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IAU College - The School of Humanities and Social Sciences

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

A perfect place to spend a semester

In brief: This semester has absolutely been one of the best experiences of my life. Aix is amazing and gorgeous, I've loved my courses at IAU, and I really feel like I've gotten an immersive French experience, both in the language and the culture of southern France. 10/10. Here's some further elaboration if that's what you seek.

When I began the process of finding a suitable study abroad program - before I knew of IAU - I had a wide variety of problems: finding a suitable program in a suitable place, making money work, and a program cancellation 2 days before deadline. An adviser finally told me of IAU, I whipped up a frenzied application, and waited. Almost immediately, I got help from the IAU administration, checking in with me throughout the process, taking great care to fix an error I'd made in applying for my visa, and generally keeping me from tearing my hair out while I waited for things to become solidified.

Once I got to Aix, the trend continued. The program administration is always friendly and helpful in any way that they possibly can. They really do care about giving students all chances possible at having a semester which they will never forget. They set engaging weekly guest lectures, organize outings on some weekends, and hold fun events like wine-tastings or the talent show often. In terms of academics, I've loved every single one of my classes. All of my teachers are great sources of knowledge and all strongly encourage in-class discussion, so my semester has been particularly stimulating intellectually. My workload is very reasonable, and assignments are designed to reinforce what's learned while allowing plenty of time for students to take weekend travel (most students do not have Friday courses). Additionally, most classes have at least one field study; an art history trip to Paris, a Mediterranean Politics excursion to Marseille's tremendous MUCEM, an EU Politics journey to Brussels to visit NATO and an EU delegation, to cite a few examples.

Just as importantly, the cultural experience of living in a beautiful city like Aix is absolutely incredible. Aix has a large student population, so young people are everywhere. You immediately feel that you are in a vastly different place from what you've ever been used to in all the best ways, so you adapt very quickly to the way of life of southern France. Few people speak English, but everyone is patient, making it a perfect place to truly learn the language. The city has beautiful parks, squares, and public spaces. It is also a short, cheap bus trip away from a TGV station (15 minutes) and the Marseille's airport (25-30 minutes) so regional and international travel is easy. The only drawback of Aix is its relatively high cost of living. One can avoid break the bank being here, but it definitely takes some effort not to overspend.

That said, IAU's homestay program is phenomenal, and I highly recommend it rather than securing independent accommodations. My host family speaks very little English, so I get constant French practice every day. Families also provide at least six breakfasts and six dinners each week, and my mom's cooking is incredible. IAU's hosts are people who relish the experience of having students in the house, so everyone wants students to have a good time in Aix.

In total, my semester has been an unforgettable experience. To be sure, studying abroad is guaranteed to be novel in a lot of ways, but studying in Aix and in the IAU program has ensured that my experience has been a complete one, filled with intellectual stimulation and cultural immersion. I can't believe I have to leave.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    9

My first experience... It was Great!

Studying abroad with IAU College was the first time I did it. I have never been to Europe but thanks to IAU program it was one of the best experience of my life. I was welcome by staff, proffesors and my "host mom", making me feel like part of their family.
After a few days I discovered that IAU is not only for studying french but also to study Psychology, Archeology, Literature, Arts and Wine Industry.
IAU made my experience unforgettable and unique.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Social Life

    10

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Academics

    8

Can I go back now?

My semester in Aix was the most wonderful and memorable experience of my life so far. Studying abroad, and most specifically studying in such a beautiful city was an unreal experience. I was able to experience so much of the culture and way of life in Aix through my time with my host family, and living right in the city itself. It is a social place, as there are many students both French and International, and I felt that it was a great balance between the historical culture of Aix and the present day social culture. I had so much fun, and met the most amazing people who made the experience that much more rewarding. In addition, living with a host family was probably one of the most rewarding parts of the IAU program, and I learned more than I ever thought possible about Aix, and about myself, with my host mom. Between the support from IAU's staff, the outside classroom learning experiences, and my own exploring -- I would not change the last 4 months for anything in this world, and am happy to have found a home away from home in this wonderful city.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Social Life

    9

  • Health and Safety

    7

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Academics

    8

The Greatest Experience of my Life

If I was asked to go back to Aix right now, I would do it in a heartbeat. My experience in Aix-en-Provence through IAU was the greatest experience of my life. I stayed in a home stay with a single mother and her son. They both spoke very little English but were extremely kind and welcoming of my roommate and myself into their home. I had a room to myself, and our house was about a 20-30 minute walk from the school. I felt very comfortable walking home by myself during the daytime, but I always took a cab home at night if I was alone, since I am a girl. The classes were much easier than the courses at my school in the US, but they were challenging enough that they were stimulating. I was able to travel every weekend, although I always loved staying in Aix. The nightlife is great, and the FOOD IS INCREDIBLE. Although it is a very expensive town, there are places that you can go to save some money. Overall, the GREATEST four months of my life.