Summer break—the perfect time for drinks, beaches, and festivities – oui? Oui! Experience the best of all of these AND get ahead in your studies by spending this magical time in France. The birthplace of Napoleon, Descartes, Monet (the list goes on), your extended vacation will enlighten your education. From vast vineyards in Bordeaux to an iconic stroll along la Seine to the seemingly never-ending countryside in Provence, this romantic country will woo you with its endless flirtatious features. Grab your swimsuit and pop the champagne—you’re spending a once-in-a-lifetime of summer study abroad in France!
Why Spend Summer in France
With summer programs in France, you’ll experience the créme de la créme of everything France has to offer. You’ll not only be able to study art, fashion, history, and culinary arts—you’ll live and breathe them! Some of the best festivities of the year align with this season, from watching the cyclists at the Tour de France and admiring art at the Festival d’Avignon to celebrating the French Revolution on Bastille Day with the locals. Experience France to the fullest next summer!
While programs offer courses in both in English and French, why not immerse yourself in the language of love? French is the second most studied language in the world and the official language of France (in fact, most people won’t speak English on principle). Summer programs in France offer immersion courses in a relaxing atmosphere, with smaller class sizes for you to quickly learn your s'il vous plaît’s and merci’s. You’ll be ordering pastis in French in no time! After you get back home, you’ll make your (future) partner swoon with this seductive language.
While France does border nine different countries—perfect for weekend visits—l’hexagone boasts warm beaches on the east and west coasts for you to go for a dip and take a load off from your studies. Stay for the dreamy sunsets, too. Whether you’re munching on crêpes in the morning or savoring a coeur à la crème in the evening with your classmates, you’ll discover the French l’art de vivre wherever you go.
Paris—the City of Light, astutely named because of its leading role in the Age of Enlightenment. Walk along in the footsteps of Parisian philosophers and artists in this capital city during your summer in France. With some programs, your class excursions could include taking a tour on the River Seine and visiting the Musée D'Orsay, the Garnier Opera House, and the Concierge Palace and Prison. When you’re not taking notes for class, have lunch with your classmates in a Paris Park, catch an outdoor flick at the Cinema en Plein Air festival, and watch fireworks decorate the sky.
Aix-en-Provence—the City of a Thousand Fountains, “Aix” is a university city that feels like a small town. Many summer programs in France call this cute city home. Located in southern France, you’ll love the mild Mediterranean climate and close proximity to seaside beaches. When you’re not visiting nearby medieval villages or rolling countrysides on your class excursions, you’ll want to visit the outdoor summer festivals in your free time. The Festival d’Aix-en-Provence features musicians and operas outdoors, and the Musique dans la Rue showcases music in street venues and courtyards.
Montpellier, this 1,000-year-old city with a blend of French and Arabic culture sits just a bike ride away from the jewel blues of the Mediterranean. A hub for university life, Montpellier offers plenty of student activities with a buzzing nightlife. Don’t forget to gather up your peers and experience the Festival de Radio France et Montpellier, which boasts over 150 events of classical music and jazz (many of them free!) in historic courtyards in the city or in the concert halls of Le Corum.
Tips for Summer Study in France
To smile bigger than Mona Lisa during your summer in France, keep a few tips in mind. Go in June and July when the locals are around (they go on holiday in August). Be aware that you’ll likely experience large, touristy crowds, as the wonderment of summers in France isn’t exactly a “secret.” Just turn to your professors and local staff to ask when the best time is to visit these places! Make sure you have the right adapters to charge your phone (so you can take endless photos for your Instagram posts and Facebook albums—your friends and family will be saying ooh la la!).
The summers in France are relatively warm, so no need to pack too much! Take the essentials and for rainy days, a light coat and an umbrella should do the trick. Flip flops? Non! Leave those at home. Invest in a fashionable pair of sandals to blend in with the stylish French locals.
Unfortunately, pickpocketing and bag-snatching is a real possibility in France, so stay vigilant. Always keep an eye on your backpack or purse, and keep your essentials close to you (perhaps in a money belt), especially in public areas like train stations, airports, cafés, and beaches. You don’t want that smile turned upside down from theft.
Summer Abroad Scholarships in France
Millions of people visit France every year, and in the summer, tourists flock to France, so airfare and other costs will be a little spendier than usual. With summer abroad scholarships in France, you won’t be breaking the bank (as much), so you can have your cake and eat it too! Here’s just a taste of some of the available summer study abroad scholarships for France:
- IES Abroad offers a summer study abroad scholarship of $1000! Applicants will need to be attending one of the schools that is a member of the ISA Consortium and submit an application with a personal essay and a profile.
- Study Abroad Europe awards students an Academic Study Abroad Scholarship for the summer ranging from $250 to $1000. To apply, you’ll need to be accepted into the program with at least a 3.0 GPA, a letter of recommendation, and a personal essay.
- API awards thousands of dollars every year to students from all backgrounds. API’s scholarships range from $200 to $750.
The early bird gets the worm: apply early and often for summer scholarships. Take into account all of the scholarship requirements (essays, recommendations, applications) and deadlines as well. To get the 411 on all of the available summer study abroad scholarships in France, give the program coordinator a ring and visit GoAbroad.com’s Scholarship Directory.
Benefits & Challenges
You’ll be joining a global community, getting on top of your studies, broadening your horizons, making international friends, and developing new skills. Not to mention you’ll be immersing yourself in French, which is the official language in nearly 30 countries. By learning this language during your summer studying abroad, this tidbit on your resume will no doubt impress employers.
You’re discovering a new, unfamiliar territory and then—bam!—culture shock. You’ll experience a language barrier, as everyone speaks French (especially in rural areas), and you might be overwhelmed with the crazy traffic and tourist crowds in the cities. Embrace it, mon ami! You’re experiencing something few are so fortunate to, so have some extra cheese with that wine. The French know how to enjoy life, especially this happy time of year, and soon you’ll never want to leave.
Who knows? After completing summer programs in France and deeply experiencing the French lifestyle, you may just be the next Jean-Paul Sartre or Simone de Beauvoir! Beach fun by day and apéritifs with new lifelong friends by night, you’ll be shouting liberté, égalité, fraternité like the French in no time!