IES Abroad Nantes - French Immersion & Area Studies

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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.

Questions & Answers

Reviews

96%
based on 47 reviews
  • Academics 8.2
  • Support 9.6
  • Fun 9.7
  • Housing 9.2
  • Safety 9.5
Showing 16 - 30 of 47
Erin Steward
Erin
10/10

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.

How can this program be improved?
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.
Yes, I recommend
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Rosemary
10/10

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.

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

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!

How can this program be improved?
The classes at the program could be slightly more rigorous, but again, I learned a great deal.
Yes, I recommend
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Abby
8/10

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.

Yes, I recommend
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Megan
10/10

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.

Yes, I recommend
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Rebecca
10/10

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!

Yes, I recommend
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Conrad
9/10

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.

Yes, I recommend
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Amanda
10/10

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.

How can this program be improved?
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.
Yes, I recommend
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Emily
10/10

I left my heart in Nantes

IES Abroad Nantes gave me the opportunity of a lifetime. I improved my French both in the classroom and in everyday conversation through the challenging but enjoyable academics and host family living situation. Nantes became a second home to me as the semester continued, leaving me wishing to stay with my amazing host family, the supportive staff, and adventurous new friends. This program allows students to be fully immersed in the French culture through living with a host family, incorporating important lessons into orientation, and allowing students to meet other French students in Nantes. I cannot imagine having a better semester abroad In four short months, I was welcomed into not only a host family, but the entire IES Nantes family, who will always be dear to my heart. With an amazing city, filled with friendly citizens who want to speak French, you can't go wrong with IES Nantes.

Yes, I recommend
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Rachel
10/10

The Semester of a Lifetime

IES Abroad Nantes is the perfect program for anyone looking to be fully immersed in French language and culture. Every student lives with a French host family, which allows them to learn about French culture firsthand, and requires them to practice their language skills on a daily basis. I enjoyed trying all sorts of local foods and discussing the differences between typical American and French lifestyles with my family. The program also gives students the chance to study at both the IES Center and the local university in Nantes. I really appreciated having the opportunity to experience the French education system, and I especially enjoyed the opportunity to complete a teaching internship in the local schools. The internship was a very useful experience, and gave me a better idea of what kind of work I may want to pursue in the future. As well, the program is very well established (it had its 50th anniversary this spring), so health and safety measures are well developed, and the IES Center in Nantes provides a whole host of extracurricular activities that really enhanced my semester abroad. If you are like me and don't want to live in a city as massive as Paris but would like to study in France, take a look at IES Nantes!

Yes, I recommend
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Savannah
10/10

"Now I've Had the Time of My Life"

Borrowing the title from a song from the movie "Dirty Dancing" I think this is the most accurate way to describe my semester abroad. It was a incredible semester filled with new friends and lots of new experiences. From living with my French host family, to taking classes all in French, to getting to explore France everything about the IES Nantes program was incredible! I truly enjoyed my time and my French improved immensely. Nantes is an really fun city to live in and perfect for practicing French. The classes offered as well as the places you visit as part of the program really give you a good understanding of the French culture and way of life. Studying abroad in Nantes taught me so much and helped me to expand my world view and grow as a person and I would honestly recommend this program to anyone!

How can this program be improved?
The integration of the semester students with the full year students is not very strong and so this leads to a kind of separation of the two groups.
Yes, I recommend
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Rebecca
10/10

Best decision of my life

Participating in the IES Abroad Nantes program was the best decision of my life. Not only did my French improve immensely from the intense language immersion focus, but I also made lifelong friendships and connections with the program staff, participants, and my host family. Having a homestay was very important to me, and, as I had hoped for, it made my experience wonderful in just about every way. The staff at the IES Nantes center is amazing and they are willing to help with just about any problem one might have, whether big or small! I enjoyed all my classes through the IES Center, and was able to take a class at the local university, which extended my outlook on the French education system and my own personal experience. I highly recommend this program, especially if someone is looking for a chance to improve his/her French language skills and truly experience an authentic French lifestyle for four months. I wish I could have stayed forever, but I will certainly cherish my time in the beautiful city of Nantes with the best host family a girl could ask for, my whole life. It is my second home, and will always have a special place in my heart.

Yes, I recommend
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Olivia
10/10

My Second Home

I was extremely impressed with IES Study in Nantes and my stay there ended up being some of the best five months of my life. The program is very well organized and the staff is professional, enthusiastic, and truly cares about the students. They made it clear that they were there to help us and they were all very approachable. All of the assistants were great-our TA went out of her way to answer our questions and help with our homework assignments and we never had a lack of planned activities. We were provided with everything we needed both physically in the form of our school center and mentally in the form of information and preparation. They offered a nice variety of courses and one had the option of taking courses at the University of Nantes of they were so inclined. Both through my IES courses and my course at the university, I greatly improved my French and learned so much about their education system. The four fieldtrips that were included in the program were also well-organized, fun, and took us to places that we greatly enjoyed and probably would never have gotten to on our own. I personally absolutely loved my homestay. My host family and I got along so well! Not only did they make sure I had everything I needed, but they really cared about me and we enjoyed spending time together. They were very inclusive with me and by the end of the semester we were all so sad that I had to leave! We still keep in contact and plan to for years to come. There was no better way to learn the French language and culture than with my host family! I was lucky to go the semester that I did because I ended up with a wonderful group of peers. We all got along really well and making friends was never an issue! Nantes itself is a lovely city. I loved the fact that it is not tourist-y and so I got a real feel for French life. The city is a nice size, not overwhelming but plenty to explore. I also felt very safe in Nantes and in my host family’s neighborhood. With all of the wonderful experiences I had, I hardly felt homesick at all! I have nothing but positive things to say about my time in Nantes! Overall, my semester abroad through IES Study in Nantes was very educational and a great adventure! I was able to make Nantes my home away from home and hope that future students will have just as successful of a semester!

Yes, I recommend
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Jane
10/10

Looking for French Immersion? This is it.

If you are seeking a study abroad program to help improve your French language skills, IES Nantes is an excellent choice. It is an exceptionally well-organized program (they are very experienced and just celebrated their 50th anniversary!) with support staff who are always there to help. The city is a nice size--a big city but not so big that you encounter English speakers (read: NOT the touristy maze that you find in Paris). I loved my semester and was able to immerse myself in my host culture, but I also had the opportunity to travel extensively outside of France. The Spring semester students generally get two separate week-long breaks in addition to multiple three-day weekends. Take advantage! I would re-enroll in a heartbeat.

How can this program be improved?
There isn't anything specific that I can think of to be improved. I would have liked better weather in Nantes. ;)
Yes, I recommend
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Gail
9/10

Everything I hoped for (and more!)

IES Abroad Nantes is an amazing program! Specifically, the host families and the program/university classes are two things I will highlight that were a huge part of everyone's day-to-day experiences. The host families are your home base: they really do welcome you in with open arms (which is rather difficult when you think about it, inviting an almost complete stranger into your home!) and want to help you immerse into the French culture. Most nights, I had dinner with my host mom and it was the perfect opportunity for me to speak with her and for me, those dinners were the main reason for the improvement in my French communication skills. The program offers its own classes, but also allows you to take courses at the local universities. I split my course load between the program and the local university: at first, the classes at the local university were difficult, because the professors spoke rather quickly, but I got used to it after a few weeks (as most people did once our French improved) and began to enjoy taking classes that I would not have thought about taking at my home university!

One thing I wish I had done differently was I wish I had talked to more French students at the local university. From my own experiences and what I heard from previous students, it is rather difficult to speak to them, because it is intimidating trying to speak to a native French speaker with his or her friend group who have probably been friends for years. However, once you make a French friend, you become very close and have a bond that you might not have with friends at your home university.

How can this program be improved?
As many activities as there were to help us speak to French students, I wish I had more opportunities to speak to them one on one. We need to take the initiative, but the program should provide a stronger platform for us to meet with French students and connect with them one on one outside of the weekly conversation club.
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...