What makes a city nice? Fresh mediterranean breezes, sunny weather, belle epoch architecture, and beautiful people definitely make Nice “nice.” French by name, international by nature, there are more reasons to study abroad in this riviera paradise than there are blue umbrellas on the Promenade des Anglais. By choosing to study abroad in Nice, you will be following in the footsteps of intellectuals like Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald; plus, you’ll get to enjoy some of the finest cuisine on the planet, bathe in year-round sunshine, and discover the true meaning of the words la vie est belle.
Study Abroad Programs in Nice
Nice is more than just a pretty face (and beach). A cultural and historical center, there is a vast array of academic institutions that call Nice home. These include French universities, international schools, and language schools, all of which offer flexible study abroad programs in Nice.
There are opportunity to study abroad in Nice available in both English and French, for most majors. While French isn’t strictly necessary for studying abroad in Nice, getting a good grasp of this romance language will greatly enhance your time living and studying in France. There are plenty of courses aimed at studying the French language in Nice, which can often be taken in conjunction with another main course of study.
Some of the subjects popular among international students in Nice are business, arts, and European studies. With a strong culinary tradition that Niçoise people are fiercely proud of, Nice is also the perfect place to study culinary arts. These courses are based on practical experience, and many will offer internships to their students, which will set you up with invaluable real-world experience.
France has a strong intellectual tradition, so students are expected to put a lot of effort into their studies. In addition to your class hours, you can expect plenty of homework, along with regular written and oral examinations. Grades can be confusing for international students as there are no letters in sight; all assignments and exams are graded on a zero to 20 scale. Don’t worry if you never get higher than 16/20, 20 is said to be for God (in other words, completely unattainable).
Life in Nice
Nice is set between the beach and the mountains, and it makes the most of both with plenty of activities available for outdoors lovers. The town itself has more fine dining options than you can shake a baguette at, and simply roaming the streets and admiring the exquisite architecture can keep you busy for days. Nice is a town fatal to boredom and ideal for study abroad students with an appetite for discovery.
A pebble beach stretches for (literally) miles along the Promenade des Anglais. The Promenade is scattered with beach clubs replete with loungers, restaurants, beach volleyball courts, water sports, and sandy playground areas. If you are bored with sunbathing and itching to get active, the waterfront is ideal for rollerblading, running, skateboarding, or cycling.
Nice has one of the longest running street carnivals in history. If you’re spending your spring semester abroad in Nice, prepare for outrageous fun. Originally starting and ending right before Lent, these days the street carnival goes for two full weeks. Light shows, flower battles, fireworks, street vendors, and more are all here. Another fantastic event is the Nice Jazz Festival during the summer months. These weeks are filled with stunning outdoor venues amid Roman ruins, where international musical superstars take the stage. The city of Nice is very concentrated, making it very easy for international students to get around town.
Studying abroad in Nice is an adventure of its own, but its access to other beautiful parts of France and Europe shouldn’t be understated. Once you have explored all the nooks and crannies of Nice, travel beyond the city limits. The French Riviera is very accessible by train. The rail runs along the seafront, giving passengers unlimited access to a large number of different stops along the ocean. Great places to visit include Cannes, Monaco, Antibes, the islands of Ventimiglia, and San Remo.
Accommodation & Visas
You might not get to live in a chateau, but where you live while studying in Nice will be pretty special. Your new home, wherever it may be, will play a big role in the development of your language skills and new friendships, and consequently your overall experience of study abroad in Nice.
Most students who study abroad in Nice wind up staying in student dormitories. Living in campus housing is straight-forward and social; you will have ample opportunities to get to know both French and international students. If you decide to move off campus, shared apartments are common, and there are always future roommates (and friends) looking for people to fill their spare room online. If honing your French is your priority, there is also the option of setting yourself up in a homestay with a French family. This is a fast-track route to fluency, plus you’ll get the added benefit of a whole new family, which basically counts as an antidote to homesickness.
If you aren’t from a country within the European Union, in order to study abroad in Nice you will need a long stay student visa. As part of this process, you will be required to fill out a French immigration form. To find out more about visa requirements and specific processes, contact your home country’s French consulate. Your host university will also be a huge help in talking you through the visa quagmire and making sure you have all necessary documentation. Visas can take up to two months to be issued, so it’s a good idea to start your application as soon as possible if you want to study abroad in Nice next semester
Benefits & Challenges
Other than the obvious benefit of waking up in one of the most beautiful cities in the world every day, there are unlimited positives to studying abroad in Nice.
Your language skills will flourish. Although it is an international and cosmopolitan city, the French are notorious for refusing to speak English. This is a blessing for international students, who will be forced to dust off their classroom French and polish up their accents. One of the most widely spoken languages in the world, the French skills you pick up while studying in Nice will be an asset in both your career and travel endeavours.
Your tongue won’t just be busy with French vocabulary. In Nice, you will experience some of the world’s best cuisine. Eating good food is one of life’s simplest pleasures, and one you will make the most of while studying abroad in Nice. Whether it is savouring a flaky pastry from the local boulangerie, dining out at a classy restaurant, or enjoying a cheese buffet with a bottle of rosé and good company, you won’t have any trouble embracing the tastiest side of French culture.
Don’t forget though, that living in an elite city beloved by the rich and famous comes at a cost - a high cost. Nice can be outrageously expensive, and the high cost of living can pose a challenge for many students. It is worth checking out GoAbroad’s Scholarship Directory to see if there are any scholarships that might be able to enable you to study abroad in Nice.
No matter how far you go, or where you have been, nobody can argue that the natural landscapes and architecture of Nice are among the loveliest in the world. Regardless of how much the city has grown, developed, or altered throughout history, Nice remains unchanged in its ability to captivate, inspire, and charm. Trying to resist Nice’s spell is pointless: just give in to the magic and sign up for a study abroad experience you will never forget.