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USAC FRANCE: Pau - French Language & European Studies
University Studies Abroad Consortium participants University Studies Abroad Consortium participants

USAC FRANCE: Pau - French Language & European Studies

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    10

Incroyable

My study abroad experience to Pau, France was a life-changing experience. I was very nervous at first, but with the help of the USAC faculty and community, it ended up being an amazing trip. I was very happy that I chose to go with USAC because they help you tremendously throughout the entire experience. The staff that helped me while I was in Pau were Robina, Pauline, and Magali. These three made the experience very comfortable, and it made me feel like I was at home and I could go to someone if I had any questions or concerns. I like how they set up classes so that you are around those that are at the same level of French as you. The teachers I had for both French and Art History were very knowledgeable and friendly. I loved that the students had a lot of say in what we learned in the classes, this led one of my units being about wine! This also gave us the chance to go at our own pace and work on what we needed to work on.
The second day I was in Pau, we got on a bus to go downtown. As we were entering the city, I teared up because of the beauty, the historic buildings. This was my first time ever being in Europe or any part of the Old World. The city is a perfect size to meet people and get the true French experience. I loved how much there was to do around Pau. I went on hikes in the Pyrenees, which were breathtaking. I visited Basque country and Saint Jean Pied de Port. I went surfing in Biarritz; I visited Bayonne and San Sebastian. I also had the chance to visit the historic town of La Rochelle, the port city of Bordeaux and of course Paris. Everything I ate while abroad was delicious! I have never had such fresh bread, cheese, baked goods and more. I lived with a host family; I would highly recommend doing this! I loved having the experience of living in a French home and receiving home cooked meals. I stay in touch with my host family to this day and plan to visit in the future. Overall, I was thrilled to have this opportunity! I loved being able to live within the French culture.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    10

My semester abroad

My experience with the USAC program was stupendous. USAC was with me every step of the way. My program advisor assisted me in choosing the right program for me and gave me advice to help convince my parents to let me travel abroad. And through the whole application and visa process i received step by step instructions and reminders to help me complete my application. Over there i felt like i always had someone to go to if i had any issues. Many activities were planned for us. Being abroad was life-changing for me and i take all the things i learned over there and try to utilize them in my everyday life. I hoping to go back soon and i am in the process of applying for a job in France.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Community

    9

  • Health & 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 & Safety

    10

  • Community

    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

  • Academics

    7

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    7

Little city in the Pyrenees

My year in Pau was deeply enriching. I participated in the language program, and I now speak French at a high level. The year was diverse with the comforting consistency of the little city in the Pyrenees, familiar and beautiful. The program took us on many adventures, helping us to see more of the country of France and meet French students. I was able to form bonds with locals and with fellow students from around the world all congregating to learn French together. I lived in a studio apartment right by the university- it was all I needed, my cosy place to call home. The staff working in Pau had all the answers, and they were always available to help us in all realms of our experience. The professors, for the most part, had a refreshing, applied approach to teaching the language, and I truly admired a few of them. Pau offered many nice places to walk around, share a meal, and go out to socialize. The group of students who stayed there became very close, but always encouraged one another to reach out to people from other places. Community outreach opportunities were provided to us consistently throughout the year, and I was matched with a Pediatric surgeon who I would meet with to help him practice his English. In return, I gained a friendship and a mentor. I went back to Pau a year later to visit some friends and the USAC staff. It was such a beautiful experience to come back to a familiar place and walk the streets again, giddily feeling like they were my own. Pau was a special experience. Its location allowed for ample travel, but its charm often kept me happy to stay there for the weekend.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Community

    7

  • Health & 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 & Safety

    8

  • Community

    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 & Safety

    10

  • Community

    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.