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 46 - 54 of 54
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Katie
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The road less traveled

Nantes is one of the most amazing cities I have ever been to. It's beautiful and full of so much culture. IES does a great job of helping students get to know the region through field trips and subsidizing events in the city. There is a lot of support from the staff and French teaching assistants and there are opportunities to get involved in the life of the French university through coursework and extracurricular activities.

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Anna
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

IES Nantes - amazing experience!

My time with IES Abroad was wonderful. I had a wonderful host family that I felt right at home with from the second I arrived. IES does a phenomenal job in placing you with families that will benefit you the most during your time abroad, and they make you feel comfortable. Taking classes with IES was also a great experience. The professors were extremely helpful, and I learned a lot in my time there. The IES center was also a wonderful place. If you had questions, there were a lot of staff members you could go to, and they always made sure that your time there was as exciting and beneficial as possible. There were always activities for these students to participate in, we went on numerous trips to different places in France, and got to know one another really well. There was never a dull moment with IES Nantes, and if I could do it over, I would definitely choose this program again.

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scmeslin
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I'm so grateful to have had the experiences I did!

I really loved my stay in Nantes. It is true what everyone says--when you're in Paris with an American accent, the French will start speaking to you in English; that is not the case in Nantes. English is not as widespread and so we were forced to speak French with the locals. The IES Center itself also had a French-only policy that was enforced, so even us Americans spoke to each other in French. I did have a bit of difficulty adjusting to the personality of my host family. They were more formal and less inviting than I hoped they would be, but it still ended up working fine. I loved seeing the "typically French" architecture of Nantes everyday, and having a wonderful public transportation system to get me around town (something I had to quickly learn!) My favorite parts of the IES program itself, however, was the family-atmosphere that was present among the group of us. I loved the excursions to other locations in France as well. I would definitely recommend this program!

What would you improve about this program?
I did feel that I could have had more contact with French students. Since I didn't take classes at the local university, there was not much opportunity to interact on a daily basis with French people other than the staff at IES and our host families.
Default avatar
Lizzy
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

IES Nantes is a family.

If you're looking to build a community of people who support you abroad, then IES Nantes is the program for you. I would say the value of this program is that you don't just build bonds with people from a variety of locations across the United States, you build strong relationships with French people. You'll have ties to your professors, your host family, and the staff at IES, along with their student assistants from the University of Nantes.

Also, if you are looking to really improve speaking skills, Nantes is the place to go. French is the only language spoken at the IES Center, so you get plenty of practice! Locals speak limited English, so you'll be on your own to navigate everyday situations in a foreign language. It is a challenge, but it is worthwhile, and by the end, you'll be glad you choose to go to Nantes.

What would you improve about this program?
While I built really strong connections with French families and adults, I wish I had met more French students. There were special events organized for this purpose, but I wound up spending that time with my host family instead.

I guess it is kind of a trade off. Either you have a program where you're a part of a family, or one where your friends are your age. If this program had just thrown me in to the University of Nantes with no support, I would have felt lost. But I also might have met more students.
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Kristin
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Oh La Loire

The 5 months I spent in Nantes, France were some of the best days of my life. The IES program has a great combination of fun and education. Our lives were not too packed with school work and the staff and professors were excited for us to know as much as possible about the city. The activities set up through the program to get to know French people were great for us to practice our speaking and to meet the natives. It's a great city and a great program.

What would you improve about this program?
It would have been helpful to know before going which classes specifically, were going to be offered.
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rabishai
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The study abroad experience you need!

My semester in Nantes was everything I ever dreamed studying abroad would be except it was a thousand times better. I always thought I would study in Paris but when I learned of the Nantes program, I realized it was the best choice for me. Nantes is the perfect size - not too big, not too small - so by the end of the semester I really felt like I had gotten to know all of Nantes well, something I don't think I would have felt after only a semester in Paris. Still, I never ran out of things to do. I really felt at home in Nantes and like I was living the life of a French student, not just a visitor trying to fit in. People in Nantes are so welcoming and very patient with non-native French speakers so everywhere you go in Nantes, you are getting great experience speaking French.

I think the biggest strength of the program is the homestay. I know that if I had lived in a dorm or apartments with other American students, I would have spoken so much English. Living with a family, though difficult in the beginning, was the single greatest thing I ever did for my French speaking abilities. The families that work with the IES program are all very experienced in hosting American students. They welcome the students into their homes and treat them like family. I was invited to my host brother's wedding while I was there. I know many other families took their students with them to their vacation homes during breaks.

Another wonderful thing provided by the IES program is the French assistants. Several French graduate students work for IES and plan events for the students in the program, run the conversation club, and hold office hours for help with homework. They are a great resource because they are also students so they give awesome recommendations for things to do and see in Nantes and how to be successful as a student in France.

Nantes is a beautiful city, full of so much culture and history and conveniently located for travel around France, especially to Paris and from there, the rest of Europe. It's a great place to spend quality time learning French in a non-threatening environment. I would feel so much more comfortable living and speaking French in Paris after my semester in Nantes. I have visited Paris several times and of course it is as incredible as everyone says it is but I am so glad I got to know another part of France and expand my knowledge of French culture and language in Nantes.

What would you improve about this program?
The one thing I would change is the fact that many IES classes were held on Friday and attendance was very important for your grade. I have heard some other study abroad programs don't have class on Friday to allow students flexibility when traveling on the weekends. Since I went in the fall, I didn't have the option of traveling for long after the semester because I had to be back for class at home during the first week of January. I was still able to travel on some weekends and during the breaks but I think it would have been easier and I could have done more if there were no classes on Friday.
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erozina
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

IES Nantes was the perfect choice for a semester abroad

I absolutely loved my semester in Nantes France. Nantes is really beautiful and very typically french. I really wanted to go somewhere where I could improve my french everyday and Nantes was perfect for that. I lived with a host family that was so welcoming and willing to help me practice. Having dinner with them every night really helped with my vocabulary and my comfort level with the language. I still keep in contact with them and know that I can visit them anytime I am back in France. IES Nantes also conducts a weekly conversation group where a lot of French students come to practice their english. The conversation group is great because so many people participate (americans and french) and it allows you the opportunity to make French friends. Me and my friends met a group of french students that we ended up hanging out with almost every weekend.

The IES staff is very helpful with everything and very caring. I felt completely comfortable coming to them with anything even if it was just to talk.

With all of the public transportation it is really easy to get around and pretty cheap too if you buy the student transportation pass. It is also very easy to travel around Europe from Nantes. It only takes 2 hours by train to get to Paris and the Charles de Gaulle airport.

Overall I had a wonderful experience in Nantes and would go back immediately if I could. You can't go wrong with IES Nantes.

What would you improve about this program?
My only problem with the program was that the first week was a little rushed. We only spent about 2 days with our host families before being rushed off to Tours for our overnight orientation. I wish we had had a little more time to settle in before leaving for the weekend. Orientation was a little exhausting with all of the activities but I think it helped keep my mind off of the initial homesickness until I really started to settle in to life in Nantes.
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Katie
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Do you want to BE French for the duration of your stay?

I chose Nantes because I wanted a smaller city than Paris where I wouldn't be overwhelmed by tourists, and I chose perfectly. IES is the only American study abroad program there that I know of, so I really learned how to speak French like a native!

My host family was definitely one of the best parts of my stay. We had dinner together every night as well as some lunches, and they included me in conversations and made me feel like a member of the family - I felt so welcome, and I still talk with my host sisters on Facebook over a year after my trip!

Nantes is small enough that you can find your way around fairly easily, but large enough that there is always something new. As president of my class, I found a lot of small concerts for us to go to, crêperies to visit, or festivals to attend. There was a kind of farmers' market every Saturday with homemade goods and homegrown vegetables and fruits, as well as clothes or toys to buy as souvenirs.

The public transportation system in Nantes was such a big help! The tram lines are pretty centrally located, and there are buses to go all over in between. I definitely wasn't used to that and it was awesome! It was kind of a pain applying for the student monthly pass, but it's worth it for the convenience once you have it.

Travel tip: if you plan on taking a lot of weekend trips, consider buying an SNCF carte pour 12-25 ans. It automatically gets you at least a 25% discount on TGV tickets, and sometimes as much as 60%! I think mine was around 50 Euro and it easily paid for itself within two tickets.

I hope your stay in France is as memorable as mine - make sure you take pictures because you will love looking back on them and reminiscing :)

What would you improve about this program?
The initial orientation was so much fun, but then everything in the first few weeks was so demanding and hectic. Buying a phone, a tram pass, OFI appointment, picking out classes, etc was a bit overwhelming. It did teach us more independence though, so it's not all bad.
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Jose
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Do it!

Get out of your comfort zone, learn the language you have been studying and reviewing for countless hours in class in the U.S. Where better than in the country of origin, France?

I highly recommend this program to anyone who is seeking to immerse themselves fully into French culture, life, and language.

On various matters:

Though the French in general are considered timid and sometimes unfriendly, it is up to you to immerse yourself and make friends. Go out of the way and meet people, go to social functions and public events. Throw yourself out there, what is the point of studying abroad than to get yourself out of your comfort zone.

I had the most amazing and inclusive host family ever! They conversed with me always and included me in their day to day activities as if I was one of the family. I went to mass with them and they invited me to their house in Brive-de-Gaillard in the center of France.

The administration was an excellent one, and I can say that having been the President of my class. I got to work with the administration to ensure that the program was going well and that the students smoothly transitioned into daily foreign life. A very accessible, organized, and friendly administration.

The program is an excellent one and it is very well structured