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University Studies Abroad Consortium participants University Studies Abroad Consortium participants

USAC FRANCE: Pau - French Language & European Studies

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Social Life

    9

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Academics

    9

Vive le 64!

My experience in Pau was unforgettable. USAC and its faculty catered to all of my needs not only as a student hoping to learn French but also as an American living abroad. Ryan and Robina are the two on-site directors and they worked tirelessly so that every student participating on the program had the opportunity for an amazing experience. During my academic year spent in Pau, I was taught by FLE certified teachers who specialize in teaching French to non-French speakers. This enabled me and the other participants to have a personal connection with the professors and work at a comfortable pace so that no one was too far ahead nor behind.

The city itself is beautiful. It is situated in the Southwest corner of the country about 2 and half hours South of Bordeaux and about 2 hours West of Toulouse. In addition to that, it is very close to the Atlantic coast and the Spanish border. Basque Country, beautiful surfing towns, sandy beaches and the Pyrenees mountains are all easily accessible. The city has a population of around 100,000 people so, the night-life is not incredibly vibrant but, it makes up for that by having local bars and clubs in which many French and international students frequent making it easy to meet up with others and become friends.

I would highly recommend this program to a student looking for an experience in which they can immerse themselves in the French culture and language in a comfortable environment. I had a great time and learned an immense amount of French culture and language but also about myself.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

The best time of my life!

First of all, study abroad.
Secondly, if you're looking for an authentic French experience, it doesn't get much better than this. I had the best host family. I had the best teachers and the best USAC staff helping me the entire time. I met amazing people, who I am still in contact with, and I saw places, sites and art I had only read about. I walked to a local bakery every morning with my host father so we could buy bread for breakfast. I played with the small hedgehogs that were in my host father's garden while he pulled mint for our tea later. I took a bus to school every day and had a 20 minute coffee break every two hours.
This place is drenched in culture and history. King Henry IV's castle is a ten minute walk from the university and a two minutes walk from the center of town. There's parks everywhere you look and a French language to be learned.
A day didn't go by that I didn't see the USAC staff. They were always there and helpful, plus they're really fun too. The field trips were well organized and so much fun to go on. I did things and went places I would have never done without USAC organizing it and taking us with them.
Pau is small, but it's truly great to understand the culture and experience the amazing things the city has to offer.

Academics:
The classes are so fun and you're actually learning!

Living Situation:
Host family! Do it!

Health and Safety:
There's no question about safety in Pau. These are some of the nicest people in France.

Social Life:
Wherever there's a university, I'm sure you can find some fun nightlife.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Social Life

    7

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Academics

    9

A hidden jewel

My friends and I spent an entire day walking along the French countryside in hopes of visiting a nearby grotto. We found the grotto and after going through a tour of it, we walked through tiny French towns all day to get back to Pau. It was beautiful and, though exhausting, helped us see the natural beauties offered by France.

I chose to study in Pau because I love French culture, food, and language and I knew that I needed to stay in a smaller city to really get the French experience I was looking for. It is also conveniently located to many other parts of Southern France and Spain.

I lived with a host family just off-campus. I had my own bedroom but shared a bathroom with my host brother. My bedroom was quite large and had a wardrobe, a desk, a bookshelf, and a bed. My family was extremely welcoming and helpful. They helped me study for tests, corrected my French homework, and took me out with them on the weekends! When I got sick, my host mom even brought me food and medicine to bed, and made sure I was comfortable the entire time. I could not have asked for a better living situation.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    8

  • Social Life

    7

Pau: A Hidden Gem

Pau is such a beautiful and cultural town, and it definitely gives off the "small French town" vibes you expect from studying in the South of France. The people were nice, the food was exquisite, and the experience was irreplaceable and unforgettable!

Academics:
It was definitely a challenging semester but I feel like I really learned a lot about the French language

Living Situation:
My host family was amazing and it was extremely close to the university and downtown!

Program Administration:
Ryan and Robina are some of the nicest and most helpful people I know. If there was ever a problem, they were available to help fix it as best they could.

Health and Safety:
There were some sketchy parts of town, but as long as you walk in groups and mind your belongings, you will be fine. Try to carry pepperspray or a whistle with you just to be on the safe side.

Social Life:
While there aren't many "nightclubs" there are plenty of bars and places to hang out with your friends during the weekends. Most things close pretty early during the weeks, and the town is basically entirely closed on Sundays.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    9

Pau, the hidden wonder of France

Pau, France is a great city to study in if you want to learn French. The USAC program is well organized and accommodates to the need of students. The staff is helpful and provides you with tips to living in Pau and cheap and easy ways to travel which is important to all the broke college students who are on a budge. Classes are small and taken with all international students who are learning French. Professors are highly motivated and involved. They do not speak English at all since there are other international students who may not know English so classes are taught in an immersion style. At first you may have difficulty understanding everything but professors are very patient and experienced that they can understand just about anyone's broken French.

There are elective that are taught in either English or French to satisfy the needs of students. Government, literature and business courses offered that students can take depending on the availabity and the semester that it is being offered. These courses are limited since the Pau program focuses on the French language acquisition.

Though this city is small there are many things to do in Pau. Pau is near the Pyrénées Mountains that are great for hiking trips and camping. There are also many wineries to visit and taste the famous Juracon white wine. Also there are carnivals and events that happen around the city where you can learn about French culture and southern French Basque country. Also Pau has many great restaurants and clubs that students love go to and meet other students.