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 16 - 30 of 54
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Adrian
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Everything I wanted from study abroad

I could talk endlessly about this program. I had a fantastic time, and could not have been happier with my choice to study abroad in Nantes, France. Nantes is a beautiful city that is the perfect size for a semester. It is large enough to have everything you could need - shopping, movies, nightlife, and spectacular restaurants and boulangeries - while still feeling manageable. I was able to easily navigate the city within a couple of weeks, and it truly felt like home by the time I left. People speak very little English in Nantes, which forces you to grow quickly with French language skills. Also, everyone in the program lived in a homestay, which is definitely a highlight of the program. I got to improve my French while learning about French culture from French people. Some programs have an optional homestay option, but I'm glad everyone participated so none of us had FOMO about living in an apartment or missing out on the homestay.

The IES Abroad Center is terrific. The entire staff is French, and courses are small and adaptable to the students. They were always helpful and understanding of everyone's needs. We also got to go on 4 weekend trips which were all magnificent. France is a great country to stay in because each region is very unique and has something different to offer. All of the classes were taught in French with French professors, and you could also choose to take classes at the local French university. The classes were interesting and focused on a lot on learning about French culture.

I love Nantes and still am raving about my time abroad to friends and family. If you want a real, cultural experience of a European city, and want to improve your French, you won't regret choosing this program!

What would you improve about this program?
Though the program has a French-only policy, it wasn't enforced very well and most of us spoke English. It was frustrating at times and you really had to push yourself if you wanted to speak only French.
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Emma
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Second Home in Nantes

I absolutely fell in love with Nantes during my four months there, and I couldn't have asked for a better experience. The city itself is beautiful and has such great energy, and with a big university, there are lots of young people around. There's also a really small anglophone presence so it's the perfect place for French immersion. If you want to improve your French, this is the program for you! All the classes are in French and my French improved so much, especially through speaking with my host family, which was one of the biggest highlights for me: they were so sweet to me, made me feel welcome right away, and my host mom made such amazing food!

The courses at IES were fun and engaging--I especially loved the art history course I took--and the professors were overall tuned into the level of French students had. The staff at the IES are so sweet, and the center provides a kind of home base for its students.

I also got to take classes at the university, which was challenging but really fun especially because it led to me making French friends. I met so many great people and some of my favorite memories are just exploring and hanging out in centre ville with other IES students. Studying in Nantes was an amazing experience for me and I definitely found a second home there. IES and often the host families provide you with guidance, but at the same time you are independent and free to explore as you wish. I definitely recommend this program to anyone looking to improve their French, meet really nice people and explore a beautiful city.

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Iggy
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

IES Nantes: a fantastic semester in Nantes

My semester abroad in Nantes was incredible and I can't wait for the day I can go back and visit again. The IES program described itself as a full French immersion program, and that is definitely the kind of experience I received. All of my classes were in French, which forced me to become more and more familiar with the French language, culture, and history. The "French only" rule at the center helped push us out of our comfort zone and forced us to express ourselves in French, even if it meant using simplified terms or looking up words in an English-French dictionary from time to time. This program highly recommends staying with a home stay, which I also recommend. My home stay family was just a grandmother, but the time spent with her was incredibly valuable to me. We would chat about politics or cultural differences after dinner, and she would often ask me questions about English translations since she taught English lessons. My conversations with her improved my French comprehension and vocabulary immensely. The staff at the IES center were amazing. They were clearly passionate about the subjects they taught, and it was obvious that they were patient enough to try and understand our not-so-perfect French, which gave us much needed confidence. IES offers a wide range of classes, but if you're looking for something they don't offer, it is still easy to take classes at the university instead of at the center. The curriculum offered was very thorough and was probably the source of most of my improvements in the French language, in terms of increasing my vocabulary and understanding of grammatical rules. The amount of students at IRS during my semester was fairly smaller than usual, but the social life did not make it seem that way. During orientation, the staff gave us more than enough opportunities to make friends that will last beyond our stay in France. The field trips included with the program also helped create these friendships and by the end of the semester, it saddened me to see all of my classmates leave.
During the last two months, huge protests would break out across France, many occurring in Nantes. Even though many of these protests- usually peaceful, but sometimes violent- would occur not even a block from my home or and IES center, the staff made sure we knew what to do in case anything happened. Anytime we travelled outside the city, we had to follow a strict protocol so they knew exactly where we were just in case something happened. No matter the circumstances, the staff made sure we always were safe and knew what do to and who to go to in case of emergency, which I greatly appreciated. In fact, one of my biggest worries about going abroad were my many dietary restrictions (vegetarian and severe food allergies). However, IES made sure that they were not a problem. For example, if we were all at a restaurant, the staff made sure I was able to eat a meal there or asked the chef to make a special plate just for me, and I was very thankful they took the time to do those things for me.

Overall, the IES Nantes program was fantastic and I could not think of one thing that could be improved. If you're looking for a true French immersion program, this is the only one you will need.

What would you improve about this program?
It honestly couldn't!
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Brigit
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Merci Nantes!

This program was overall great. I loved Nantes as a city, not too big and not too small, with plenty of students around due to the large University of Nantes. The IES program was great at welcoming us and helping us understand Nantes, and although the classes were not very vigorous and I had very little homework, my french improved a great deal. I loved my host family and my host mom's delicious, traditional french meals. I made some great American friends and a few French friends, however it was difficult to meet French people my age. I loved my time in Nantes and would recommend this program to anyone who loves France and the French language.

What would you improve about this program?
I was frustrated by the amount of English spoken in the program center and by students in general on the program. The program in theory had a zero tolerance policy for speaking english, but this wasn't enforced at all and students pretty quickly found out that they could get away with speaking English. Part of the problem is that you have to be really self-motivated to speak only French when you're surrounded by Americans most of the time, but I think the program needs to figure out a better system for enforcing French speaking at all times.
Also, there was little interaction between the program administration (not professors) and the students (and to be honest, it sometimes felt like the staff really didn't like our group of students, which may be because of the excessive english speaking) but it was kind of a strange dynamic.
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Molly
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Finding a Second Home

Nantes was truly an ideal place to study abroad, especially when it comes to what I was looking for, which was a moderate sized city that would allow me to use my French as much as possible. It was big enough that there was always something to do, but not so big that a lot of people spoke English which was great when it came to having to use French and practicing my skills. I also knew that IES Nantes offered a home stay option which turned out to be the absolute best part of my trip. Living with a family gave me the opportunity to really understand what life in France means, but also gave me a chance to form connections that will last for the rest of my life. The IES Nantes center does an incredible job at matching students with families, and is so helpful if problems do come up. The center staff was also helpful with other issues as well, anything from locating important places like the post office or the doctor, to having a band-aid if you needed one on the spot. The classes offered were very interesting and taught at a reasonable pace, and the instructors were very adaptive to student's needs and issues. IES Nantes also offers an option to take classes at the local university which is a great opportunity to experience class with French students and take a class that is taught at a standard pace that is not adapted to American students. All classes in France are focused around large tests and papers rather than smaller assignments, which is important to keep in mind. There is less work to do on a daily basis, but you are expected to keep up with you classes and do work individually. Overall the program was amazing and I had a great semester!

What would you improve about this program?
I think the only improvement would be having activities that allow all of the students to get to know one another right at the beginning of the program. Everyone naturally split up into the groups that they would hang out with for the semester, but I think it would have been nice to get to know everyone not just a small group of people. Maybe having certain activities with predetermined groups so that everyone gets to know everyone.
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Tatianna
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Just Enough Guidance

Nantes was the perfect place for my study abroad experience. Going into studying abroad, I was looking to be fully immersed in French Language & Culture, and that is exactly what this program did for me.

When I was trying to choose a program, what stood out to me about IES is how they genuinely wanted to ensure that you had a good experience. They didn't just want you to sign up for their program and then completely disregard you once you got there. Their staff was involved from beginning to end making sure that every student had a good experience.

Another one of my favorite parts of the program was the home-stay experience. Everyone is required to live with a host family, which really helped everyone's french improved and allowed us to really get to know french culture. Almost all of my friends loved their host families, which is not something I have necessarily heard voiced from other people who have studied abroad. The host families in Nantes have been doing the program for years, so they are familiar with the student's experience. For me, having a host family was a great thing because it meant not being alone. I still had that home base to go back to every night where I was able to continue to learn about french culture and also build connections with a "second" family.

Academically, the program was great. Taking all of my classes in French definitely helped improve my french. The work load was a good amount. It wasn't so much that you had no time for anything else, but it wasn't too little to the point where it felt like you weren't even in school.

The IES staff and local french university teaching students also made this program stick out. The staff were always readily available to help you with any problem you had. There were also local french university teaching students who were there to help you with anything from academic problems to how to use the public transportation. Having other french students in the center were great because they helped hold us accountable to speak in french and they gave us an insight into the life of a french student. Not to mention by the end of the program we were all close friends!

The Nantes program was exactly what I was looking for in study abroad! They gave us enough guidance to feel comfortable living in a new country and city, but enough freedom to grow and explore on our own.

What would you improve about this program?
Overall, I had a very positive experience with this program. The only thing that I was unsatisfied with was the amount of english that was spoken between the students. The IES center had a no english policy, but many students just ignored that policy. The staff enforced the policy from time to time, but maybe not enough. Once students realized that they could get away with speaking english, they would just continue to do so. While some of it is the fault of the student's, I think the program needs to find a more effective way of enforcing the french only policy.
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Margaret
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Just Walking Along

Living and studying in Nantes was one of the best semesters of my life. The center staff was always helpful, my host mother was just so nice and helpful, and the teachers gave interesting lessons over a variety of French subjects. Basically, IES provided a fantastic program that not only developed my French, but helped me understand the nuances of French culture which only strengthened my love for France.
Living in the city of Nantes likely made this process easier too. Nantes is just a fantastic city to live in, with so many things to do it can be a bit overwhelming at times. However, my favorite thing to do in Nantes was just go walk along the river. Every Sunday I would just spend the afternoon walking up and around the river Erdre, which was relatively close to where I lived. It was calming just walking along the nature trails and boardwalks built alongside this majestic ancient river, watching (and maybe listening to) all the people walking by on their afternoon strolls. It was also really fun to take the boat to the other side of the river, just because I could, and continue observing French life, and wildlife. It really was a nice way to take a break from whatever piece of homework I had to work on, while still being a part of French society.

What would you improve about this program?
Maybe more weekend trips or activities scheduled by the IES center in Nantes and France.
Erin Steward
Erin
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Right at Home

Oh, Nantes. My home away from home. How I miss you! But where should I start... Probably with my family. My French host family was absolutely my favourite. Coming from being one of two children, I was a little nervous for what to expect when I ended up being one of six kids during my semester abroad. However, let me tell you that this provided a really neat opportunity in that I was able to a) practice my French more, as there always seemed to be someone around with whom I could chat, b) end up being connected to a lot more people, as my family would bring me with them when they went places, and c) take part in lots of memories that I will cherish forever. My parents were awesome about spending one-on-one time with each of us, and their household ran on a well-oiled system that provided just enough structure but also a lot of fun. I loved taking classes. Personally, I took all of mine at IES, but that doesn't mean that you need to! I had many friends who thrived with a mixture of classes at the program centre and at the local university. Our professors were dynamic, witty, thoughtful, and helpful-- they allowed me to go beyond what we were learning in the text and to make real-world connections. I LOVED going on field trips-- what a neat way to truly see first hand how skilled French bakers make their phenomenal bread or how much work it takes to grow the grapes that will become the equally-as-famed French wines! I also did a teaching internship, even though I am not an education major or minor. This was particularly insightful for me as it allowed me to get to know more about how the French school system operates in comparison with that in the United States. Finally, just a brief commentary on the city itself-- Nantes is big. It may take a bit to find your way around, particularly if you're like me and not necessarily good with maps. :) That being said, it is not overwhelmingly large! I found myself making true connections with shopkeepers who I would pass each day. I loved the balance between familiar and new, routine and adventure! I would definitely recommend if you're looking to make new friends (and family!) and to truly call another place halfway around the globe home.

What would you improve about this program?
I feel as though there could be some better interaction between the staff (excluding professors) at IES and the students. I think that sometimes students felt like it was difficult to approach staff members, and I'm not sure whether or not that was just a difference in cultures/ personalities or if that was a true vibe that was being given off.
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Rosemary
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I found a perfect fit in Nantes!

I had an absolutely wonderful time in Nantes, France through IES Abroad. You take five classes through the program, one of which is a French language class (which you are placed into by the program staff, unless you test out of it), and you choose the other four. You can also take classes at the local university, which I did and had a great time! The classes at IES are geared toward U.S. students so, while they're ALL IN FRENCH, they are structured much more like an American college or University. I took four classes at IES and one at the university and was very pleased! As mentioned, the classes are taught completely in French, which really helped me to improve my language skills (my principal goal) very quickly. My host family, with our dinners together almost every night, also helped me improve my French skills very quickly. My host family was absolutely amazing. By the time I left, I felt like they were my real family; they treated me like one of their own daughters. Not everybody had this experience from what I heard, but most people liked their host families. Expect cultural differences regarding ideology and politics, though. Getting involved in athletics/dance at the university was a blast too! I highly recommend this program for someone looking for an immersive French experience, but who also doesn't want to be so bogged down on school work that they can't adventure. I definitely had time for both.

What would you improve about this program?
Get better wifi at the IES center and a new printer. Make orientation less dense so we can retain more information.
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Abigail
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Absolutely Amazing

I had an incredible time while studying abroad at IES Nantes. It was really a magical experience. The IES staff was supportive with anything and everything that I needed and the language assistants ended up being some of my best friends. I took three classes with IES and two with the university and found that to be a perfect balance for me in terms of having classes with actual French students. IES classes are not as rigorous as I am used to, but that is not to say that I didn't learn a lot while and will take the skills and knowledge that I learned with me through my various academic endeavors and the rest of my life. My French also drastically improved, both through making French friends, and because of IES having a strict "en français s'il vous plaît" policy. It was a very encouraging atmosphere and I felt very comfortable speaking French and being taught how to speak better by making many mistakes. My host family was wonderful. They were some of the best people I've ever had the pleasure of meeting, let alone living with them in their house. I was immediately welcomed into their house as if I were actually part of their family, and they were wonderful in every way possible. Not to mention, I never spoke English with them, and my French drastically improved! The nightly dinners with my host family were simply magical -- I think that this is the memory that I will cherish the most from my study abroad experience. I also loved the way that I was able to learn about the French dining experience as a cultural phenomenon through a real French family. I tried my best to participate in the many cultural activities that were going on in Nantes, but it can be a bit intimidating at times. I was also looking forward to making more French friends, and while I did make a couple, it was hard to approach them in classes. That being said, the IES assistants did an amazing job of introducing us to various events going on in the city, and I did my best to attend every single one of them, which helped a great deal. The city had so much to offer!

What would you improve about this program?
The classes at the program could be slightly more rigorous, but again, I learned a great deal.
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Abby
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

What a semester...

There are only two words I can think of to describe my semester abroad in Nantes: absolutely wonderful. My main reason for selecting this program is that I wanted to immerse myself in the French language and improve my speaking skills as much as possible. From the website and what I'd heard from friends, the Nantes program seemed quite immersive and had everything I was looking for: a homestay component, courses taught in French and the option of taking courses at the local university. I learned so much while I was abroad. My French improved drastically, and I now have a lot more confidence in my own abilities. Since returning I've read entire books in French, and I can even watch Netflix shows in French as well (without subtitles). I would highly recommend this program to anyone who wants a truly difficult but rewarding language immersion program.

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Megan
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

If you're considering France, you should be considering Nantes!

IES Abroad changed my life. If you've read and other reviews of this program, you know that there is no better program for French immersion. Between the IES Nantes staff, the professors, the home stay families, and the friendly people of the city, if you're looking for the opportunity to improve your French in 4 or 8 months, this is definitely the place to do it. But this program is about so much more than immersion. It's about spending Sunday's eating a leisurely lunch in the garden, it's about weekend trips to the coast with your host family, it's about afternoon walks along the Erdre, it's about sharing a baguette with your friends on the Cour Cambronne, or enjoying a monaco and some alternative music at the Lieu Unique. There's so much to discover about yourself and Nantes through this program. I highly recommend IES Abroad Nantes if you're looking to truly experience all France and it's people have to offer.

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Rebecca
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

An incredible semester!

The IES Nantes program is perfect for someone wanting to become immersed in the French language and culture! I loved living in the city of Nantes. It was the perfect size with plenty of things to do and quickly felt like home. It is also a very walkable city, which I came to love. The home stay was one of my favorite aspects of the program and was definitely where I made the greatest strides in my language skills. I felt that the classes were very manageable and enjoyed the opportunity to take a class at the local university. I would highly recommend this program to anyone interested in improving their French!

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Conrad
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Nantes 2015

Nantes is a charming city in France, the 5th or 6th largest in the country. Not quite as big or bustling as Paris, but that makes it more accommodating for students studying abroad. The Nantes program is focused on French language learning and in that is a success, and you will thoroughly miss Nantes by the time you have to go.

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Amanda
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Wonderful!!!

When looking for a study abroad program in a French speaking country, I wanted to have a strong academic program, full cultural immersion, and a teaching internship. I was happy to find everything I wanted in the IES Study Abroad program in Nantes. Besides all these three that I was looking for, Nantes is a smaller city than Paris but still has enough to do during the semester. It was a perfect city for study abroad, definitely a plus for me.

What would you improve about this program?
I honestly don't think there is much to be improved. The staff was incredibly supportive. I am an international student already in the US and, honestly, I don't think you will get more support in a study abroad experience than the IES Nantes staff offered to my whole group during my semester abroad.