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Michael Pizziferri, Paris, France

Brandeis University

Paris is one of the world’s great cities and you certainly don’t need convincing of that. That also means that it is a very difficult task to further enhance a semester or year in the French capital, but Middlebury rose to that challenge and surpassed my highest expectations. Middlebury’s Paris program is one of the few study abroad programs that not only offers full cultural immersion, but full academic immersion as well. I was drawn by Middlebury’s reputation for academic excellence and I was not disappointed.

Plus, Middlebury meets another challenge of hosting a program in such a world class city. Paris is incredibly cosmopolitan, and it would be all too easy to spend a semester speaking English here. But with Middlebury, you can be sure that you won’t fall into that trap. Thanks to the language pledge and the commitment to full immersion, my French improved exponentially after just a few weeks in Paris, and the best part is that it was so easy for me to find other students just as motivated as me to make the most of our semester by learning French.

The program gives students the freedom to enroll directly in Parisian universities, and sometimes you can even be the only American student in your classes. Watching local students debate France’s modern role in the EU at Sorbonne’s Institute of European Studies is something I would have only ever experienced with Middlebury. While getting caught in the middle of a French political debate may seem daunting, if you are up for a bit of a challenge and want to study abroad to improve your French and truly learn about this country, there is no question that Middlebury is the right program for you!