Advice for FLI Students
By Han Nguyen '22
"If you’re on the fence about studying abroad, I highly recommend doing it! I went with a small language program and had a great time. It gave me a sense of independence that I never got in the US.
[The APA: Premier Immersion for Intermediate and Advanced French Speakers] team was extremely friendly and helpful during our stay. Generally, the goal was for us to profit as much as we could from our short stay. Whether that’s through language learning, cultural experiences, or eating good food, the program wanted us to have a good time. We visited other cities, historical locations, saw a musical, had a wine and cheese tasting, attended dance performances and concerts, etc. They had a lot of things for us to do. With the immersion, it was impossible for our French to not improve.
One of the biggest concerns I had as a FLI student was how I was going to manage my budget, so what I suggest is creating a spreadsheet and keeping track of your spending. I received money from the College for food and important expenses, and the first thing I did was split that into four equal chunks…only to realize that the first month is so much more cost-heavy than the other months. Don’t be surprised! This is because you’re settling in and have to buy things like a monthly phone plan, school supplies, and items you forgot to pack. Then there’s surprise expenses like having to repair your laptop in the middle of October. All of these transactions add up, and it’s easy to lose track of how much you actually have left.
I spent most of my money on traveling. The OCS estimate for food was really close to what I needed for daily meals. I did grocery shopping sometimes and made food in my homestay’s kitchen, but I got in their way a lot, so I didn’t do it frequently. They let me have leftovers and lots of food anyway. I couldn’t earn money abroad because it was too complicated to figure out, but I’m glad I didn’t do volunteer teaching because it gave me more time to travel and get work done. In total, I spent about 3,000 euros on travel, food, the abroad phone bill, toiletries, covid tests, laptop repair, etc.
I also suggest taking advantage of as many student discounts as you can. For Paris, most museums offer discounted or free entry for students. I still managed to travel, eat out, and enjoy my study abroad without breaking the bank, so if you are concerned about that, just know that it’ll work out!"
Han Nguyen '22