IES Abroad Paris - French Studies

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About

Imagine practicing your French as you order a pain au chocolat at your neighborhood bakery. Meeting local students as you explore the city’s 20 unique arrondissements. Examining the masterpieces of the Louvre Museum—for class. All this and more awaits you when you study abroad in Paris!

When you study abroad, Paris becomes your classroom. Our courses use the city as an extension of the classroom, leading course-related excursions to monuments, museums, and neighborhoods as part of your academic study. This is what study abroad is all about!
This program combines rigorous study of the French language with a broad range of classes taught in French by accomplished faculty. You can also experience what life is like for French students by taking one or more courses at a local French university.

Check out this Center for yourself through our virtual tours at www.IESabroad.org/study-abroad/virtual-tour.

Questions & Answers

IES Abroad Paris has two different schools/programs: French Studies and Business. If you enroll in the French Studies Program all of your classes will be in French, and you will have the choice to take classes at French universities (I only took classes at the IES center). Each student takes a placement test to assess his/her language skills before going abroad - the test doesn't count toward a...

Reviews

93%
based on 35 reviews
  • Academics 7.9
  • Support 9.2
  • Fun 9.3
  • Housing 8.8
  • Safety 9.3
Showing 1 - 15 of 35
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Logan
10/10

Paris: a perfect paradise

As a participant in IES Abroad's French Studies in Paris Program, I had the best and most valuable experiences as a student, a traveler, a volunteer, and a woman of the world. I had the opportunity to explore Paris, the French Province, and several European countries--such as Belgium, Holland, and Italy--as my location in the heart of Paris provided me with ample modes of transportation within and beyond France. Additionally, the French Studies Center is well located in the Montparnasse area where there is always hustle and bustle with the surrounding businesses, restaurants. and retail. Being thrown into this amazing city and all it has to offer, I had innumerable opportunities to step outside of my comfort zone through local organizations, volunteer opportunities, and field-trips. Additionally, I was able to challenge myself intellectually and socially through the classes I chose to pursue through IES (Histories and Legends of Paris, Sociology of France, Politics and Poetry of Gender in France, The Word and the Image, and French in Context). IES provided a wide array of courses to be taken at the IES Center in addition to the courses at Parisian institutions of higher education. The IES staff and faculty were incredibly welcoming, approachable, and knowledgeable. The relationships I formed with the staff and faculty will endure, for they were instrumental in my success while abroad. I look forward to the day when I can return to Paris and swing by the Center. My study abroad program motivated and supported me in all of my academic, personal, and professional endeavors. My French language skills improved drastically within the immersion program, my knowledge of new and interesting material increased, and I now have experience with professionals in various domains and careers that will help me after graduation as I search for jobs. There is not one thing about my time abroad with IES that I regret--except that I didn't stay the whole year!

How can this program be improved?
The program should work more closely with the local institutions of higher education to facilitate IES students' enrollment.
Yes, I recommend
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Etta
10/10

A beautiful, eye-opening journey full of cultural exchange and learning

Studying abroad reinforced my strong connection to France, and helped me become even closer with some of the locals there. I made life-long friendships with other Americans and international students, locals, and possible future employers as well as with the IES center staff. The after-class scene was also full of fun opportunities to engage in clubs, volunteer work, or simply enjoy a night out, all the while improving French language skills. Also, I did apply and receive independent housing which improved y mental health and physical activity.

How can this program be improved?
Better healthcare information, and easier access to independent housing.
Yes, I recommend
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Alaina
10/10

The best semester of my life was spent in Paris!

Paris, c'est magnifique! Everything is magical, from the language, to the food, to the museums and monuments. I was able to take classes in French, reading the texts of my major in their original language. The people and places I had been studying since high school were standing before my eyes. I could walk the streets of Napoleon, or eat at the cafés of Manet. For everyone who is hesitating to go abroad, I urge you to take a leap of faith and discover a completely new world. Things may not be easy (in fact, sometimes they can be downright hard), but that is when I grew the most. Feeling uncomfortable because my host mother didn't know any English, I pushed myself to become better at French so we could communicate more readily. Separated from all of my friends at home, I made new friendships that are going to last me a lifetime. I ate foods I had never dreamed of and saw art I had only read of. My experiences have made me more confident and sure of myself. I am now more spontaneous, and I worry a lot less about the small things that don't matter. I have always been a small town girl, but now I know that I can live and thrive in a big city, especially if it has the culture that Paris does.
My program really helped me make the most of my Paris adventure. IES Paris French Studies introduced me to aspects of the culture that I had never considered, and helped me to foresee cultural problems that could have arisen. They have an excellent range of classes that allowed me to get credit in my major, as well as exploring areas that I wouldn't have been able to do at home, such as the history of Parisian museums, or the history of French photography. Through the program, I was also able to visit places within and around Paris, such as Monet's gardens at Giverny and da Vinci's house in the Loire Valley.
Some advice that I might give future students would be to be ready to be uncomfortable. Studying in a foreign country is going to give you experiences that you would never think to encounter in the US. And while those can be hard to get through at the time, they can give you new insights that you never would have thought to gain, or ways to deal with trying situations when you return home. Be open to new opinions and new ways of doing things; if you are so closed to new experiences that you can't discover the value in a new method, your experience is going to be limited.
Once you get to Paris, you will be bombarded with amazing opportunities. Some of my favorites were wandering through Parc des Buttes-Chaumont, and having a picnic along the Seine as the tourist boats go by. Hit the main tourist sites, like the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre, but also go to some of the smaller museums, like Musée Marmottan Monet. See the general things, but find your own little corner of Paris, with a go-to café and your favorite outdoor market. And above all, wring all you can out of each day; once you return home, you will miss it so much that it hurts to think about even one day not spent exploring the wonders of Paris.

How can this program be improved?
The academics of the IES Paris French Studies program could be improved somewhat. The professors are wonderful, but they can be a little unorganized, and they don't always make their expectations clear. However, they are very helpful, and showed us many aspects of French life that we would never have been able to discover on our own.
Yes, I recommend
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Emoni
10/10

The City Where Dreams Come True!

After dreaming of studying in Paris (since the eighth grade) I finally had the opportunity to spend a semester abroad in Paris, France in 2016. Outside of taking classes and improving my French language skills I was able to immerse myself in French culture and see/eat my way through Paris. As a French major taking classes that were conducted solely in French challenged me to use the foundation of my home university while expanding my knowledge that only the study abroad experience can provide. I was also fortunate enough to take ballet classes at the Paris Marais Dance School.

For housing, I lived with a host family in a suburb just outside of Paris. It took about 40 minutes for me to commute to school everyday which seems like a drawback but it forced me to stay out and explore the different arrondissements before going home at the end of the day. My host family was so welcoming and understanding that the initial culture shock could be a challenge but within two weeks I felt like part of the family and we still keep in touch!

Outside the classroom Paris is full of adventure. From visiting the main attractions (the Louvre, Eiffel Tower, Sacré-Coeur) and eating macaroons, escargot, and crêpes it was finding where the locals hung out that made my time in Paris more than a tourist vacation. Be it eating in a student cafeteria that is a boat on the Seine or visiting Rex (a movie theater by day and club by night) once you feel more comfortable with the city all that's left to do is take it by storm.

Overall, my experience was indescribable! The friends, memories, and connections I made will last a lifetime. I can't wait to go back!!

How can this program be improved?
This program offers plenty of opportunities for students to take classes at outside universities or participate in an internship, yet there are no programs for students to volunteer and give back to their host country. I would love to see the program offer a few events where students can volunteer at the local libraries or schools.
Yes, I recommend
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Anna
9/10

The First of Many Arts Adventures in France

I enjoyed a thought-provoking and adventurous semester abroad in Paris, France this past fall semester of 2016. I am grateful to the IES program for opening the door to daily social and professional life in Paris. I am especially pleased with the internship coordinating that was done throughout the program to help me attain and sustain a three and a half month-long internship with a prestigious modern and contemporary art gallery in the heart of the city. Not only do I plan to return, I hope to live a large portion of my life in France after my incredible experience there!

How can this program be improved?
While I am a big supporter of program to live with a host family, I myself was not placed with a family that met my social nor living condition interests. I would have appreciated living with a family that engaged me in daily conversation on the lives we were leading in the city!
Yes, I recommend
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Jennifer
7/10

Living in Paris

Overall, my time in Paris with IES was a great experience. The IES Center is in a great location on Rue Daguerre, which is a really cool market street. There were always plenty of options for lunch - especially bakeries with traditional French sandwiches and pastries. As far as classes go, the professors were all very nice and willing to talk to us about differences between France and the United States. One of my favorite classes was “Paris Museums” because we spent time in class learning about French art history and then on some evenings during the week, we went to museums to see the actual artwork that we learned about in class. It was so helpful to go through these museums with a professor that could actually tell you about what you were looking at. I probably would not have visited all of the museums we went to on my own, so the class was a great way to see more of Paris. Taking classes solely in French and having to write papers and give presentations in French was also a great way to improve my French and really feel fluent in the language.

I also had an internship while I was in Paris, which is one of the best things I did. I worked there 2 afternoons per week after my classes and all day on Friday (there are no classes at IES on Friday). It was great to get to work with French people and learn about the differences between business culture in America and France. They kept me busy with a variety of tasks including translating documents, designing the newsletter, and posting things on their website and Facebook page. This was such great work experience for the future as well!

My homestay was also a pretty good experience overall. The apartment was in a very nice neighborhood in the 16th arr. and was located very close to two different metro lines, which made getting around the city very convenient. My metro ride to my classes everyday had an above-ground portion that went right by the Eiffel Tower! My host mom was a really good cook and was very nice. However, I was a little disappointed with my homestay overall because I had put on my homestay application that I would prefer to be treated like “family” as opposed to like a “guest.” Although I felt comfortable in the apartment, I never really felt like family and, apart from the required 3 dinners per week, I didn’t feel like my host mom really made much of an effort to show me and my housemate around our neighborhood or Paris at all. But overall, I felt safe and comfortable in my homestay.

How can this program be improved?
I think the IES Center could do a little bit more to facilitate interactions between the IES students (who are all Americans mostly) and French students. I didn't feel like I had a lot of contact with French students.

I also think they should pay more attention to the homestay surveys and how they match you up with your host family. I didn't feel like I got matched up very well.
Yes, I recommend
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Abigail
9/10

Très bien!

It is January 8th, 2016, and what better way to start off the new year than by traveling to Paris, France? For years, it had been my dream to live in the City of Lights, and it is because of IES Abroad that that dream became a reality. By enrolling in their French Studies Program, I was given one hundred and fifteen days to explore and experience France. Every day in the country was an adventure. I would start each morning by eating a traditional French breakfast with my host mother. In between bites of bread and cheese, we would talk about everything under the sun, from fashion to French politics, from traveling to television. Afterwards, I would hop on the Metro to go to the IES Center, where I usually had two or three classes a day. The IES Abroad staff and faculty really took it upon themselves to provide students with an authentic French educational experience. Not only were classes taught exclusively in French, but they were also structured to mirror the typical French classroom. Staff and faculty members were genuinely concerned with student learning, and they encouraged students to not only practice speaking French but also immerse themselves in the city. During my four months abroad, I went on several IES Abroad-sponsored field trips. We visited many places in Paris, including the Notre Dame Cathedral, the Louis Vuitton Foundation, the Montparnasse Tower, and the Place de Vosges. We also had the opportunity to travel to other nearby towns, including Reims, Giverny, and Amboise. However, even without a field trip planned, there was always something to do in Paris once class let out. Some days I would brave the more touristy areas, such as the Louvre Museum, the Sacre-Coeur Basilica, and, of course, the Eiffel Tower. Other days I would chill at a café with friends, where we would laugh and converse over small shots of espresso. There were even times where I would take my camera, ride the Metro to some random station, and just start walking, photographing everything I saw along the way. In doing this, I got to see the real Paris, the one that cannot be seen in just a week’s visit. In just one afternoon stroll, I could find a new patisserie, stumble upon some rad street art, and learn of where to buy French fashion for cheap. The evening usually ended with me returning back home to video chat with friends back in the United States. Study abroad was life changing for me. Never before had I imagined that I would be capable of living in another country by myself. But IES Abroad really helped in ensuring that I found my home away from home. The staff and faculty were there whenever I needed a crutch, but they also encouraged me to go out, be brave, and make the city my own. Now, thanks to this experience, I have a city that I dream of going back to, a city that I miss, and a city that I can call home.

Yes, I recommend
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Juliana
10/10

Wonderful experience with IES Abroad

While I was abroad, I met up with a friend who was studying abroad in Spain and was traveling to Paris for the weekend. She was studying through her home institution and knew almost everyone in her program in Spain. She explained it was almost an extension of her university, and many people in the program did not know Spanish. Her traveling companions even explained to me how they never spoke to their host families because they did not speak Spanish and their families did not speak English. There classes were too easy and they felt as if they could be living in America if not for the fact they were halfway across the world.

If this is what you want, then IES Abroad is not for you. However, I was turned off by the typical extension-of-America study abroad programs commonly offered by large universities with campuses around the world. I wanted to feel as though I was a resident of my host country: speak the language, eat the food, be set in the routine of a typical Parisian student. Luckily, IES gave me exactly that. The classes were all in French and offered a challenge that only serious students could take on. I felt as if I was Parisian for four months when I would hop on the metro, roll my eyes in annoyance at the accordion player as we sped past the Eiffel Tower, and skim my French novel for that day's class discussion. Although there were bumps along the way, IES prepared students to become integrated into French culture and experience life as a real university student instead of a four-month American vacation.

How can this program be improved?
There were a few issues with some of the classes and teachers, but the teacher evaluations gave each student a chance to speak their mind on these issues at the end of the program. There were also some problems with cell phones in the beginning, but those were also worked out over the semester. I really enjoyed this program and do not think there was much to be improved!
Yes, I recommend
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Nadia
10/10

Amazing semester in Paris!

Studying abroad in Paris with the IES Abroad French Studies Program was an experience of a lifetime. I was matched with the most incredible host mother, and roommate from the same program, and we all got along so well; you could tell that IES had taken the time to match people well based on what they had asked for in their housing applications, and that made all the difference in my stay and feeling comfortable throughout my 4 months there. I took 4 classes at the IES center: History of Paris, Modern Art, Creative Writing, and Grammar, and developed a huge appreciation and love for history and art (two subjects I've never been too interested in) thanks to the talented and engaging IES professors, all of whom were native French people. I took two other classes at a local art school, and found myself going to 3 hour classes twice a week, surrounded by a much older crowd of talented parisian artists, whom I shared cheese/bread/wine breaks with halfway through class each time. The culture there, which I found was highly focused on working hard at work, thoroughly relaxing and enjoying time away from work, savoring food at mealtimes, and always appreciating the art and culture and history imbedded throughout the city, was a culture I had never witnessed before, and one which I fell completely in love with. IES Abroad gave us the toolkit to experience it all, through encouraging us to go to cultural events, providing us with the kindest guidance from their staff, the most inspiring professors, and through of course having its location in the very heart of Paris, where we were able to go to any and all of the most beautiful spots within 20-30 minutes after class; I wish I could go back already!

How can this program be improved?
It couldn't be!
Yes, I recommend
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Hayley
8/10

Paris French Studies

Overall, IES was an amazing experience. The cliche saying 'study abroad changed my life,' is true.

While I found the classes to be rather dull at times, the other aspects of the program compensated greatly. The planned program excursions and dinners were educational, fun, and a great way to meet the other students. I found the freedom to control our own schedules forced me to become more independent and rely on myself. I loved my outside university classes. Furthermore, my homestay was perfect. I loved living in a residential area with a real french family.

I would strongly recommend this program to future students!

How can this program be improved?
The classes can be largely improved. Instruction was dull- and class topics were outdated.
Yes, I recommend
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Victoria
9/10

Taste of a New Culture

Studying abroad in Paris was easily the best decision of my life. It allowed me to finally experience a culture that I had been learning about in textbooks for 6 years. I learned more about the French culture in the 4 months abroad than I had throughout the years in French class. I believe anyone studying a language or culture must travel and see that culture first-hand.

At IES, I took 5 courses all in French: French Literature, French Language in Context, Paris Museums, an internship seminar and I also took a phonetics course at Université Catholique de Paris. The course load I will admit was more than expected, but it was also key to helping me improve my French and boost my confidence in the language. My grammar course in particular focused on current events and hot topics in France and for that reason I enjoyed this class the most.

I also stayed with a great host family on the southwest side of Paris right in between the Arc de Triomphe and the Eiffel Tower. Needless to say, my commute was always a pleasant one. My host family was very informative on where to go and what to see in Paris, dinner was always phenomenal, and the girls were around the same age as me so we would often talk about pop culture and current events at the dinner table. I'm lucky I got to stay with a family with such a great sense of humor. And my host mom was an amazing artist! She's going to be having an art expo of her own very soon!

The IES Center itself was a great place to be. There is a beautiful garden just outside of the classrooms and student lounge. The lounge has a piano and there is also a computer lab located in the basement of the student center along with a small library. I would often spend time here getting homework done or just hanging out with friends between and after classes.

IES also helped me get an internship while abroad. I interned with a market research firm and learned a lot about the work culture in France first-hand, which was supplemented by class reading in my internship seminar.

I will always remember and cherish the 4 months I spent abroad. In a beautiful city like Paris, any where you turn is a history lesson, a beautiful monument, a work of art.

Everyday I learned something new, faced and overcome hurdles, and everyday I grew. I grew to realize that different parts of the world do things differently, and with different motivations. Studying abroad has only deeper encouraged me to keep traveling and keep exploring the world and the cultures that call it home.

How can this program be improved?
The academics of this program is very Americanized even with a French curriculum. I spent a lot of time doing homework which impeded me from exploring the city sometimes. I would recommend lessening the workload just a tad bit.
Yes, I recommend
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Hattie
10/10

Semester Abroad in Paris, 2015!

My Study Abroad experience was nothing short of life altering. I participated in a French Studies Program in Paris, France. The program has a 100% French curriculum meaning all of my classes, assignments, and exams were in French. There were 44 of us total which meant the class sizes were pretty small, about 8-12 students in each of my classes. The coursework was challenging yet doable, and I admit harder than I expected prior to going. Yet I have no complaints because the curriculum greatly improved my French and I made several lifelong friends in this program. To give you an idea of the classes I took History of Photography, Paris Cinema, History of the Maghreb World, and a grammar class that emphasized discussion of current events and issues in France. The program also offered many excursion events which allowed us to have an even greater appreciation of the city and all it has to offer!

For housing accommodations I lived with a host family in a suburb just outside of Paris. This meant I had an hour commute to school every day which had its drawbacks, but on the plus side I got along great with my host family and I enjoyed the area I lived in. I’m still in touch with my host family and I’m very thankful for how kind and generous my host mom was! The initial culture shock is not easy but my host mom and her son made me feel so welcome. While abroad I also had an internship as an English instructor at French middle school. My job was to teach age appropriate lessons related to American culture to groups of students ages 12-14. My internship was one of the best parts of my experience abroad and I highly recommend doing an internship while abroad! Lastly, during my time abroad I had the chance to travel to Portugal, Ireland, and Belgium. Traveling is definitely one of the best aspects of going abroad but there was plenty to see and do while in Paris. My favorite thing was going to open mic nights with friends to listen to live music!

But the best part of going abroad was simply getting to experience and explore a different city with a completely different culture and language than I’m used to and getting to know the locals that live there. It makes you grow in ways you never thought of and challenges you every day and I’m very thankful I went.

How can this program be improved?
Make all excursions available to all students. Only a number of students could go on some excursions, even though they were included in our program fees.
Yes, I recommend
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Tanya
10/10

Becoming A Parisian

I had the wonderful opportunity to study abroad with IES in Paris the spring semester of 2015. From start to finish, this was one of the best experiences of my life. As soon as I arrived with my host family I knew that I had an instant home in Paris, and I still keep in touch with my host mom from time to time. IES allowed me to create a second family in this beautiful city that invites me to remain a part of it whenever I'm near them. Living in a home stay allowed me to fully experience the city as a true Parisian.

My academic life with IES allowed me to both experience cultural immersion by taking a class at a local university and become a part of a very tight-knit group of American students by taking classes taught by French professors at the IES center. This mix of classes created both new and familiar experiences in a foreign city that took a lot of stress off of what could have been a very disorienting assimilation into the Parisian culture.

IES made incredible efforts to create a welcoming environment for its students and to provide a great cultural experience. IES tuition fees included several trips to wonderful locations (for me that included Nimes, Tours, Reims, and Giverny) that allow students in the program to bond as well as experience the cultural diversity of France. IES also held monthly contests to win some amazing cultural experiences around Paris, like a free brunch at the world-renowned restaurant Angelina or a ticket to a performance of Swan Lake.

Overall, IES helped make my semester in Paris more than a one-time experience. It allowed me to transform into a functioning and contributing member of the Parisian society in a way that I would've previously thought impossible. That semester with IES has transformed me into a part-time Parisian, and for me that experience is priceless.

Yes, I recommend
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Harriet
9/10

IES French Studies- Spring 2015

This program was great! The academics were less rigorous than I am used to at my home school which allowed for more time to explore Paris and spend time with friends. Also no classes on Fridays allowed us three day weekends which was perfect for traveling around Europe.
I loved my homestay and most students also had a really positive experience with their host families!
The staff at IES were really great and helpful, and all the other program participants were really friendly!

How can this program be improved?
More organization in outside courses taken at local universities
Yes, I recommend
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Clara
7/10

Life changing experience

Studying abroad experience with IES was an opportunity for me to gain French language skill, be independent, and learn cultures. Going to Paris all by myself when I am not confident with the language was a huge challenge, yet I knew that I would have life time experience and lesson from studying abroad. Indeed, this study abroad experience has changed my life.

Through this study abroad, I have gained lessons both academically and personally. IES really challenged students to emerge into culture and French language. All my classes were in French, and I had French host family which contributed to the improvement of my French ability. Whenever I had questions about French culture and French language itself, not only I had my French professors, but also my host family. They were all happy to teach me what they know, and further explain it to help my understanding. Living with a French host family has taught me different life style than I previously have experienced. IES did a great job of matching host families and really cared how it is like, and when people have questions or problems, they could easily talk to one of the staffs and figure things out. All the staffs at IES really want you to improve and achieve the goal you come in with, and they are all super helpful.

How can this program be improved?
Have more variety of classes.
Yes, I recommend

About IES Abroad

IES Abroad offers 140 programs worldwide for college students. We are a highly charged force of study abroad enthusiasts. Every day we have the privilege of witnessing how study abroad changes our students’ lives. We also believe that every student...