Bordeaux is more than just the wine capital of the world; it is the perfect place to study abroad while you are in France. No, seriously. Hear us out. Bordeaux’s old town has been added to UNESCO’s World Heritage list for its urban architecture—its number of historical buildings is second only to Paris in all of France! If you want inspiration, studying abroad in Bordeaux is a great way to understand all that France has to offer (but off the beaten path) while still increasing your learning and enjoying the fermented fruits of your labor. Forget Paris—true francophiles will study abroad in Bordeaux.
What you need to know to study abroad in Bordeaux, France
France is known for many things, from gastronomy to fashion, and a trip to study abroad in Bordeaux is a great way to pursue your chosen topic of study while still getting a chance to become versed in the French way of living and the finer things in life.
Popular subjects to study. Fashion Design and Manufacturing is a popular choice in Bordeaux, with easy proximity to various centers of fashion commerce and design, which come up high on the list for students interested in studying in France. Business and Communication are also popular choices, given than long-term leaders in industry are headquartered in France and Bordeaux itself is central to a worldwide business exemplar with the local wine industry. Finally, language comes alive when you are studying French in Bordeaux; every walk through the city reinforces what you learn with flashcards and vocabulary quizzes in class.
Short term and summer programs vs. long term programs. Selecting a longer course of study in Bordeaux, like a year long or semester long program, gives you a chance to really dive into the French language; you will also notice how modern France has become a tourism capital while retaining the distinctive way of enjoying life. Selecting a short-term program gives you an immediate connection to the amazing landscapes that surround Bordeaux, while preparing you for other travel or a return to your home institution.
Attending universities vs. other program type. While you study abroad in Bordeaux, you will find a variety of courses and degrees offered in a traditional university setting or in a satellite campus arrangement. There are also combination programs in fields like the Fashion Industry that will combine classroom learning with a required internship that gets your feet wet in the fast-paced world of garment design, as well as 3rd party providers that can sometimes save you quite a bit of money if the program is right for you.
Life in Bordeaux, France for International Students
Bordeaux receives plenty of wine tourists every year, but you will definitely get opportunities to practice your French throughout the city; the nearby residents take pride in their language, so make every effort to learn French quickly and well. Immersion in the francophone environment will ensure that you are quickly ordering your croissant and cafe au lait, never forgetting the merci.
When searching for housing, a homestay or apartment share can be a great option for making friends, getting to know family life, and trying some remarkable homestyle cooking. If you are lucky, you might even get to live with someone who can make the traditional bourdelais (of Bordeaux) pastry, canelé. Sharing sweets with new friends is also possible if you rent your own apartment or stay in student housing in Bordeaux, which are both plentiful in the area.
While studying abroad in Bordeaux, get to know the Bordeaux tramway, a convenient and easy-to-memorize system of trams that can get you across town in a jiffy. It’s worth noting where you are in relation to the Bordeaux/St. Jean train station as well, so that if you want to make an enjoyable day trip out of the city, you can get tickets for your adventure and leave on time. Bordeaux will make sure that you take life a little slower and enjoy it, but the modern travel amenities will make sure you can always get to class with a few minutes to spare for studying.
GoAbroad’s Inside Scoop for study abroad students in Bordeaux
If you need a study break, head down to the city’s former wet docks; while they served their briny purposes in the past for fishermen and other boat traffic, they are now great place to get a coffee with a friend, or visit a museum like the other-worldly Cité du Vin, which is housed in a modern museum and offers a history of wine like no other. Your education will be enriched and you’ll get lovely views of the Garonne River at the same time.
The flatness of the terrain in this area make the city very pedestrian-friendly, a god-send for students studying abroad who don’t want to buy or rent cars. Other popular options during good weather include biking and rollerblading through the city center, so don’t be afraid to strap on your skates if you want to feel the breeze in your hair.
Studying in Bordeaux will give you a variety of amazing experiences. It’s worth raising a glass to the sight of all this amazing medieval architecture and romantic landscape even as your train pulls out of the station to your next destination.
Still drinking it all in? Read our comprehensive guide on studying abroad in France.