AFS Year and Semester High School Abroad in France

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About

Year & Semester: Adopt France's world-famous culture, from food and architecture to philosophy and painting. With full immersion into the community, your French will likely improve past anything you could learn in high school – how else will you order a baguette to take home in the basket of your bicycle? You may find the French lycee, or high school, curriculum to be challenging, but your weekends will likely bring relaxation with a trip to the coast or to Paris.

The school day is from 8:15 a.m. to 5 or 6 p.m. There are seven class hours daily with five- to fifteen-minute breaks between classes and an hour break for lunch. Wednesday and Saturday are usually half-day sessions.

French teens, like most around the world, socialize by going to the movies or getting together at each other's homes or in local cafés. Teens observe the rules of the household, help with household chores (even if they are not directly asked) and participate in their family's holiday and weekend activities.

Summer Global Prep: This two-week program focuses on French cuisine and culture in one of the most stunningly beautiful places on Earth: Paris. By living with host families, you will get a truly cross-cultural experience and form friendships that last a lifetime. Your French lessons will be enriched with cultural activities and trips to nearby towns. You will live have the opportunity to stay with a host family while in France. By spending time with your family in the evenings and on weekends, you will have the opportunity to further improve your language learning. This immersion offers a unique way to skyrocket your learning by placing it in immediate context.

Summer Language: This month-long program will give you an intensive French language learning experience in one of the most stunningly beautiful places on Earth: the South of France. By living in a residence hall with fellow AFSers from around the world, you will get a truly cross-cultural experience and form friendships that span the globe. The program will be held at the Centre Méditerranéen d'Etudes Françaises in the city of Cap D'Ail, located on the Côte d'Azur (a.k.a. the French Riviera, on the Mediterranean coast of France) and neighboring the Principality of Monaco.

Questions & Answers

Head to our scholarship page for a $500 study and intern abroad scholarship! https://www.gooverseas.com/scholarships/study-abroad-application
You have to be a 9-12 grade student for this program.

Reviews

93%
based on 12 reviews
  • Growth 9.6
  • Support 7.7
  • Fun 8.1
  • Housing 9
  • Safety 9
Showing 1 - 12 of 12
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Devin
7/10

A Summer Camp in France

Going to France had been a dream of mine for years, as I was taking French in school. Fortunately, my high school is very involved with AFS and their exchange programs, and in 2016, the school was awarded a scholarship for one student to go on an AFS Global Prep program which was two weeks long. My French teacher and a local AFS advocate met and decided to award me the scholarship, so I got to go in the summer of 2016.

In July, I met up with other AFS students going on the program at JFK Airport in New York for our flight over. Once we arrived, we were amazed at how beautiful Nice was. The place we were staying at had gorgeous villas on the mountains, and it was picturesque. The downside to this beautiful place was that we were not allowed to venture out to explore, so even though we were in Nice, we did not get to experience as much of France as we had hoped. The other disappointment came in the form of the food. We were not allowed to be out of the location for our meals, and the food they served us was not exactly French, and it was barely passing as food.

Overall though, I was able to meet so many awesome people and make friends with many others from all over Europe (as many other students at this program were non-AFS, European students). I believe that the program no longer exists, and I would not recommend it to my friends, but it was an incredible experience. I still was able to learn some French, make friends, see wonderful views, and get a taste of what France has to offer. However, I would love to go back to France as a regular traveler and actually experience the culture.

How can this program be improved?
This program would have been greatly improved by communication between AFS’s partners that organized it. With proper communication and investigation, AFS would have been able to accurately advertise what the Global Prep program was actually like.
No, I don't recommend this program
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Hunter
10/10

A Year in Rennes

AFS-USA provided me with an opportunity for growth that remains to this day incomparable to anything else I have lived before. The support of AFSers, both in the US and in France, made a foreign country feel exactly like home...and in a second language, too! Whilst studying abroad I learned a lot about what really goes in to mastering a language, and the amount of effort, both cultural and linguistic, that is required to become “Franco-Américain”. Going abroad was life-changing, and I am glad I chose AFS to do it.

How can this program be improved?
On the side of AFS France, I would have regular meetings between AFS officials and host families/students, about once or twice a month, in-home, to evaluate how the child is integrating, and assess the social dynamic between the host family and exchange student.
Yes, I recommend this program
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William
8/10

Abroad for a Semester in France

The AFS France program is without a doubt life-changing. The wealth of lingual, cultural, and social knowledge blended with the new perspectives of French ideology helped me grow as a person and benefits my future endeavors. Throughout my time in France I was faced with many challenges as any exchange student does. Immersing yourself into a new family, school, language and culture is a very daunting task. From the time I entered the program and stepped off the plane back in America the support from the staff and students of AFS was detrimental to my enjoyment of the program. They would help with the problems I would have, the ideas we would craft, and even the petty drama every teenager faces. The experiences I had were meaningful to not just me, but many friends and family back home. For example, my great-grandfather (my grandfather's dad) fought and died for the liberation of France in WWII. I was able to visit his grave at the Brittany American Cemetery and Memorial in St. James, France with my host family. This meant so much to my grandpa back home that every time I see him he thanks me and my host family for making it a point in my AFS experience. The memories I made in France through AFS are something that I will cherish undoubtedly for the rest of my life.

How can this program be improved?
Although my AFS experience was seemingly well, I wish that future AFSers wouldn't have to pay as much of a hefty sum for their travels. I understand the challenge AFS has with the cost of going abroad and I am sure it has driven away many potential candidates.
Yes, I recommend this program
Casey
10/10

Life in France with AFS is more than incredible.

My life has two sections: before and after France. I left the United States as a fifteen year old who is unrecognizable from the seventeen year old girl I am today. I spoke almost no French and I was scared. I didn't realize then just how life altering it would be. I arrived in Paris and was overwhelmed with the incredible support from the second I got off of the plane. The volunteers were not only welcoming, but fun and crazy and caring. If I could commend one aspect of the AFS organization, I would say that the most comforting part of my experience was that my volunteers really, really cared about me. They wanted to not only keep me safe, but help me have the most exciting ten months of my life!
The most important part of my life in France was definitely my host family. I was placed in an incredibly kind and loving home with a family of six. Two of my host siblings still lived at the house and were my age. They went to school with me and helped me to find friends. My host mom and I got very close during my ten months with them and she is one of the most important role models in my life. I lived in a small village in the Provence of Burgundy where my host father owns a beautiful winery. I learned to love hiking and running in the woods behind my house and horse back riding at the local pony club.The life I have in California and the life I have in France are almost the opposite of each other. In France I learned one of the most valuable skills I have: to adapt. When you go abroad, it is your job to adapt and learn to love new things, and it is the job of the program you are with to make that adaption period as easy and comfortable as possible. I experienced something so special and rare and intense that I am sometimes overwhelmed even after several months back in the United States. AFS France and AFS USA have supported me through everything both in France and after my return. I love being a part of the worldly family that is AFS.

I think that the importance of studying abroad can be summed up by one of my favorite moments of my exchange. One weekend in June, just before my depart from France, my friends and I decided to go camping. My friends included one Chilian boy, a Brazilian boy, two Norweigan girls, two Dominic Republican boys, a Finnish girl, two Americans, and a French girl. We all spoke fluent French by then (In only ten months!) we had a blast! We not only had funny conversations, but deep, interesting ones. The type of conversations that change the world. We imagined ourselves as world leaders and spoke with passion about world issues not because we were told to in a classroom, but because we care. We cared because we knew each other and we could call up specific people when speaking of a war torn country, a friend who lived there. We care about each other so we care about how our countries interact. We stood in front of the most beautiful sunset any of us had ever seen standing on top of a hill in the middle of a French countryside and we held hands and promised each other to make this world a more peaceful place through our bonds. (Picure below)
Now, back in our native countries, when there are news headlines about other countries, we think of a specific friend and we care more than most our peers. What makes studying abroad important, what makes exchange students the future leaders of the world, what makes us passionate problem solvers: EMPATHY. Living with those unlike yourself makes you a more empathetic, mature individual.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Shelsie
10/10

​meilleur été jamais

Last summer I was given the opportunity to stay in the South of France for a month! It was the greatest experience I have ever had in my life. I made new friends from all around the world too! Not only did I take French classes, but I also explored France. I went to the prince's castle in Monaco, cliff diving in plage Mala, and swimming in the Mediterranean Sea! I had an unforgettable experience, including learning about different cultures, making friends from the UK and Russia, and even shopping in Italy! I highly recommend this program, even if you do not know French!

How can this program be improved?
The program was almost flawless, I just wish they would have warned us that they do not use air conditioning where we were staying. Also, the orientation was a bit too long, but it was worth it.
Yes, I recommend this program
Ledia
10/10

Amazing Summer Experience

If you're thinking of going overseas during your high school career, but don't want to leave for an academic year, you should definitely consider doing the AFS summer language program. Easily the best experience of my life, in one of my favorite countries. I went to the south of France, and not only did my French drastically improve, but I had the best summer with some great international friends.

How can this program be improved?
If I had to change one thing, it would be the overnight preparation session in America. For me, an overnight orientation wasn't very necessary; it could have been done in a day.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Emma
10/10

AFS France

If you're considering it, do it. You won't regret it! I went with minimal French skills and returned more or less fluent. AFS has great support volunteers who were always available whenever assistance was required. I had an incredible experience with my host family and at school; I learned a lot about myself. Words cannot do it justice: you will have the experience of a lifetime!

Yes, I recommend this program
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Shannon
10/10

Foodie Adventures in Lovely Paris

Hi! I spent three amazing, whirling weeks in Paris in July 2015. The focus of my program was cooking and learning French. We made all sort of food at our culinary school, everything from chorizo stuffed chicken to seared duck breast in honey wine sauce and won ton wrapped fried prawns with mango. Of course desserts were not neglected either! We hand whipped vanilla cream filling for our pastry, were handed blow tourches to lovingly kiss the tops of our meringue, and made lime Madelines, the official cookie of France! The staff were all really great. One time the culinary instructer, Remy, (yes like from Ratatouille)tested whipped cream doneness by turning the bowls upside down over our heads! If it fell out, well you had to keep whipping by hand. If not, it was time to dollop on apple tarts! The only thing I wish was different would have been our housing arrangements. We stayed in a youth hostel which was cool since we got to meet lots of different people our age from not only france but England, Germany, and Spain, but due to cost had to stay six to a room. Fortunately I loved all my new friends, in fact I just received a Christmas card from one of them! Seeing the sights was not neglected, we had tons of free time and were allowed to go where ever we wanted as long as we had a buddy or after dark, two buddies. We had tours of a few places such as the Louvre, but most places we explored on our own. Our favorite place to be was on the banks of the Seine river, near Notre Dame. We would buy pain de chocolat, (chocolate filled croissants) or crepes avec Nutella and sit or walk for hours there, admiring sights or artwork or writing in our journals. Nothing was more beautiful than Norte Dame at sunset, when it looked as if it has been gilded in golden splendor, the magnificant towers and face, painstakingly carved, with the fading blue sky behind it, only serving to make the contrast between the golden church and its surroundings more apparent. Every moment was perfection in itself, three weeks was not enough time, I hope someday to return for good, teaching languages abroad.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Sherance
10/10

AFS France

This was the absolute best year of my life! I'm from Los Angeles , but my experience was different because I was placed into a farm in Northern France. My friends are my everything and my life is so much better because I've decided to go abroad for a year! I would totally recommend anyone who wants to share life connections to travel abroad!

How can this program be improved?
If I had to change one thing, it would be how much travel time I was given by AFS.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Daniela
9/10

AFS USA

I spent my junior year of high school in Fontainebleau, France with AFS USA, and it was sincerely the best experience of my life. I got to learn French, experience something other than my hometown, for lifelong bonds, and broaden my horizons.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Annie
8/10

Great experience but rocky times

I didn't feel as if AFS France was organized and truly cared about their students. Obviously there were lovely volunteers I had met who welcomed me into their home but there were some who didn't bother to learn the names of the students or overall I didn't feel as if they were there to make a positive experience on the students stay. I also had difficulties with AFS when my host family and I were not getting along-it happens when spending so much time together but AFS sent someone to talk to me who didn't improve the situation and promised she would call back to check up on me but never in the 6 months following the incident. I also lived 2 hours away from my fellow AFSers in the region so meeting up for the AFS get togethers next staying at a volunteers house--once the volunteer forgot to pick me up. Lastly because I was further away from most of the AFSers in the group nobody invited me to the meetings until about 2 months into my stay...AFS meetings become an important part of your stay because you get to see your friends so I felt as if I was alone for at least the first 2 months when nobody told me we were having meetings. Overall it was a great experience and I wouldn't change going on the year abroad BUT I may think differently about AFS although I understand all organizations have their faults and unfortunately AFS is the best of the organizations. Lastly not all regions and countries are the same! AFS USA is fantastic where as AFS France is t...it depends where you choose to go and what region you end up with.

How can this program be improved?
Organization amongst the French leaders!
Yes, I recommend this program
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Illiana
10/10

My Time in France and What I Gained From This Experience.

My experience while in France was one I will never forget. The program allowed me to discover the type of person I was and am today as well as prepare me for college. The experience allowed me to meet a ton of people. Not only did I meet many of the French but I was able to share this experience with 256 other student from 50 different countries who were in France with me at the same time, it was great. Through the program I was also able to find myself a second family which is not what I ever expected and at this point my host siblings have really become my actual siblings. I honestly wouldn't change a thing and would do it again if I could!

How can this program be improved?
I don't see much to be improved. There was a perfect balance between how involved AFS got when it came to filling out applications and then the relationship I had with the AFS volunteers when it came to being with my host family. I wasn't seeing them all the time nor was I talking to them all the time but I know that when I needed them, they were there to help.
Yes, I recommend this program

About AFS-USA

AFS-USA (formerly the American Field Service), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, is a leader in intercultural learning and offers international exchange programs in more than 40 countries around the world through independent, nonprofit AFS...