my French language skills. The others were enjoyable experiences too, but did not do as much for my French.

The program I attended, and almost all the others I was familiar with at the time, helped you find housing when you arrived. The school did not just send people off on their own. Has your daughter spoken to some people who have actually attended her school's program to see how it worked? That might reassure her. There are many options, but it can save some administrative headaches to use a program your daughter's school is already familiar with.

BTW, I agree with the poster who said that living in a residence can be a great way to meet people from all over the world. It can also be a way to meet other Americans and hang out with them. A lot will depend on the individual and how much they are willing to try to go outside of what is easy or convenient (as far as meeting people goes).

I'm sure your daughter will have a great experience no matter what...I've never known anyone who regretted a junior year in Paris!!
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