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 31 - 45 of 54
Default avatar
Emily
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

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.

Default avatar
Rachel
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

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!

Default avatar
Savannah
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

"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!

What would you improve about this program?
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.
Default avatar
Rebecca
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

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.

Read my full story
Default avatar
Olivia
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

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!

Default avatar
Jane
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

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.

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

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.

What would you improve about this program?
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.
Default avatar
AAndrus
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The Experience of a Lifetime

I absolutely loved my time in Nantes. The staff was friendly and helpful, I forged a lasting bond with my host family and made friends I will never forget. The city is so easy to get around in with the public transportation system. It is a charming city, big enough that something was always happening but small enough that I was able to get to know it well in just one semester. It was beautiful, and walkable.

What would you improve about this program?
The acedemic schedule is difficult. In the first part of the semester, there is absolutely know work and the last month is midterms, papers and finals. I wish they would spread the work out a bit more.
Default avatar
Taylor
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Putting It Into Words - The Hard Part

Nantes is a beautiful city and I think it's a great place to study abroad if your goal is to improve your language skills. While people do speak English to you on occasion, I found it to be true far less in Nantes than in other areas of France. Living in a host family is a key part of this program. The opportunity to take classes at the local university with actual French students and professors is possible; however, many choose to take all their classes within the program. While I think their curriculum is very helpful in improving your academic French (reading literature and writing essays/research papers) it's hard to improve your conversational French when the majority of people in the building are other Americans who speak French. Speaking French in the school is a requirement in the building but when you're speaking to people who you share a first language with in another language you can get them to understand your meaning through direct translation. So I felt I made most of my improvement in this area with my host family. A lot of the host families have been hosting students for years so they're very understanding and great. The staff members are always open to helping with any problems or misunderstandings that may arise between the students and host families. Overall, I think the experience was incredible and the friendships I made their will last a lifetime. A couple weeks back in the United States and I already can't wait to visit Nantes again!

Default avatar
Carly
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

A supportive program with wonderful immersion opportunities

When I first started planning my semester in France, I was convinced that I wanted to study abroad in Paris because, well-- it's Paris! Looking back on my experience now, I could not be happier that I chose Nantes instead. I truly believe that I gained so much more from living in a smaller city where English is not commonly spoken than I would have in a more international city like Paris. While I did enjoy a weekend trip to Paris, returning to Nantes felt like coming home.

What really stands out in my mind about the IES Nantes program is the opportunity it presents for complete immersion in the French language. All students are placed in a homestay with a French family, and many of these families have been hosting American students for years. While living with a host family can be a bit uncomfortable in the beginning, the adjustment process is just another part of the experience and is well worth the linguistic and cultural benefits of being part of a French family. The post-dinner conversations I had with my host mother were some of the best learning experiences for me as far as improving my speaking skills and gaining a better understanding of French culture. She even made me a little book filled with my favorite recipes of hers when I left at the end of the semester so I can try to replicate her wonderful cooking!

The IES Nantes center also has a French-only policy. All of the classes are taught in French and students are required to speak French when in the building and on IES excursions. One of the reasons I chose to study in France was that I wanted to really focus on improving my language skills, so this aspect of the Nantes program was wonderful. Unfortunately, not all of the students were so eager to speak exclusively French, so by the end of the program, almost everyone was speaking a lot of English, which was a bit disappointing for me. That being said, there were always opportunities to practice French, whether at the university, with locals, or with a host family.

IES also does an amazing job of creating a sense of community among its students and staff. The directors were so supportive and helpful and because it's a relatively small program, it's easy to get to know the other American students. I met some of the most wonderful people and I truly felt at home in the IES center. I absolutely recommend this program to anyone looking to study in France!

Default avatar
Clara
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Exactly what I was looking for

I chose IES Nantes because I was looking for a program with classes entirely in French, the option to enroll at the local university, homestays, and lots of extracurricular opportunities. I was not disappointed. All of the classes at the IES center in Nantes are taught in French by French professors, but they are used to teaching American students so the course structure and expectations somewhat more American. If you're looking for a challenge, it's easy to enroll in courses at the Université de Nantes. All IES Nantes students are housed in homestays, and I had a fantastic experience with my host family. We got really close, still keep in touch, and I'm looking forward to visiting them as soon as I can! Nantes also has a lot of opportunities to get involved in the community. I joined a couple of bands, but other students joined choirs, the Catholic student association, soccer clubs, etc. It was a fun, genuine way to meet other French students--and to work on my French! I had a great year and I'm really happy with my choice of program.

What would you improve about this program?
When I chose this program, I was hoping that because it was so French-intensive it would attract other students who were really focused on learning the language. That turned out not to be true. The IES Nantes staff make a huge effort to get people to speak French, but a lot of students just don't care, and would end the program speaking almost no more French than they had started with. That was my least favorite part of my experience, and unfortunately, there's only so much the program itself can do to entice students to actually speak French.
Default avatar
Monique
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Wonderful!

My semester in Nantes was one of my favorite semesters in undergrad. I made friends that I'm sure will last a life time, ate wonderful foods, and learned more than I imaged I would. I especially loved my internship teaching English to local elementary school students.

Default avatar
Steve
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

IES Nantes In The Time It Take To Drink Your Morning Coffee

Whenever people ask what defined my study abroad experience, I always answer, "the people." At IES Nantes I met some of the most interesting, adventurous, kind, and open-minded people I've ever known. The program ranges from 50-80 students a semester, so I connected with just about everyone over the course of four months. The staff worked extremely hard to foster a sense of community and culture for us, celebrating everyone's who had a birthday abroad and even the Teaching Assistants spent time with us outside of their paid hours. The IES building is located in the heart of downtown, just one block from the beautiful Place Graslin. We'd often just sit outside on the steps of the Opera house, people watching and munching on chocolate croissants (you can't go more than two blocks without seeing a bakery).
Many students, like myself, have to decide between the IES Paris program and IES Nantes. To these students, I say go to Nantes. Paris is stunning, but I visited towards the end of my semester abroad, when I was fairly proficient in French, but waiters, vendors, taxi drivers all hear your accent and it's easier for them to speak English. In Nantes, fewer people know English and it really helps to advance your French speaking skills. Plus, Paris is 3 hours away by Train; you can go every weekend if you want.

What would you improve about this program?
Things to know: It rains frequently in Nantes. Always carry an umbrella.
There is no Starbucks in Nantes, so to-go coffee is harder to come by though there are one or two shops.
The IES teaching internship is a worthwhile experience but it is very disorganized and you will pull your hair out over it occasionally. If you want to be an ESL teacher though, it's a must.
There is a citywide bike rental system called "Bicloo", which is similar to Citi bikes in New York. If you live close to the downtown area and don't mind exercise, I'd recommend buying a Bicloo card. It's 30 euros for a year, versus 30 euros/month for a bus pass.
Default avatar
Jack
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

A Wonderful, Immersive Study Abroad Experience

IES Nantes was a wonderful, immersive, and challenging way to spend an academic year abroad. The opportunity to take all of my classes at the university allowed me to meet some really great professors and make friends in the community, while the classes offered through IES were challenging without being overwhelming, and the professors were amazingly qualified.

Nantes is a fun place to live and study, and although it lacks the glamour of Paris, there is a vibrant arts scene and a lot of nature surrounding the city. It is a great place for running and water sports, concerts, and theater. Although it has almost a million inhabitants, Nantes can feel really cozy, and the Christmas markets and the centre ville in winter are reminiscent of a Hallmark film.

What would you improve about this program?
Nantes will challenge you academically and it will really stretch your language skills. There is no substitute for speaking French in Nantes.
Default avatar
Victoria
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Wonderful Experiences

I absolutely fell in love with Nantes. I enjoyed the little things ever so much along with enjoying my time at the center. The staff are very friendly and supportive of each student. IES does a great job with host family matching because I got to live with a family that is interested in similar things I am and I almost inspire to be like my host parents when I am older, working hard but a great social life. The locals are incredibly nice and helpful and will just randomly start a conversation with you. When I was at my bus stop, a woman asked by chance if I was american and we just started a conversation both in English and French and it was such a cool experience to talk with someone who came here and fell in love with the city just like I have. There is a lot of things to do and the social coordinator is incredibly awesome, she always has something planned. There really is never a dull moment in Nantes but for those who like downtime, there are plenty of spots and moments for that as well. Overall, I really enjoyed my experience here, and I really want to stay here.

What would you improve about this program?
I would like to change the amount of time I spent with IES students. IES likes to group us together and if you are not in a group, it's cliquey enough so someone would get left out. Besides, when we are together, we just speak English which is contrary to the French only speaking policy in the center. I would have really liked to immerse myself with the other French students but if you take all of your classes at IES, it is super difficult to meet French students your age, especially the ones at conversation club are obtaining their masters for the most part. I spend the most time speaking French and spending time with my host family but I am lucky enough to get along with them and if I ever have a question or concern, I can go to them for anything.