IES Abroad Paris - French Studies

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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

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...


based on 35 reviews
  • Academics 7.9
  • Support 9.2
  • Fun 9.3
  • Housing 8.8
  • Safety 9.3
Showing 31 - 35 of 35
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greatest semester ever

My host family (just a host mom and a cat) were the best possible pairing I ever could have imagined. We got along extremely well and she made me incredible dinners (in 4 months abroad, she only repeated 2 plates...and those were on my last two nights because I had specially requested them). I was spoiled...The IES program was also great because it had really great professors that were very accessible and wanted the american students to succeed. There was a good selection of classes as well as the option to take classes at a local french university (which I partook in). I made a lot of friends, both inside and outside of IES programs/classes. I also had the opportunity to travel a lot, which was great!

How can this program be improved?
Paris is a very expensive city.
Yes, I recommend this program
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A fantastic study abroad experience

I chose to do IES because my school's program in France does not include a homestay or the opportunity to take classes at a French institution. My school told me I might not even get credit for the classes I took with IES but I chose to do it anyway, and I am very glad I did (I did credit actually).

If you choose (you can also live in an apartment with other Americans) you can be placed in an apartment in Paris with a family, which is the main reason I wanted to do IES. I had a lovely family in a really great location and the mom was a fantastic cook. I probably wouldn't want to stay with a family for more than a semester though- by the end I wanted to feel more independent in my home and I felt a little bit like a stranger still, but I did really love the home stay. I didn't totally click with the other IES students, but I made French friends through my host mom's son, which was really fantastic because it really helped my French (and they were great people).

I absolutely loved the IES classes I took- 18th and 19th century art history (with trips to the Louvre and the Musee d'Orsay) 20th century French literature, and translation (that was a bit difficult). I took two classes at the Sorbonne- I almost wish I had only taken one because the classes were very difficult to follow and had a lot of assignments. I did perfectly fine in them though so it's definitely doable. I also learned a lot in those classes and made a couple of French friends- also great.

I had a lot of time to wander around Paris by myself- you can really create your own experience with IES and feel independent, which I find very important. A lot of people traveled during the weekends - I visited a cousin in Florence one weekend but other than that I stayed in Paris.

The IES staff were always extremely supportive and nice and I really enjoyed all the programs they had in Paris - a few hangouts with French people, trips to the Opera and Ballet, and a trip to a chocolate competition thing - that was amazing. The superb quality of the staff was really one of the best parts about my experience.

How can this program be improved?
I think they could have done a better job with providing trips outside of Paris - we had to go to Normandy in the beginning as a sort of ice breaker, which I kind of hated, and then you could choose two other trips. I went to Reims, which was kind of cool but not too exciting, and Champagne, which was nice also but not an overnight trip or anything. I think my school's program provides trips almost every weekend, and this felt like very little. However we of course had the amazing Paris to explore for three months, so I wasn't that upset about it.
Yes, I recommend this program
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The perfect blend of cultural and academic challenges

The IES Paris program and its staff understand what it is like to be an American college student living in Paris. While many of the courses are rigorous, the staff and professors never lose sight of the fact that you are studying abroad. Living in Paris is full of challenges outside of the classroom, whether it's conquering the metro system or simply mastering your french at the dinner table. The academic curriculum, in my opinion, provides the perfect level of difficulty while still giving you the opportunity to deal with these other challenges. You will most definitely find yourself well prepared academically coming in, even if your french is not superb. Living in a homestay was the most rewarding aspect of this program. The families IES has selected are well acclimated to the foreign student experience, and are quite empathetic in helping you adapt to a new lifestyle. Overall, this is an extremely challenging semester abroad but the reward is far greater than you could expect coming in.

How can this program be improved?
The commute to school was often difficult and time consuming. Living closer to the IES Center would have made it easier, but I doubt I would have seen as much of the city as I did if I had lived closer.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Best of Paris

IES offers its students a French experience while maintaining the academic excellence of the US. The program offers many excursions to its students to explore the city as well intercultural exchanges with other French students. Homestays and apartments are offered, although the homestays are usually better located.

How can this program be improved?
The location of the housing wasn't ideal.
Yes, I recommend this program
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IES Paris is challenging, but worth it.

Honestly, I was so anxious about studying abroad before I left the US. It seemed like such a huge undertaking, and I didn't exactly know what to expect. However, IES did a fantastic job of helping us students acclimate to our new homes. The staff is really friendly, and they are more than willing to answer any questions you have. They organized a lot of outings that help you get exposure to Parisian culture, and one thing that I really appreciated is that they never made me feel like a tourist. They really want you to feel like a resident, which I think made the whole experience so much more meaningful.
If you want to get the most out of the program, I would HIGHLY recommend setting up a homestay arrangement. I loved my host family; they were so welcoming and gracious, not to mention adorable and awesome. They offered me a lot of classic and unconventional French foods, provided suggestions on things to do in the city, and helped me develop my language skills in a new way. They were amazing, and I class myself as lucky that I got to spend four months with them.
The last thing you want to do while studying abroad is actually study! But with IES you are required to take five classes each term, no matter how much you want to deny it. The classes aren't too terribly difficult. My experience is that you get out of it what you put into it; if you don't want to learn about the subjects, you probably won't learn anything, but if you actually do care about your grades (which I did, because I'm a goody-goody), you can get a lot out of them. Classes are all in French, which adds a whole new level of difficulty to the program.
If you're interested in taking a class at a real French university (such as the Sorbonne or the Institute Catholique de Paris), I'm going to warn you right now: my ICP class was the HARDEST class I've ever taken in my life, but after I was finished with it, there was a huge feeling of accomplishment. I would advise that you only take an exterior class if you're up for the challenge.
Ultimately, I appreciate the experience of studying abroad more than I can put into words. It's not just a matter of developing your language or visiting museums; it's about testing yourself, pushing yourself to master new challenges, and learning more about yourself both as an American and as a world traveler. If you're willing to give up some of your old habits in favor of new, exciting exploits, then by all means, go for it.

Yes, I recommend this program

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...