Your first introduction to France may’ve been Lumière’s song and dance across the dinner table, but its so much more than that. The French do not like to rush; their appreciation of artistic quality emphasizes this, whether it is in painting, food, fashion, or architecture. France has a long history of people fighting for what they believe in, and this underlying current of Bohemianism makes it perfect for off-beat students! Even in the smallest cobblestoned town, students of all majors will be able to enhance their academic and cultural pursuits through study abroad in France. Don’t be what the French call les incompétents, find a program and study in France!
France, located smack dab between Spain and Germany, boasts coasts on both the east and west sides. From the seaside town of Marseille to the vineyards of Bordeaux to the snow sport enthusiast’s dream in Chamonix, students will not be shy of variety when choosing where to study in France.
Paris, the capital city, is the main metropolitan area with just over two million people – and we've got tons of study abroad in Paris tips! It’s no surprise this cultural hub is a popular spot for study abroad in France; with opportunities to see amazing feats in architecture, such as the Eiffel Tower or the Arc de Triomphe, the life of an international student in Paris is never dull. While living in Paris might be expensive on a student budget, the city makes up for it ten fold in history, social life, and cuisine.
The third largest city, and the nation’s banking stronghold for the last 500 years, Lyon is another popular destination for study abroad in France. It is rated one of the most attractive cities in France, yet this beautiful city is less touristy than Paris, and offers more immersion for French-learning students. In between classes, be sure to sample the infamous local cuisine, climb to its highest point to sneak a peak of the Swiss Alps, and save time to check out the cuckoo clock in downtown.
Famed for its gorgeous beachside walks, Nice is one of those few French cities where you can almost see the unlikely mixture of a real city with some of the old-world prosperity hanging on. With year-round sunshine, international students in Nice will have no shortage of things to do outside the classroom, whether that’s hanging on the beach, engorging on seafood, or relishing in its thriving art scene.
To seize the most opportunities for French language practice, we recommend students study in France outside of the capital city. Fewer foreigners equals fewer temptations to slip back into your native tongue. But don’t get us wrong, a weekend trip (or two) to the City of Lights is an absolute must for anyone studying abroad in France.
Study Abroad Programs in France
A liberal arts student’s dream destination, France is home to some of the greatest art, language, and cuisine Western civilization has to offer. No matter what French city or university you choose to study at, there will never be a shortage of courses to choose from. For most study abroad programs in France, zero French language experience is required; although we hope you try your luck at the most romantic language in the world while you’re there!
Spoken in 21 countries around the world, and considered by most to be the “language of love”, France is the ideal place to learn its native language, French. While many universities and language schools call Paris home, sometimes the best place to truly immerse yourself in the French language is outside the capital city where there are less tourists. With French language classes being offered by most study abroad programs in France, there are classes for all levels, and classes that focus on different areas of the language, such as music or literature.
Besides its language, France is also famous for its incredible cuisine, so what better place to study culinary arts abroad? What’s great about culinary classes in France is that many offer side internships in order for students to gain some real world experience to add to their resumé. In the end, if you’re looking for culinary excellence in the classroom and in a professional setting, then France is the place for you to study abroad.
There’s the never ending, yet fascinating subject of French art. They say to come for the Mona Lisa, but stay for the impressionist paintings. Whether you’re interested in art history, the fine arts, or just looking to get a general overview of French art, studying in France may be perfect for you. With hundreds of art museums all around the country, many courses will have multiple field trips to offer students a first hand look at the pieces you’re studying.
Scholarships & Costs
As one of the leading economic leaders in the world and the European Union, France ranks among the most expensive countries in terms of living costs, especially in Paris. The bright side is that with so many opportunities to study in France and universities to choose from, there are also scholarships and financial aid aplenty.
The biggest cost of studying abroad in France will be food and entertainment. As a part of the European Union, the French use the Euro, which is roughly equal to the U.S. dollar. In Paris, which is one of the most expensive places to live in the world, simple things such as dining out at a café or going to a restaurant for dinner will add up quickly. Make sure to grocery shop at stores where locals go, and to avoid eating in touristy areas.
Accommodation & Visas
As with most European study abroad destinations, visas are not hard to acquire if you plan to study in France for less than three months. Any visitor that is not part of the European Union who plans to study abroad in France for more than three months must have a student visa. Visa application materials can be obtained at a French consulate in your home country. Proof of acceptance into a local university or study abroad program in France and proof of adequate funds to support yourself for longer than three months will also be needed when applying. Check out GoAbroad’s French Embassy Directory for up to date information on French student visas.
Accommodations vary by program and destination, but your choice will have a huge impact on your experience, so make sure to research accordingly. Most international students who study in France choose to either stay in dormitories or in independent housing in apartments and flats. Some study abroad programs in France offer intense immersion experiences and put students up with French families, which is without a doubt the quickest way to learn French. Make sure to ask your program advisor for help and research all your options to have the best experience studying abroad in France.
Benefits & Challenges
From the art to the food to the language to the architecture to the history, France is without parallel. Students who study in France will have a unique opportunity to study subjects that have been refined and perfected by professionals over hundreds of years.
Besides this academic excellence, France is one of the most beautiful countries in the world. Whether you’re taking in Paris in the rain, strolling through the French Riviera, or munching on macaroons with your best amis, allow yourself to truly let go and immerse yourself in the whole different landscape.
While the benefits of study abroad in France are numerous, some students find the expensive cost of living in France to be a difficult adjustment, so you will need to budget accordingly. Part in parcel, Paris is one of the most tourist cities in the world; its cosmopolitan nature can prove challenging if you want to fully immerse yourself in French culture, however.
All in all though, every experience is what you make of it. So shop locally, avoid the touristy areas, make French friends, and voilà, you will have a story to make anyone envious of back home. France is world class, and an incredibly influential country whose impacts reach far and wide.
So grab a baguette, a bottle of 3 Euro wine, and your camera, and head to the shadows of the Eiffel Tower for the picnic you’ve always dreamed of. Don't miss your change to study in France!