API Gap Year in France

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API offers a wonderful opportunity for students to take a gap year in France on a study abroad program and immerse themselves into the French culture and way of life in Grenoble or Paris. Courses are taught in French at all levels, from beginning to superior. Classes are comprised of other foreign and American students.

Whether it’s gastronomic greatness, artistic endeavor or cultural cachet you’re looking for, there’s no doubt that France still sits right at the top of the European heap. France is the country for which the word chic was invented – seductive and aloof, old-fashioned and forward-looking, but always characterized by a certain je ne sais quoi. France is Europe’s most diverse, tasty, and, in many ways, exciting country to explore. It’s a multifaceted cultural fondue. France is nearly as big as Texas, with 60 million people and more than 500 different cheeses!

Aspire by API is now known simply as API. API (Academic Programs International) has been the parent company of Aspire by API since 2009, and API has sent thousands of students abroad since 1997. Our name has changed, but our mission will remain the same. We still aim to transform lives by providing enriching experiential programs abroad that foster increased self-knowledge, cultural sensitivity and understanding of the global nature of our contemporary world.


API Scholarships
API Scholarships and Financial Aid Information

API awards approximately $500,000 in study abroad scholarships annually ranging from $250 -$1,000 per student.

$250 - $1,000

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API Gap Year invites recent high school graduates (minimum age of 17) to study abroad in Paris, France in the French Language and Liberal Arts program. Students will take courses at the Institut Catholique de Paris based on their French language ability. Students in this program select a combination of French language and cultural electives, and have the option of taking cultural electives in English.


This intensive language program is available for students at all levels who wish to study abroad in Grenoble. All students complete a comprehensive French language course that focuses on writing, oral expression and pronunciation, grammar, and vocabulary. Students spend three hours a day in class and one hour a day in the language lab. This equates to twenty hours a week, as classes are taught Monday through Friday. Level of French study is based on a placement exam administered upon arrival.


Students who choose to study abroad in Paris with API in the Language and Culture Studies Program select a combination of French language and cultural electives, referred to as French Civilization courses. The number of credits earned for each language course and the cultural electives varies according to the particular session a student selects.

Questions & Answers

Hi Grady, thank you for your question! No, it is not necessary to have a previous background in French for this program - in fact, we encourage beginners to apply! If you have any further questions, please feel free to email me directly at api-hs@apiabroad.com. Thank you! Sincerely, Jenny Doder


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Yes, I recommend this program

Aspire by API - Paris

Overall, the semester of my gap year spent in Paris with Aspire by API was above average - but not phenomenal. The program is well organized and the school is excellent, however I didn't feel that API did enough for its gap year students specifically. There were very few of us, and we did everything that the college students did - no more, no less. I wish that there had been some separate get-togethers planned for the gap year students, as we definitely had some different concerns than did the college students.

As for living arrangements, I chose to live in the dormitory, and honestly I don't think this was a great choice. The dorm is alright, but not ideal. API does a great job finding host families from what I could tell by visiting friends staying with local families. I also think that much more would be gained (in terms of language, culture, assimilation, etc.) by having opted to live in a home than in a dorm. The the main dorm used by API is intended for American students, so there is not very much intercultural interaction.

While my experience with Aspire by API did not quite measure up to the standard set by my first gap year semester program, this was not at all entirely API's fault. Most of my discontent - and again, it's not that I had an awful time, overall I gained a lot from the semester - came from issues with other students. I do wish that the program coordinators in Paris had been a little more welcoming so I would have felt more open to talking to them, but they mostly did what they could for so many students. When I lost my wallet at 1am, I was able to call one of the coordinators and she was very helpful despite the fact that I had woken her up.

Paris is an incredible city, and I think that any chance to live there should absolutely be taken. Aspire by API has room to grow, but the program absolutely provides for its students and should be considered when planning a gap year.