IES Abroad Arles Summer
92% Rating
(9 Reviews)

IES Abroad Arles Summer

This program gives you a rare opportunity to immerse yourself in French language study, the culture of the Midi region of France, and French-taught interdisciplinary courses. Language-intensive lunches, conducted three days a week, allow you to practice your French with IES Abroad staff and professors while sampling the local cuisine. Fridays are reserved for field study activities and excursions organized by IES Abroad.

Locations
Europe » France
Program Type
Provider
Subject Areas
Art History
Sociology
Theater, Drama and Dance
Degree Level
Bachelors
Timeframe
Summer
Accommodation
Host Family
Language
English
Steps
Online Application
Official Transcripts
Age Requirement
Language Requirement
GPA Requirement
Health Requirement
Starting Price
$0.00
Currency
USD
Price Details
Contact IES Abroad or see website for details: www.IESabroad.org/arles
Other Locations
Arles

Questions & Answers

Program Reviews

  • Academics
    73%
  • Support
    97%
  • Fun
    93%
  • Housing
    88%
  • Safety
    91%

Program Reviews (9)

Default avatar
Amelia
Female
Evanston
Northwestern University

Amazing Summer Abroad

10/10

I had an amazing summer through this program! The best part was definitely staying with a host family- mine was so welcoming, and supportive and I still keep in touch with them! This is an immersive program, so you are constantly pushed to speak in French. It was overwhelming and uncomfortable at times, but completely worthwhile. I was surprised by how easy it was to form connections with people, especially my host family, even when I sometimes had trouble communicating verbally.

Arles itself is a great place to spend the summer. It's a quiet little town, but there is a lot going on! There was plenty to do, and it was much less intimidating than a large city would have been. There are also a lot of ways to visit nearby towns, both with the program, and individually. I would definitely recommend this program if you are looking for an immersive experience!

Default avatar
Elizabeth
Female
21 years old
Portland
Other

Arles, France

9/10

I benefited from being able to live with a host family (which was one of the reasons I chose this program) and I enjoyed all of the opportunities to go to different events hosted by the program (such as museum tours, visiting les Arenes, Avignon, and Aix-en-Provence). I just wish there was a little more information that was available before orientation to better prepare us for our experience. I still had a great time and learned so much about the history of France. I would highly recommend this program to students who want to improve their French language skills.

Default avatar
Allie
Female
20 years old
United States
Northwestern University

Incredible Experience!

10/10

The Arles Summer program was an incredible experience for me. The program is small, so you get to know the staff and other students really well and feel a strong sense of community. Arles is the perfect town to study abroad, in my opinion, because it is safe and small while also being full of culture and activities. I enjoyed my classes and the program excursions, and the best part was my homestay. My host family was unbelievably kind and generous, and they made me feel very much at home. The immersion aspect of the program really helped me improve my French, and overall I was very satisfied with my progress and experience!

How can this program be improved?

There could be more course offerings and more engaging professors for the Theater and Sociology courses (as I heard that they were a bit boring).

Default avatar
Megan
Female
24 years old
Evanston, Illinois
Northwestern University

An Adventure in Arles

9/10

My time in Arles is an experience that I will never forget! Every day felt like a new adventure in Arles! I learned so much about what I am capable of and grew throughout the process. I returned with a new perspective, an open mind, and a desire to continue to learn about the world, as well as wonderful memories and connections from my summer.

The IES program is amazingly well run! I encountered very few problems but felt support at every moment of my journey, before and during my program. The staff in Arles is wonderful! Every time I had a question, about the culture, a French word, or which café to go to, I could count on the staff for answers. I felt that they really cared about us! The professors as well were great! I had amazing discussions in class and each professor connected what we were learning in the classroom to what we were experiencing. Everyone was extremely willing to help us, understanding the challenge of living our lives completely in French, but also challenged us to keep speaking at all times. It was difficult at first, but definitely is worth it!

One of the best parts of the trip was my host family! By living with a host family, I was completely immersed in the French culture and language. My host family was so sweet and helpful. I learned things every day from them, whether about French politics or a new word. My host mom always checked in with me about my day. I loved chatting with her. I explored Arles and other parts of the region with them. They took me to a beach and a vineyard in the mountains. Participating in daily life with my host family gave me a sense of comfort while I was so far away from my own home, but also served as one of the main places of opening my eyes to the French culture and wonderful French people!

On a typical day in the program, I attended two classes. On many of the days, you'll have language lunches, where you eat lunch at different restaurants around the town with the professors and the directors, which helps improve your French even more! On Fridays, the program takes you to different places in Provence. You'll have 3 dinners a week with host families and breakfast every day, but I ate with my family more than that (it depends on the family).

I absolutely loved Arles! The town is small, but lively and beautiful! It is full of history, from Roman ruins to VanGogh sites, as well as cultural events and modern festivals (a huge photography festival every summer). Everyone is sweet and many people know each other. Even though there are many tourists during the day, the town has a strong local culture. I spent many days wandering around the town, exploring new sites, finding my favorite cafes and bookstores. Some of my favorite moments are the conversations I had with people. I chatted with the owner of a hat shop on the center's street every day by the end of the program and even attended a folk dance class with some local residents. You can easily travel from Arles (I went to Barcelona for a weekend, many people go to Paris), but there Arles itself has so much to offer. It will always have a special place in my heart and I would love to return one day!

I would recommend this program! If you go, as the French say, profitez-bien (profit well) from the experience! It will be unforgettable!

How can this program be improved?

I might make the program slightly longer. It is 6 weeks! I felt like I had plenty of time to enjoy my experience and get to know the town, but I would have loved to have more time!

Default avatar
Phoebe
Female
24 years old
Evanston, IL
Northwestern University

Trip I'll Never Forget

9/10

This was probably the one of the best decisions I've made about how to spend my summer. I've always wanted to visit France and learn the culture by living there and this was my dream come true.

My host family was awesome. I lived with a mom with two children. She was extremely nice and spoke slowly to me at first so that I can understand. During family meal times, she would always try to start conversations with me and ask me about my day. It was difficult to talk to her in French at first but it got better day by day and I learned a lot about French culture and living in Arles as she has been living in Arles for awhile. I loved playing with the kids as well. They would teach me random words of objects and animals in French while playing with me.

The staff for Arles program was amazing as well. They were extremely supportive and informative. I asked them many random grammar questions since I wasn't taking a grammar course on the program, and they would help me out until I would understand. They also helped me a lot with pronunciation and made me feel more confident when I was speaking French to the natives.

I loved Arles. The town is absolutely beautiful, with old Roman architecture and cultural sites all around the town. People are very nice too. I visited Paris for a weekend and that really made me appreciate people in Arles. French people in Arles speak slower and are a lot nicer. There were French guys once in a while who would cat call and yell out things on the streets and that made me feel uncomfortable at times but I didn't feel like Arles was a dangerous place where I could never walk anywhere alone (doesn't mean you should walk around alone at night though just in case...). It's small and everyone knows each other.

The courses were not intellectually challenging, especially because I don't normally take any humanities/social sciences courses during my school year (I'm in the engineering school at my university). So this was a different experience and most of all, I learned a lot about French culture in the classes which helped me to understand lots of cultural differences as a foreign student living in a new country. The professors were enthusiastic and extremely understanding, especially on the difficulty of understanding and communicating in all French.

The weather in Arles was always sunny and beautiful. There were couple days that rained but it's not like Paris... It rained everyday that I was in Paris when I visited (4-day weekend). Tons of mosquitos at night though... so don't forget an insect repellent!

I loved Arles and I would love to go back again sometime in the future. I would definitely recommend this program. You won't regret it!

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Hannah
Female
24 years old
Holland, Michigan
Hope International University

The Things I Learned During the Sweetest of Summers in Arles, France

8/10

The most important things that I learned didn't end up being what was taught in the classroom, nor was the most special part of my experience the things that I saw; though I must admit, the lavender fields and the treasured ruins left behind by the Romans were more beauty than I should ever think to behold in a lifetime. Arles is a city full of life and art and foods all fit to satisfy the soul. So much beauty can be found there, in both the place and it's people. It's the things that I learned from them that made my experience so grand.
Van Gogh taught me to see every yellow of the spectrum. This man is everywhere in Arles, though he only spent one year of his life there. I could feel him in L'Espace Van Gogh, in the little museum that recounts his life so well, and even in the sunflowers he so carefully painted while residing there.
My host mother taught me how to be strong. As a single mother of two, twin four-year-old girls working multiple jobs and doing all that she can for her daughters, she's one of the strongest people I know.
My host sisters taught me patience. Something about being taught daily by four-year olds makes you quite humble, I would say. And when they don't understand why you sometimes cannot understand them is where the patience bit of it comes in.
My good friend Hayley, also a student in the program, taught me how to love absolutely everyone. She showed kindness to everyone she met and never failed to be there for me and others. The friendship that we created in Arles has continued even over some odd 800 miles apart.
One of our professors taught me what to do when the waitress places a whole fish, eyeballs and all, in front of you at lunch. Three times a week, we ate lunch with faculty and other students, dining at local restaurants. One afternoon at "Le Bistrot Des Artistes," fresh fish was on the menu, and after one look at my horrified face, our kind professor taught me the delicate art of cutting and de-boning the fish, exhibiting how to eat "lentement," "slowly."
Each morning on my way to class, I would see the same man playing the guitar on the side of the road. He taught me contentment. Every morning he would sit idly in the same spot along the main street and fill the morning air with beautiful, simple tunes. Sometimes he would make eye contact, other times his fingers demanded his attention, but always he looked content in his usual place doing something he evidently loved.
The man who was my lavender field tour guide taught me that the things you dream are always possible. As he drove our van of eight through winding hills overlooking patches of lavender and greens below, he told us that he had lived out West for many years working with horses. His dream had always been to be a cowboy.
I traveled to Nice on a free weekend alone, and a group of locals invited me to join them for beach volleyball. One of the little girls kept asking me how to say words in English, ecstatic when she could remember how to say, "how are you?" when I asked her. Though brief, this little girl will forever be in my mind. She showed me her determination to learn, even in a setting of play.
My fellow hostel-goers in Nice taught me confidence--don't be afraid to talk to those you don't know. Usually they're looking for the same thing you are, to make a friend in an unknown place. I met a friend that I still keep in contact with at the hostel, and we spent the day pretending to be art critics in the contemporary art museum and getting lost in the streets of "The Old Town."
Oh, and the people of Arles taught me how to dance. And I mean really dance. They dance with such vitality, such joy and don't mind who's watching. They pulled us in to join their traditional dances, taking our hands and laughing along with us at our attempts.
Then there's what I learned about myself, and that is this: When you're in a foreign place where you don't know anyone, you learn a great deal about yourself. Though you spend much time with fellow students, in class, and with host families, you still have a fair amount of time on your own. You get to explore a place that by the end, you feel a part of. You realize the importance of connections and you learn that taking time to be on your own isn't necessarily a bad thing. You learn how to be patient with yourself (speaking constant French was definitely a test of that for me).
It was hard, I won't say that it wasn't. Oftentimes I wished to leave as the classes were difficult and I sometimes felt alone. It's not until I returned that I fully saw how much my time in Arles impacted me. I am so grateful to Arles for making me a stronger person, for sharing its beauty , and for allowing me to grow more than I ever have.

How can this program be improved?

I would have like to have had local people (preferably students) to be better integrated into the program. I found myself not meeting anyone my age, and the students in the group mainly spent time with each other. I viewed this as a bit of a drawback, as often the American students would fall into English.

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Alain
Male
24 years old
Evanston, Illinois
Northwestern University

An amazing summer in Provence

10/10

IES Abroad's program in Arles was easily the best summer of my life. Courses were interesting, staff was accommodating, trips were awesome, and host families were inviting. I would definitely recommend this program to any student of French!

How can this program be improved?

Maybe make it a bit longer.

Default avatar
Vanessa
Female
24 years old
Chicago
Northwestern University

Living a dream

9/10

Arles was amazing - from the scenic, historic town strewn with Roman monuments and Van Gogh's traces, to the welcoming, tight-knit local community; from the enthusiastic on-site staff and professors to my culturally-curious peers.

Throughout the five weeks of the program, I kept feeling like I was dreaming. Spending my summer in this vacation-like little town tucked away in the South of France with a local family takes away so much of the stress of college campus back in the States, while I actually learn enormously both in and outside of the classroom. My host family took such good care of me and really tried to integrate me into every part of their family activities - we went on weekend getaways in the mountains and swam in rivers; we went to dinners at multiple neighbors; we went to see the French National Day fireworks... They were so friendly and patient when sometimes I couldn't express exactly what I wanted to say in French. My host family and I got along so much that when I left, everyone actually cried. It was a very emotional experience, and it really opened my eyes to the local French life. I am definitely revisiting my host family in the near future.

Default avatar
PardonMyFrench
Female
24 years old
Wheaton, IL

Au Bord du Rhone

9/10

Arles is made amazing by the clash of ancient ruins with modern transportation, ancient architecture and modern interiors, museums and art galleries, traditional Provencal and modern cuisine. And the best part? It’s not in an overwhelmingly large city. Everything is within walking distance, events are accessible to almost anyone, and the locals are incredibly kind and helpful.

A typical day started bright and early with class. before lunch it was nice to visit a local café, enjoy a coffee and read for class or for pleasure. Lunch was always enjoyable because we split up into groups with the staff and the instructors and ate at different restaurants around town. After lunch was another study break and then class again. The evenings varied the most. Sometimes there would be tours around town with the program, then students would eat dinner out in town or with their host families. At night there were always things to do like concerts, art showings, festivals, movies, or just having a drink at the local pub. Things were slower some days, but everyone needs a few of those. If nothing else, it's a slower pace of life in the summer there.

I must say though that high above all else, what created the most memories, were the people. The staff in the US and France, the instructors, all of the host families, the locals, and the other students in the program all created an amazing trip. They are the ones that create each summer’s unique feel and experience.

How can this program be improved?

As much as the program encourages students to go out into the city, it was hard to know what events we could become involved in. Don't get me wrong, part of the experience is exploring and doing some research of one's own, however, having a little guidance would have been nice.

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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 should have the opportunity to

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