Need we say anything at all about why to apply for a high school program in Paris? One of the world’s greatest and most iconic cities, Paris has long been centrally influential to the development of global affairs and remains so to this day. The “City of Love” quite literally has it all, art, culture, food, history, architecture, and some of the best schools in the world. High school programs in Paris will be a tremendously enriching experience in one of the world’s greatest cities.
High School Programs Abroad in Paris
Many high school programs in Paris are centered around language immersion. If you are studying French then the best way to improve your fluency with the language is actually traveling to a French speaking country and using it on a daily basis. If you have never taken a French class in your life then don’t fret, courses are available at all levels, from beginning to intermediate to advanced.
Beyond language, programs might also focus on studying a specific aspect of French culture, while embarking on many interactive field trips throughout the city scape. If you are interested in such subjects as art, cooking, photography, or other specialized disciplines, then there are quite a few opportunities for you to travel abroad and enroll in cultural immersion courses within the cultural hotbed that is Paris.
For those who are restless and do not want to be held to just one city, some adventure programs in France will take you to Paris as just one stop on a tour of the entire French countryside. Embarking on a high school program abroad such as this is a great way to gain exposure to the whole country, beyond just the capital city. Plus, odds are you will still be spending a significant chunk of time in Paris, if that is the city that interests you most.
Most high school programs in Paris run over the summer and can last anywhere from two weeks to two months. Many high school study abroad programs in Paris also offer academic credit for learning experiences completed abroad, either for high school or college courses. It is also possible to study abroad in Paris for a full semester or even academic year if you are ambitious; there are many boarding schools in the city open to international students and foreign exchange program participants.
Life in Paris
Paris is the capital of France and a major financial, educational, and political hub of the continent. It is also the second largest metropolitan area in Europe (after London) and a highly ranked global city, hosting an ethnically diverse population as well as prestigious international organizations and corporations with ties all over the world. So, simply put, Paris is kind of a big deal.
Paris can be overwhelming at times if you are not used to life in the big city; like any major urban area it has its share of poverty and crime, though you will always be made secure and accounted for as a high school student abroad (high school programs tend to be more rigidly structured and offer greater levels of supervision than college study abroad programs). Enjoy the adventure, and if you play by the rules then safety need not be a concern!
While in Paris you will have access to some of the best museums, theaters, cafes, restaurants, and other such cultural establishments in the world. Far beyond the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame Cathedral, you will have the opportunity to explore the deeper nooks and crannies of the city as a high school student in Paris. The metro system in Paris is great, making travel throughout the cityscape easy and accessible.
You should take every opportunity possible to practice your French while in Paris. Not only with this tremendously improve your proficiency with the language, but you will find locals to be much more engaging and hospitable if you are able to speak French to them as well. Parisians are very proud and cultured people, and conversations with locals will likely be the most memorable you will have!
Costs & Affordability
Paris is quite an expensive city to live in, even by European standards. Different high school programs will vary in both affordability and inclusions offered throughout the the trip, so it is important to research these financial details carefully before deciding which fits best for your academic interests and budget. If you are put off by the initial expenses don’t fret – fundraising can prove a tremendous financial boost for any high school student headed to Paris.
Accommodation & Visas
Most students who join a high school abroad program in Paris either live in a homestay or dormitory style housing situation. Homestays are a great way to become close with a local Parisian family and to practice your French on a daily basis (the home cooking sure isn’t bad either). Dormitory style living can be fun too and give you a taste of what college will be like, though you will likely be under more strict supervision.
Coming from most Western countries you will only need to obtain a student visa if you plan on participating in a program for longer than three months. High school students coming from within the EU will not need to obtain a visa at all.
Benefits & Challenges
High school programs in Paris will be a fun and personally rewarding experience that will open your eyes to the wide world beyond your home. It may certainly prove challenging to leave home and embark alone on a world adventure at such a young age; however, through the process you will come to discover much about another culture and yourself in one of the most important and culturally influential cities in the world. Allez les Bleus!