France. Germany. No, France. Germany?! If you’re having a hard time picking between these two fabulous European countries for study abroad, sweat no more. Strasbourg is definitely a French city, but with a strong German influence. When you study abroad in Strasbourg, you don’t have to choose just one country! When you live in Strasbourg it’s like you are studying abroad in France and Germany. Speak French with a slight German accent, eat German-inspired foods along with your baguettes, take pictures of colorful buildings that are reminiscent of small French and German towns. It’s all there, waiting for you!
What you need to know to study abroad in Strasbourg
Strasbourg is home to France’s second largest university and the country’s second largest student population. If you’re planning to study abroad in France, Strasbourg is the place to be.
Popular subjects to study. French is spoken in 29 countries around the world and is an official language at the United Nations. Study abroad in Strasbourg for an opportunity to practice your language skills in and out of the classroom. The city of Strasbourg was founded in 1262. That’s more than 700 years of history to study! Sharing a border with Germany, Strasbourg and the Alsace region have been swapped between France and Germany several times over the centuries. Strasbourg is also one of the de facto capitals of the European Union. As the seat of several European institutions, Strasbourg is the perfect place to study political science.
Short term and summer programs vs. long term programs. If you can’t seem to fit a semester or year abroad into your schedule, there are plenty of summer and spring break programs out there. Shorter programs are also ideal for new travelers who aren’t ready to commit to a longer time abroad. A longer program will give you the opportunity to hone your language skills. You could spend fall term studying and staying with a host family—and be home in time for the holidays. If you absolutely loved your time studying abroad in Strasbourg, you could go back for spring term, too!
Attending university vs. other program types. By choosing a university program for your study abroad experience, you’ll be more likely to have your credits transfer back to your home institution. Check out your school’s study abroad office to see if they run any programs you might be interested in. As such a popular place amongst international university students, there is a growing number of organizations out there offering other types of programs (like the ones listed here!). These folks know their stuff and will help you every step of the way.
Don’t let your unique interests stop you from studying abroad; more likely than not, there are other weirdos out there who are wanting to study the same things.
Life in Strasbourg for international students
The University of Strasbourg is huge, so there’s no shortage of things to do. Since the local university is so big, the city has done a great job of creating lots of fun activities to keep its many students busy and happy in their free time. Outside school, you should go hiking. Go hiking because the scenery is absolutely beautiful, but also so that you don’t feel quite as guilty after eating all of the (extremely unhealthy...) food. Cuisine from France and Germany mingle in Strasbourg, and honestly, you can only benefit from that. Munster cheese! Pretzels! Kougelhopf! (Do yourself a favor and google this one!).
It might be cold in Alsace in the winter, but it is oh so worth it! Strasbourg is often referred to as the Capital of Christmas. The Christmas market in Strasbourg is the oldest and largest in Europe, dating all the way back to 1570. It’s all of the best things about winter and holiday cheer!
But don’t worry, if you would rather spend the holidays with Grandma at home, there’s still plenty to enjoy outside of winter in Strasbourg. We’d tell you all about it, but we don’t want to give away any secrets. Go find out for yourself!! :)
GoAbroad’s Inside Scoop for study abroad students in Strasbourg
As you travel throughout France you might notice that French sounds a bit different from region to region. Don’t be surprised if your new friends in Strasbourg speak French with a slightly different accent than you’re used to. Some people here even speak Alsatian, the historic local language.
In addition to the epic Christmas market, Strasbourg is where Gutenberg invented the printing press and the French national anthem was written. Strasbourg’s city center, known as the Grand Ile, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site—the WHOLE island is a world heritage site.
Strasbourg’s unique blend of French and German architecture, food, and culture makes this city an exciting place for any modern student. Study abroad in Strasbourg and step anew into your cosmopolitan life!
Strasbourg est une bon idée! Check out our comprehensive guide to studying abroad in France.