API Study Abroad at Université Grenoble Alpes

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API has partnered with the Centre Universitaire d’Études Françaises (CUEF) at Université Grenoble Alpes to offer a unique study abroad program in the south of France. Students will immerse themselves in French culture while honing their language speaking abilities. Université Grenoble Alpes, formerly Université Stendhal, is one of the oldest universities in Europe (est. 1339). Today, the university is well known for its French language learning programs and continues to welcome students from all over the world. This program also allows students of all French language levels the chance to assist a teacher in a French pre-school or middle school, with or without credit.

Grenoble is located in the south of France in the famous French Alps. Switzerland, Italy, Monaco and the Mediterranean coast are all a bus/train ride away. Many students have come and enjoyed the great skiing and winter sports in the area. If you enjoy the outdoors then studying abroad in Grenoble is a perfect match.

Questions & Answers


based on 11 reviews
  • Academics 7.5
  • Support 9.7
  • Fun 10
  • Housing 9.1
  • Safety 8.5
Showing 1 - 11 of 11
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I wish I was still there!

This was literally the best four months of my life!

I loved all of my classes! The teachers were super patient and always spoke to us at our level of French without being condescending. They made classes interesting. Because this is France, your classes will be a lot longer. I had a two-hour grammar/language classes every morning (it was 4 hours on Thursdays) and 2 hours of electives in the afternoon. I did have Friday off though which was great! Your schedule will depend on your level of French. There were also good options for electives. My favorite was Mythology.

Host Family:
I absolutely loved my host family. My host mom was the sweetest. They took me up into the mountains to see where the Olympics were, to visit the grandparents, to eat fondue, and more. I have a lot of really great memories because of my host family. It's also a great way to practice your language. My French was horrible when I got there but my host mom was super patient with me and by the time I left I could actually hold a conversation. They also had the fluffiest cat I have ever seen!

I love Grenoble!! It will take some time to grow on you, but you will end up loving it! There are mountains all around you and a river that runs through the city. There are lots of pretty parks where you can have a picnic or just hang out with friends. They also have lots of student-friendly deals at restaurants, museums, and other places since there are some big universities there. There are also lot's of places to go out at night and it's always fun since the city is packed with students. It's a little bit of an edgy personality, like a leather jacket and red lipstick kind of way, but I never felt unsafe there, even walking home at 3 am. It's also not touristy at all (but don't worry, there is plenty to do!!) which made it nice because we were seen more as international students than annoying tourists.

API was super helpful pre-departure, while abroad, and even after coming home. I had lots of questions about paperwork and visas and they answered everything they could. They also gave us a big online pre-departure packet with everything we could ever want to know about studying abroad. They made sure we were as prepared as possible for studying abroad. While we were there, Anna and Marie were super helpful! Marie took us around Paris during our orientation and even though I barely understood French she was super patient with it. They also took us on other fun excursions like snowshoeing, a weekend in Dijon, and a weekend in Nice. They also had cultural things in their office like a crepe party and a cheese tasting. I never had any problems, but they were always there to help us out! After coming home, API offers a program called the Global Leadership Academy so that alumni can continue (in a way) their study abroad experience, learn about leadership, and encourage others to study abroad.

Overall, this was the best four months of my life and I wish I was still there!!

How can this program be improved?
I found it kind of hard to meet local students since our classes were with other international students and because I barely spoke French. There are definitely ways to do it and I think I could've tried harder to meet local students, but it could be cool if API helped a little more with that.
No, I don't recommend this program
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Finding A New Home

Leading up to my study abroad experience, I was extremely nervous of the uncertainty that happens naturally when living in a new country. However my nerves began to calm almost immediately after meeting the on site staff of API upon my arrival in France. In fact, the on-site support throughout my entire semester abroad was incredible. Marie and Anna were there for any questions I had, offered to make doctor's appointments when I was sick, and proved to be an essential resource of support when I was going through difficult times (or really any time at all). Specifically, I remember one day I was talking to the on-site staff about how I did not know how to snowboard, but I had always wanted to learn. Their response: Why not now? They provided me with information regarding the best slopes near Grenoble, how to rent equipment, and how to purchase a bus and ski pass. Without that extra encouragement and useful tips about the local slopes, I probably would have not pursued my dream of learning how to snowboard. Overall, API provided me with the tools I needed to succeed, while also challenging me to grow personally, professionally, and academically. Furthermore, my experience with API inspired me to pursue the field of international education upon graduation, instead of continuing in my previous fields of study.

Yes, I recommend this program

Me manque déjà

I was so worried when it came to studying abroad. Yes I am a language major and have loved studying french language a culture since high school but I wasn't prepared to stay half a year in a foreign country. API helped me realise my love for France and has transformed me into the person I am today. The classes were engaging the excursions were exciting and the memories are everlasting. I couldn't have asked for a better program.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Learning to Walk in an Alpine Paradise

I studied abroad during my junior year, having taken French throughout all four years of high school and several semesters of college. I was your classic Francophile. Thought I knew my stuff. I was sure I was going to be able to instantly, effortlessly communicate my thoughts to the locals in their native tongue. I was wrong.

What I found when I arrived in Grenoble was that I didn't know half as much as I thought I did. Day after day, I struggled: stringing my thoughts into coherent sentences, recalling all the vocabulary words I had learned over the years, making sure my adjectives agreed with my nouns. It was like learning to walk again, but with my tongue instead of my legs. During my first few weeks, it's safe to say that I was completely drained by the time the sun went down as a result of all the mental gymnastics I was performing throughout the day.

But I also quickly found that I had an amazing support system to help me with these daily exercises. Every aspect of the program set me up for success, from my amazing host family (including two host brothers who were my age), to the on-site Resident Directors who took us around the country and explained the ins and outs of French culture, to the knowledgeable university faculty. It wasn't long before I stopped walking and started sprinting.

By the end of my semester abroad I had learned a lot about life in France, and even more about myself. I couldn't have done it without all the behind-the-scenes preparations made by API to ensure that the program was so comprehensive, and of such high quality.

If you're interested in studying in a location that's a little off the beaten path, but is guaranteed to challenge you and improve your fluency in French, go to Grenoble.

How can this program be improved?
The excursions offered throughout the course of the program were awesome--I wish there had been more! (Although 4 or 5 throughout the course of the semester is pretty good...)
Yes, I recommend this program
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API Grenoble, Je t'aime!

API is probably one of the best study abroad programs in the world. My experience in Grenoble so far has been amazing and I wouldn't want to be in any other program. The people I have met here are fantastic and our Resident Directors are AWESOME! They answer numerous questions and they make sure we understand everything, even when they speak in English. They are always available for us, even for the more personal things you face while studying abroad. Also, you are literally surrounded by mountains. Anywhere you turn you see mountains. It's awesome to see the view of the town from the tops of them as well! If your French is not that great right now, don't worry! This program will definitely help you pick it up, even if you just stay a semester! I've been here for about 6 weeks and I already see major improvement. This is a great city to become a part of and all of the host families are GREAT! And it's an unbeatable price for all of the excursions and the education you receive!

How can this program be improved?
I would like to have the option to get reimbursed for any excursions that I might not want to participate in.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Comme la vie est belle

I don't know where to begin or how to express the impact API Grenoble has had on my life. I'd like to start by stressing that no matter where you study abroad, you are bound to meet wonderful people and make life long friends. Above all, I'm incredibly grateful to have had this experience because through it, I have met my best friend and I know that I have multiple families here in France.

More about API Grenoble. I think that our resident directors are the greatest asset to this program. They help us with cultural discovery, problems with family, problems with french bureaucracy, with homesickness, etc. They are always around to listen to you, generally with chocolates and tissues at hand. It's wonderful because you have both the perspective of a traditional french woman and that of an american living in France. They are kind and caring--it feels as if they are your friends but also your mothers. The excursions they plan are always enjoyable and I leave them feeling like I've learned that much more about the french language, history, and culture.

If you do choose API Grenoble, make sure you do a homestay! I live with a single mother (both of her children are out of the house). She provides me with at least 2 meals a day, but seeing as how she loves to cook I often eat more than that. Most of her friends and one of her siblings are also hosts. So, we often have huge dinner parties and when my mother is out of town, I'm invited over to everyone else's house for dinner. Some activities that I enjoy with my host mom and other host families: dinners, trips to the movies, hiking in the mountains, trips to the country, museum visits, etc.

Some other cool things I've been able to do through API:
1) Volunteering at a primary school--you can either teach english or you can simply hang out with kids during recess and lunch. A great opportunity to practice your french with the harshest (and cutest) of critics.

2)Language exchanges. Every Friday, I go to a café to participate in a group language exchange. We speak in French and English but sometimes you catch a little Italian, maybe some Spanish, and the list goes on. I've become good friends with the people that go, and we meet multiple times a week to practice our French and English.

I could go on and on about this program. But I think what's most telling is that, I have 15 days left and I'm dreading leaving. I can honestly say that I've been able to develop my language skills here but I've also learned a lot about myself. And isn't that the point?

Yes, I recommend this program
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Go Great, Go Grenoble!

All my life I've dreamed of seeing the world outside my New England city, so when I decided to study abroad, I dove in head first- the full academic year. I chose API Grenoble first and foremost for the price; a year in France was a little LESS than a year at my home university. Who can say no to that? I coulnd't! However, after looking further into the program I realized it was perfect. The location, the school, the excursions, it seemed flawless- and to my surprise, it basically was! I studied from Fall 2010 to Spring 2010, and I lived with a host family in a small suburb set higher up in the Alps just outside the city. It was absolutely beautiful and my family was so charming and welcoming, I felt as if I were at home (if home were a dream set in the French Alps of course..)My daily commute to class was easy- my house was about a two minute walk to the bus stop, which brought you directly to the tram, which then brought me right to campus. On warm mornings, it was even as easy as a walk through town to the nearest tram stop. My classes were engaging and intellectual, with fun and interesting teachers genuinely interested in your learning. After a day of class I returned home to some fresh home-cooked French cuisine prepared by my host mom (or sometimes slightly burnt, but equally French cuisine prepared by my host brother.. it's the thought that counts!) With its central location in regards to surrounding countries, weekends brought trips to Switzerland and Italy, and longer vacations and a hop on a plane brought Ireland or a train to Belgium or the Netherlands. Or for a weekend at home, a easy stroll or a grueling hike up the Alps was always appealing, with a trail leading right from my back yard. I'm not the first person you should ask about the social scene in town because I can't honestly say I participated in it too much, but the few times I did, I was never let down. The city has such a young population so there's always something exciting to do and new friends to make, whether it be at a local bar, restaurant or board-game café. Being a year student, I feel I had an advantage over semester students in getting a real hold of the language and the culture. After getting over the culture shock (if you experience any, it wasn't too bad for me) and the realization that "Yes, this is real. I live in France. I live in the Alps. This if my life" the semester goes by quick. It's like, just when you get settled you have to pack up and go home. But for me, all I had to do was move my belongings into a corner, frolic around Europe for a few weeks, then settle back into my French way of life. The second semester brought hardly any nerves with school, my family, and travelling, and on top of all that, it brought lasting friendships. I met people who I would consider some of my closest friends, who I would have never met had I not studied abroad. Thinking back over the year, I can't recall any major difficulties I encountered that would be of interest to potential students. I had a few personal health problems, but even that was taken care of by the program. The resident directors and the students were like a second family, besides my host fmaily. If anything went wrong at all, whether it was a flight cancellation, thus weekend plans uprooted, academic problems, problems back home, personal issues, anything at all and API was there. I never felt lost or alone, there was always someone to help. Choosing to study abroad with API Grenoble was definitely the best decision I have made to date and I would recommend it to (and I have!) anyone who is even remotely interested in going abroad!

Yes, I recommend this program
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The Great Grenoble.

Overall, I loved my time in France. API facilitated exciting trips to cities around Grenoble like Annecy and Geneva, and we visited famous sites within Grenoble as well.

The classes themselves were a lot easier than I expected, for there was little to no homework in each section. We would do about 4 hours of class a day, then take the tram into the city to get lunch and hang out. It didn't matter that the classes weren't hard; trying to get around using my limited French was lesson enough. I have never been so tired and challenged (in a good way).

The city of Grenoble itself was interesting. At the time, rioters were clashing with police, so there was an air of unrest around town. As a woman, I did not feel safe going out at night: ESPECIALLY ALONE. Don't do it.

By far, the best part of my trip was my host family. I was placed with a family of two parents and four boys, and they were incredible. They took me on hikes, rock climbing excursions and trips to the gorgeous mountains surrounding the city. They made this trip with their patience and excitement for me.

Yes, I recommend this program
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My experience in Grenoble was amazing! and API made it that way. I was placed with the perfect family and was surrounded by cool and fun people the entire time. I was enrolled in the language intensive program and thought it was great. There was class for four hours monday through friday. It sounds a little crazy but the teachers are really nice and they make the class interesting. I learned a lot about familiar french and the culture and we even had a few field trips! I stayed in Grenoble close to five months and I could see and hear my french speaking skills improve each week. I would recommend API Grenoble to any person that asks.

Yes, I recommend this program
Photo of Kaitlyn Nolan

Grenoble: A Wonderful Cultural Immersion

Studying in Grenoble, France was the best decision I could have made. I wanted to improve my French abroad, but I decided Paris wasn't the city for me as I knew it was possible to get around speaking English there.

Grenoble was perfect because the locals were so welcoming and were quite patient with our developing French. They were also interested in why we were in Grenoble and how we liked it. We easily made friends with French college students by accidentally becoming language buddies. Many of our conversations were bilingual and it was an amazing experience.

Going to a university in France was an interesting experience. It was the complete opposite of my home university and took some getting used to. However, it was a learning experience and taught me a lot about myself and my learning styles.

As for API, I could not have chosen a better program. My program manager in the US was incredibly helpful during the entire application and pre-departure process. She answered my numerous emails and was quick to get me any documents that I might have been missing. My resident directors in Grenoble were the sweetest women and took good care of us. They were a phenomenal resource adjusting to France and provided invaluable advice on getting along with our host families.

In all honesty, I would not have changed anything about my study abroad location. While a challenging experience, it ended up being incredibly positive. The combination of API and Grenoble was perfect for me and I wished I spent an entire year there.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Highly Recommended

I loved my experience with API Grenoble - I learned French, I made lifelong friends, and I experienced something I will never forget. I recommend studying abroad to just about everyone now, because it had such a positive impact on my college career. If I could, I would certainly do it all over again.

The residential staff was fantastic; for the week of orientation in Paris, I got to know the other people on my program because of the fantastic cultural activities we participated in, like visiting the top of Notre Dame and the Eiffel Tower. We also had ample free time to get to know each other, so I didn't feel like I was in a summer camp, constantly supervised. Once we got to Grenoble, the residential staff helped us with everything like reimbursing us for taxi money, making doctor's appointments if we were sick, and counseling us if we had any personal problems. Their office really was a home away from home.

My host family was a fabulous experience - API somehow matched me with the perfect host family for my wants and needs. In my house, I was free to come and go as I wished, but at the same time, I had dinner with my family every night (fantastic home cooked traditional French dishes) and my host mother would ask me what I did everyday, just like my actual mother would. When I got sick, my host mom drove me to doctor's appointments and brought my dinner down to me in my room, which was very considerate, considering I wasn't her actual child.

The academics were the only thing lacking in this program. My grammar teacher was retiring the next year, and perhaps that's why it was somewhat lackluster, but whenever we were assigned homework, it wasn't a necessity that we have it done the next day, if at all. I learned French because of the constant exposure to it everyday, not because of what I learned in school (However, I'm sure that helped.). The electives were a bit more rigorous, but not by much. The point is, I got what I wanted: a carefree semester to travel around Europe, because I had enough academic freedom to do so.

The Grenoble night life was very lively and frankly, I loved it. Everything started Wednesday night and ended Friday night, which was fine by me. Everyone downtown was very nice and helpful, and I always had an interesting conversation with someone new every time I went out. It was a great experience! I felt safe because I had a group of people I went out with, as well as people that lived close to me that could walk me home if I felt like I needed it (which was rare). The transportation system (tram + bus) was very reliable, and I used it often- no complaints there. They closed at 2am (we could always take a taxi), but I was close enough that walking back didn't bother me if I needed to.

If given the chance, I would definitely study abroad again. In fact, I'm about to live in Paris for a year for my graduate studies and I couldn't be more excited to plunge myself into French culture again. And it all started with API!

Yes, I recommend this program


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College students may study abroad with API in over two dozen countries across Asia, Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East. With a wide variety of courses offered in almost every major discipline and in various languages of instruction, it is...