Often overlooked in favor of more famous French cities, Montpellier stands out as a unique multicultural center in the south of France. The city is nestled just six miles away from the Mediterranean Sea and within distance of picturesque mountain ranges. The central part of the city boasts both French and Spanish influences, giving the city its multicultural feel. Considered France’s fastest growing city, studying abroad in Montpellier is an excellent choice for students developing their careers. Montpellier has a long history of political activism, open-mindedness, and educational advancements, the perfect combination for study abroad in France.
Subjects & Courses
Courses are taught primarily in French, although there are some are offered in English. But limited language skills won’t stop you from studying abroad in Montpellier, because you’ll have plenty of locals to build your skills with, over a third of the city’s population is composed of students, and a wide variety of courses to choose from.
French Language. Intensive French courses are a common option for students studying abroad in France, as it is important to speak at least some French to be considered polite and respectful. Instructors are happy to work with any level of proficiency in the language and both beginner and advanced courses are available at local institutions. Four-week and eight-week courses are typical when it comes to intensive courses, which are a great, immersive way to rapidly improve your French language competence.
Art, Design, & Architecture. The art world reigns over Montpellier. The city offers the unique experience of being able to study architecture while surrounded by architectural landmarks displaying incredible structural design, as well as the opportunity to study visual arts and graphic design within reach of fantastic museums containing both traditional and contemporary art.
Hospitality & Tourism. Learning about hospitality management while studying in Montpellier, where friendliness and generosity are celebrated, can be a priceless experience. Studying abroad in Montpellier’s fast-growing tourism industry will give any student vital skills and an impeccable understanding of hospitality, tourism, and event management.
Medicine. Home to the first medical school in Europe, the city has a long history in the field of medicine, so studying medicine or pre-med in Montpellier is extra appealing for students hoping to have a successful medical career. Montpellier is home to state-of-the-art anatomy labs, along with its clearly rich past with the profession.
Life in Montpellier
With famous museums, gardens, and cathedrals, the call to visit Montpellier is heard by students from all over the world. Studying abroad in Montpellier provides students with a small-town feel combined with significant access to educational opportunities, and all within reach of large neighboring cities, such as Paris, Barcelona, and Valencia, by train.
The city itself is relatively small, so getting around in Montpellier can easily be tackled by foot, bicycle, or by the many trams and buses that move throughout the city. Public transportation, in general, is excellent in Montpellier, and the city just finished constructing a new tram system with many stops within the city and to small towns outside the city’s limits.
Costs & Affordability
Montpellier is a relatively inexpensive option for study abroad in France, especially in comparison to study abroad in Paris. The greatest cost students will face while studying in Montpellier is rent, which, even for a small apartment, can be near $1,300. Housing in homestays and dormitories can circumvent this large expense for most students, and housing costs are usually something included in study abroad program fees so students will be able to budget accordingly early on.
Most food prices are reasonable in Montpellier, especially in comparison to Paris or other major cities in Europe; a block of local cheese costs around $9 and a cappuccino at a café close to $2. Local students are a great resource for international students studying in Montpellier, because they can point out good deals and great places to shop and eat, while at the same time ensuring students avoid tourist traps (which are minimal).
Accommodations & Visas
Homestays, dormitories, and apartment living are all viable housing options during study abroad in Montpellier and all are usually pre-arranged by program providers. Many students choose homestays, the perfect way to experience daily life in a French family for themselves, and typically the less-expensive housing option. In a homestay, students will not only get to live with a French family, they will also get to enjoy local foods daily, learn local practices, and rehearse their French frequently!
Montpellier also has many dormitories, since it’s primarily a university town. Students who study abroad in Montpellier find dormitories to be an incredibly social experience, as it allows them to meet fellow students, both international and local, and experience student life fully.
If studying in Montpellier from a nation outside the European Union, you will need a student visa to study in Montpellier for longer than 90 days. If the duration of your program is less than 90 days (i.e. a summer study abroad program), a visa is not required. For students studying abroad for full semesters, or even a full academic year abroad, applying for a student visa will be a vital step in preparing for study abroad in France. Your university’s study abroad office will be able to help you through the visa process.
Benefits & Challenges
- Cultural Melting Pot. Studying abroad in Montpellier presents the perfect combination of culture, education, and experience. Near the idyllic Mediterranean Sea – Spanish, French, and Algerian influences can be felt in this city’s amazing architecture, local markets, and pleasant people.
- Up-and-Coming City! Historically, life in Montpellier has been centered on education and political tolerance, and is now the fastest growing city in France, primarily due to its huge student population. Those who study in Montpellier will find themselves surrounded by like-minded people looking for a chance to expand their cultural horizons.
- Beach or City. The only challenge students are likely to face while studying in Montpellier is whether to spend their weekends visiting one of the cities within reach or to relax on the nearby warm Mediterranean beaches.