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If you're interested in studying in a nation who has heavily influenced the western world for hundreds of years, France would make a great fit. France's composition of picturesque countryside, busy city streets, white sandy beaches, and majestic mountain peaks make it a one-of-a-kind study abroad destination. For experiencing continental Europe, France's central location allows for convenient overland travel as it borders 9 different countries.
Beyond language acquisition, art students, history majors, and businessmen alike will find France's opportunities very attractive. Over the course of time, the French have made notable contributions to art, philosophy, architecture, fashion, food and wine, literature, and cinema, adding the "sugar on top of the croissant" in this proud country (with good reason!).
France is one of the most popular study abroad destinations, consistently ranking in the top five, and hosted over 17,000 study abroaders in the past year alone. Many study abroad program providers have capitalized on students' interests in venturing to France, and as such, your possibilities for study abroad are virtually endless. However, these increased options may mean a little more legwork to find a program that suits your desired experience abroad. Language classes, housing, and the inclusion of cultural activities should all play a factor in your final decision.
Learners of French will find many opportunities for language immersion programs all around the country. Surrounding yourself with the French people and enveloping their way of life will prove beneficial on your journey (destination: fluency).
The degree of immersion will vary dependent on your intended host city for your study abroad experience. The bigger cities will largely be more accommodating to those who speak French as a second language. A more remote, smaller city, with a significantly smaller population of foreigners, will give you a chance to really get involved with the French way of life.
Your study abroad experience, and ultimately your French experience, will be strongly influenced by where you decide to live during your time abroad. If you decide to study abroad through your university provider, it is likely you will live in community with other American students from your university. While providing fun and comfort, living in this environment typically proves to be more challenging if your desire is to befriend locals or international students.
The cost of your housing will also depend on where you are living in France, as there is a significant cost difference between the capital city of Paris and other cities. AIFS Abroad provides 5 different programs across 3 different cities in France, whose costs of housing vary significantly (between $1000-$2000). CEA offers a wealth of options for housing their students.
Program fees may or may not include added cultural activities or small excursions. Some programs believe these events are great for team building and learning more extensively about your new country of residence. Others find that allowing students to organize these activities on their own fosters a deeper learning experience..
These activities can range from a daytrip at a local museum to a weekend adventure in a nearby country or city. Both Academic Programs International (API) and IES Abroad programs programs include these organized trips in their fees, offering short and long term trips around the country. Check out their different itineraries to see which excursions most interest you!
A fun tip from Paris Unraveled - most state and city-run museums are free/greatly reduced price for students under 26 all over France and the EU; the trick to obtaining the discount is to show a French university student ID (not an American ID or ISIC)!
France did not earn a reputation of luxury by accident. While being known for its culturally significant sights, it is also known for its high costs. Regardless, many study abroad providers have program-specific scholarships that can help offset the costs of your study abroad experience. If you are choosing the more independent route, these scholarships (plus more!) are available for you to apply to.
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