The Catholic University of America

Top Five Reasons to Select the Program

  1. Language - You will be completely immersed in the program and presented with opportunities to speak it regularly.
  2. Culture - You will be placed in a host family that, if you make the effort, will involve you and teach you about their lifestyle.
  3. Food - The food in France is absolutely wonderful.
  4. Education - All of the courses are in French, will help you master the language and also learn how the French approach Education.
  5. Humility - You will realize that there are people who do not live in the United States and are completely happy with their lives.


What I Wish I Would Have Known Before I Went

  1. I had to take a required French grammar course, which ended up not fitting anywhere on my tracking sheet besides excess courses.
  2. The fact that you truly must attempt to master the language before you go. You will learn it when you arrive, but the more you can know before you go the better.
  3. I wish that I had truly taken into account the financial strain of studying abroad.
  4. I wish that I had taken a course at a French University, which I attempted to, but the French Universities will drop a course at the last moment.
  5. Do not wear blue jeans purchased in the United States in France.


A Funny Story or Situation

Kisses for All

The French always give bisous, kisses, when men and women meet. I did this when I met my host, but when I met some French girls, I was not sure if I was supposed to, but they pulled me rather forcibly to them and I gave them bisous. It is perfectly acceptable when meeting a French person who is a peer, host family, or relative of the host family for the first time. One on each cheek. Interestingly, very close male friends will do this as well, but give each other a total of 4 bisous.


An Embarrassing Situation

Until the end of the trip when my accent drastically improved, Parisians would speak English to me once they heard me speaking English. If you can learn even just a little French phonetics, you may be able to avoid this.


The Teacher From Whom I Learned the Most

Truc Lo Vo Tran, my French Professor. On the first day of class, he said "bonjour" then jumped on a desk and accidentally broke it. He was absolutely comical in class. He spoke French very informally with us, which helped us pick it up quickly. He is a teacher who never lost the attention of the class.



I lived in home-stay with a single middle aged women. I cannot recommend enough that everyone else does the same. I was very fortunate. According to the handbook, the host families are required to provide breakfast everyday and 3 dinners per week. My host cooked me as many dinners as I wanted and always had leftovers. However, I had friends whose host parents stuck closely to the rules. The majority of the families fall somewhere in between with how they treat their students.

Student Profile:

Major: Drama

Hometown: Sidney, New York

Program: Paris, IES Abroad French Studies Program

Term Abroad: Fall 2013

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