IES Abroad Nantes – French Language Immersion & Area Studies

Video and Photos

A photo of a sunset over Nantes from Le Nid, the tallest building in the city.
A photo of a sunset over Nantes from Le Nid, the tallest building in the city.
Order a galette complete for the best meal ever. A lunch meal of galette and cider
Order a galette complete for the best meal ever. A lunch meal of galette and cider
Your walk to school! Place Royale Fountain
Your walk to school! Place Royale Fountain
Place Royale in Nantes
Place Royale in Nantes
My walk to school
Nantes! View from "le nid"

About

The IES Abroad Nantes Program has two important goals: to improve your written and verbal proficiency in French through language and area studies courses and teaching internships, and to introduce you to contemporary France and its role in the European Union. Founded in 1965, the program is small enough to welcome you into the community, yet large enough to allow for a variety of academic and extracurricular activities. We offer you the opportunity to integrate fully into French society and function completely in French, due to the program’s focus on full immersion and the fact that there are few Anglophones in Nantes.

This program enjoys a close relationship with the Université de Nantes. You have access to the school’s libraries, computer labs, cafeterias, and sports facilities, and are welcome to join student clubs and other social and sports organizations. You also have many opportunities for enrolling in university courses.

Scholarships

IES Abroad Scholarships
IES Abroad Scholarships and Financial Aid

As far as we're concerned, financial limitations shouldn't prevent you from studying abroad with us. That's why we offer more than $5 million in scholarships and aid.

Value
$500 - $5,000

Questions & Answers

Reviews

96%
based on 54 reviews
  • Academics 8.3
  • Support 9.5
  • Fun 9.6
  • Housing 9.2
  • Safety 9.4
Showing 1 - 15 of 54
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Genevieve
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

A wonderfully transformative experience

I can't speak highly enough of the program here. IES is a great organization to study abroad with and Nantes, specifically, is an awesome city to be in. These factors combined, it was a fantastic semester. IES provides a lot of assistance with the Visa process, homestay situation, picking classes, and taking trips around Nantes (such as wineries and castles). Nantes itself is a really cute city-- it has a hidden culture of music and art, and is teeming with young people, thanks to the University of Nantes network.

I took four classes at the IES abroad center (so with other Americans in the program), one class at the University of Nantes, and one class at the local Fine Arts school. My IES classes were my favorite, because some were just four people, and never more than 15. The professors are all native French speakers from the Nantes region who are passionate about what they teach and want to bring you out into the community. For example, in my Art History class, we took a field trip to a covered mall (Passage Pommeraye) downtown to study the architecture, and in my Sociology class we sat in on a public trial. All these courses were in French, which is the aspect I was most worried about prior to the program, but which ended up being very positive. When I arrived at IES I quickly realized that people in the program have many different levels of French, which is great. There is a place for everyone, whether you're near-fluent or have only taken a few French classes.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
My advice to future travelers considering this program is to GO FOR IT. Seriously- I recommend just taking the risk to do an immersion program, though it may seem daunting. From everyone I've talked with, it's a unique, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I was the most nervous about the language aspect going into the program, but now I can confidently say I've improved my French immensely, and feel overall more confident. It's definitely a challenge, but taking on those challenges is what life's all about :)
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Saron
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

You won't regret it!

I was pushed out of my comfort zone, but the program had very supportive staff and many resources available if you need any guidance. I liked that the program had planned group outings and activities to do every week from paddle boarding to karaoke night, so there were always opportunities to meet new people and make more connections. All my classes were in French and I only spoke French with my host family, and that challenge made me grow immensely in my language speaking and comprehension skills, as well as my understanding of the French culture. I absolutely loved my host family- they were so accommodating, amazing cooks, hilarious, and really made me feel included and supported. The IES classes are more catered towards study-abroad students so there is more support to succeed in them. The university classes are a little tougher but doable- I would say that taking it with someone was helpful for me. The IES gastronomy class is a must take in my opinion- interesting, great field trips, and you try loads of new foods!

What was the most unfamiliar thing you ate?
I have tried multiple things that are unfamiliar to me during my time here- for example I have tried stingray, frogs legs, snails, duck liver, and cow's tongue.
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Alyssa
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Experience I'll Never Forget!

Choosing to study abroad with IES was one of the best decisions I have made in my college career. I knew that I wanted to do an immersion program so that I could become a better speaker and I significantly improved! Not only was I able to make connections with the other students but my host family was super supportive and loving; I plan on staying in contact with them! Not only was I looking for a program that pushed me to learn more and improve my French, but I also wanted to be able to travel and experience Europe. I had plenty of opportunities to travel around and visit different countries which was an important aspect for me. I think that if you are looking for a program that will push you out of your comfort zone and allow you the opportunities to get involved in the community then IES Nantes is the place for you!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Don't worry about messing up! Learning is all about mistakes. I messed up a lot and my host family would be super supportive and correct my mistakes.
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Yvonne
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Experience of a Lifetime!

Studying abroad in Nantes, France with IES was a fantastic choice! Upon arrival, the IES staff welcomes you with wide smiles and makes you feel at home! They ensure a smooth transition to a new French life by having about ten days of orientation before classes begin. Even after orientation, they check in on their students to make sure they are enjoying their experience. IES not only provides students with a great education, but also gives students the opportunity to engage in cultural events that really allow you to get to know the city. Students are also able to make plenty of French friends by going to the Club de Conversation and speaking to French students in English and French. Studying with IES Nantes is truly a fully immersive experience! By the time you leave, your French will have greatly improved and you will feel like a true Nantais(e)!

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
When I first arrived in France, one of the biggest challenges I faced was the fear I felt when I had to speak to locals. I was only able to overcome this by embracing my imperfect French. I understood that I probably would not be able to speak like the locals, but they would understand me nonetheless. This is probably the biggest piece of advice I can offer to people studying abroad in a non-Anglophone country: Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, you will find a way to make yourself understood. Also, don’t be afraid to have new experiences you wouldn’t be able to have elsewhere. You will look back at those experiences fondly when you think back to your study abroad experience.
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Jessica
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Un vrai bon temps!

For some people, studying abroad means partying and drinking all the time. For me, it was all about the experience of living in a different culture and learning a different language! I got to meet the most welcoming and warm people, eat the most butter-y and "delicieuse" food I have ever had, and see some of the oldest artifacts in the world. I truly cherished my time abroad, including the challenging moments that only made me a more rounded person. Traveling in Europe is extremely easy compared to the United States, allowing for lots of travel if that's something you want to do during your time abroad. I enjoyed my times in other countries but also time in my own city! Also, living in a host family is a great way to meet and get to know a local family to immerse yourself in the local culture while making new relationships!

What would you improve about this program?
Larger facility for students. Better communication about strikes.
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Anna
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

An amazing four months!

I absolutely loved my semester with IES Nantes! I would have done another semester with the program if I could. This program is great for anyone trying to improve their French because it is so immersive: you live with a host family, all of your classes are in French, and most people doing the program with you have a passion for French! Nantes is an exciting and welcoming city that gives you tons of opportunities to improve your language skills. I think you really gain a deeper understanding of the French language and culture through IES and the activities that it plans for you. This program also has a great staff who really go the extra mile to help you become integrated and happy in France. I had some of the best four months of my life with IES Nantes and I would strongly recommend this program to anyone who has a passion for French or who wants to have an authentic cultural experience!

What would you improve about this program?
I don't have much to say in the way of improvement for this program! I think that their meal plan/number of meals that you get per week from your host family could be improved.
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Hannah
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Everything and More

I absolutely loved my semester in Nantes! I chose this program because I wanted to be in a city where I knew I could really work on my language skills and because I was interested in the teaching internship, but I got so much more than just that! I made amazing friends with the other students on my program, and we shared so many cool experiences. I taught English in a French school and worked alongside other French teachers, gaining valuable experience for prospective future jobs. IES hosted different cultural events every week, ranging from cooking workshops hosted by some of the host families to ice skating and exploring the city, all the way to weekend excursions like trips to the Loire Valley castles. It was great to be in the city of Nantes. I felt pretty safe in the city and there was always plenty of things to do. It was also quite easy to travel from Nantes to other cool places nearby. My one regret was not involving myself in the international community more, especially at the university. Everyone stayed with a host family, and I felt very at home with mine; we were so well matched! We all started the program at different levels in our French, but the staff and professors at IES met each of us where we were at and encouraged us all along the way as we progressed. By the end of the semester we had all come so far with our French! I'm so proud of the things I accomplished and the experiences I had during my semester abroad, I only wish it could have lasted longer.

Christen
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Life changing experience

My experience with this program was amazing. This wasn't my first experience abroad, but it gave me such a great sense of self. My host family embraced me as if I was truly part of the family and the adventures with friends will never be forgotten. I would and do recommend a study abroad for anyone.
My only regret was not keeping in touch with friends from the program.
This experience gave me such a level of confidence and self sufficiency, it has continued to influence my decisions. When you are capable of thriving in another culture in a distant place; it changes how you view not just the world but more importantly your own abilities.
I would recommend staying flexible. Some of my favorite memories are from last minute trips with no plan. We just went. My favorite memory is of a friend and I taking out a map, closing our eyes and pointing to the next place we were going.

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Jacqueline
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Nantes, A Dream Semester

From childhood, I’ve known I love to travel. As I grew up I imagined studying abroad in high school, I talked about it, hoped for it, and never did end up putting anything together. As I entered college I renewed my hopes, and made plans for junior year. I was serious, I was excited, and I was going to France. Nantes, France, to be exact.

After all the planning, all the excitement, I was terrified when I got to Nantes. I arrived at the IES Abroad building, which I would later grow to love, and I met a whole crowd of other students, each one of us more or less quiet, just waiting for our host families to come pick us up. The first few days passed like you would expect, people saying their names over and over, trying to talk to as many other students as possible, and sharing all kinds of information about their lives at home in the US and about what their host families here in Nantes are like. IES took us on lots of weekend trips, especially at the start, and little by little we grew to be as comfortable as if we had spent years with each other. The little table in the kitchen and the big mass of tables in the library became regular spots to gather and talk, and I made friends in Nantes who I still talk to and remain close with despite the fact that we are now spread out all over the US and France.

My host family, more than anything, was one of the most impactful parts of my time in France. I was far more tearful and sad on the day I left France and my host family, than on the day I said goodbye to my real family, because them I would see again in only four short months. I was blessed with a host family who I grew to think of as my own family, as my mom, dad, three younger sisters, cat and dog. Each one of them welcomed me as if I was some long-lost member of the family, coming back from a lengthy trip. I fit into their life and routine quickly and with ease, and I could talk to each of them about whatever came into our heads. IES couldn't have done a better job placing students in their host families.

The classes I took, both with IES and at the University, were challenging, but rewarding more than anything. And challenging though they could be, there was always a tutor, a friend, or the teacher standing by to help however they could. Though I had my worries about whether or not I would be at ease with the language before arriving, every fear was quelled shortly after arriving. There was a learning curve, and adjustments had to be made along the way, but the fact that everyone in your sphere wants to help you, coupled with the fact that simply being immersed in the language will help you to learn quicker than you could have believed, makes everything seem all the easier.

I loved my semester in Nantes more than I even realized I could before arriving there, and I wouldn't change it for anything. I came home with lifelong friends, knowledge of a beautiful culture and country that I never imagined I would understand so well, memories that will say with me as long as I am still going, and skills in a language that I will be able to use for the rest of my life.

Mary Bradley
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Taught through teaching

IES provided for me the opportunity to teach at a local middle school in Nantes, France. This opportunity enhanced my experience abroad as I became more assimilated to French culture and the functioning of the French education system. My week consisted of just four hours of teaching nearly 50 students, not including lesson planning. This was a chance to explore a new career path that I had not yet considered, and helped me gain vital insight into my ideal future career.

What would you improve about this program?
The French language courses can be more challenging. I did not learn as much grammar and language skills as I had hoped through this course. The immersion through a homestay and living in a real French city is crucial, but it helps monumentally to put together the missing pieces through a structured grammar class.
Delaney
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

French Immersion & So Much More

This program advertises that you'll be immersed in French language and culture, and that is completely true. But it's impossible to describe what all you'll get from this program. The staff at IES Nantes are very committed to making your stay in France the best possible. Anything you are worried about, they are there for you & willing to listen. The program provides the perfect mixture of a feeling of home in a foreign country, while also challenging you to go outside of your comfort zone. Most of your courses will probably be at the IES Center, with the rest of your American classmates. But, you have the option to take courses at the University in Nantes, with French students! This is one example of the combination of the comfortable but challenging aspect of the program. I took a sociology class at the university and the professor modified the course so that it would be a more level playing field with the native French students. It was definitely still a challenge, but nothing unmanageable. It is one of the most interesting experiences I took from Nantes, and I'm so grateful I had the opportunity. I highly recommend it!

Samantha
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Dream in Front of My Eyes

I use the title to describe my experience in only six words. The thing is the experience really takes up more words than what I can write. The program is nicely set up, super organized, you meet other American students from different parts of the country, you actually speak French most of the time (Nantes is a city with hardly any American tourists), and your host family will give you an idea of how French culture looks in a traditional sense. IES staff is extremely helpful (I miss them so much), there are social events organized every week by the social coordinator, and there is also opportunities to take courses in the local university (which I recommend), taking a gastronomy course, and taking a teaching internship to teach English in French schools. All these oppportunities are what make IES Nantes a dream come true!

What would you improve about this program?
Maybe just by making the placement exams better (I was placed in a French class that was too easy).
Froggie
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

An amazing semester!

This program was absolutely amazing! My french improved immensely, I made close friends that I still keep in touch with, and fell in love with Nantes, so much so all I want to do is go back! The staff here are 100% dedicated to the students, going above and beyond to make sure each student has an excellent experience. The homestay is a great opportunity and I loved my host family. The professors are all very understanding of the language barrier that exists, but also push you to improve. The city is gorgeous and there is always something interesting going on. The social coordinator also makes sure students know when there is an event and takes them there. Overall, a fantastic program that I would recommend to anyone hoping to improve their French and wanting an unforgettable semester!

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Tarin
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The Place to Go for French Immersion

If you're looking to truly immerse yourself in french language and culture, this is the program for you. Nantes is the perfect city for a study abroad semester: it is large and young enough that there is always something fun to do, yet small enough to truly feel like home. The people are kind and generous and (unlike what you may find in more touristy study abroad destinations) always speak french back! The IES program itself makes sure that you have the opportunity to make the most out of your time here, with plenty of weekday city social events, weekend trips exploring the local region, and integration with french students at the local university through classes, conversation clubs, or other extracurriculars.

I loved having the option to take all my courses– even psychology– in french. If you’re pursuing an education beyond french language or the humanities, however, be forewarned that there may only be 1 or 2 class options offered at the local university. Another potential limitation is that your only housing option is a homestay, but don’t let that deter you! My host family was perhaps my favorite aspect of this program and where I learned the most. I met friends for life here– both in american and french students as well as in my host family– and am already counting down the days until I can go back!

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Taylor
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

All I wanted and more!

IES Abroad in Nantes was literally everything I was looking for in a study abroad program: a homestay with a host family, all my classes (which were all super interesting) in french, a perfectly sized program (my semester was 40 students), a super fun city to make myself at home in, and opportunities to hang out with local french students at the university and at conversation club every week. The IES team in Nantes was really good at organizing events, from ice skating to karaoke nights, for all the students in the program to take part in. There were also several included field trips like to les Chateaux de la Loire and Tours, which all students could go on as part of their program tuition. I was also really excited about traveling - while I was in Europe, I wanted to see everything I could. Nantes was relatively easy to travel from, as it has its own airport and is a quick 3 hour train ride from Paris. I was able to do all the traveling I wanted on the weekends and took full advantage of our week long fall break by traveling to 5 countries in 9 days. When I was back in Nantes, I loved living in my homestay with my host mom. She was there for me when I needed advice or someone to talk to (in French, bien sur!), but also let me be totally independent and go out when I wanted to. I met so many people on my program who came from all over the US, most of which I am still in contact with today. The IES Center in Nantes was definitely good at encouraging us to speak french as much as possible, especially when we were in school, and I found my level of french increase exponentially during my time in Nantes. Overall, if you're looking for an opportunity to study abroad in France, live in a homestay, take your classes in french, and live in a clean, safe, and interesting city, go with IES Nantes! I would recommend this program to anyone and everyone I could, and would do it all over again myself in a heartbeat.

What would you improve about this program?
Nothing to note!