Located by the Mediterranean Sea in southern France, Montpellier is the country’s seventh largest city and a major center of higher education. With its large universities, temperate climate, and convenient location between Spain and Italy, Montpellier can be an ideal choice for studying abroad in France.
By enrolling directly in one of Montpellier’s universities, you’ll be taking classes with the school’s regular students. This immersive experience, which requires strong French skills, is likely to be less expensive than enrolling through a third-party program. Apply directly to Paul Valéry University, the University of Montpellier, or another institution of your choice.
Many universities participate in exchange programs that allow you to study in Montpellier for a semester, summer, or year. These programs provide an excellent opportunity to beef up your French skills and experience local culture -- often as part of a group from your home university. The exchange program may include classes in English that are designed for study abroad students.
Third-Party Study Abroad Programs
Third-party programs are run by nonprofit or for-profit organizations that provide study abroad opportunities. Much like a study abroad office at a university, these organizations will help you navigate the process, including visa applications and course enrollment. If your school doesn’t have an exchange program, consider studying in Montpellier with a third-party program if you don’t have the French language skills to enroll directly or you’d like to be part of an organized program with other foreign students.
Montpellier is a popular place to learn French or to take your French to the next level with immersive study. This medieval city is also an excellent setting to study French culture and history. The Languedoc region surrounding Montpellier is a major wine producer, making it an attractive location for students who are interested in vinification (winemaking). Nearby Provence is also known for its gastronomy and agriculture. Given its proximity to Spain and Italy, Montpellier can also be convenient for students focusing on European studies who may wish to explore other countries while abroad.
The two largest universities in Montpellier -- and the most popular for foreign students -- are Paul Valéry University (known as UPVM or Montpellier III) and the University of Montpellier (formed by a merger of the University of Montpellier 1 and University of Montpellier 2). Paul Valéry University is known for the arts, languages, and social sciences, while the University of Montpellier is strong in the sciences, including medicine, as well as business and law. Other specialized institutions have study abroad programs as well. This includes the Montpellier Business School, a “grande ecole” that partners with more than 150 universities around the world for its foreign exchange program.
Being in France provides an opportunity for language immersion and daily practice, whether in a formal class or at a local café. Depending on the program you choose, French language skills may not be required, though they can definitely be helpful.
Many study abroad programs include a language component, allowing you to learn the language while you’re there. This is certainly the case with exchange programs and third-party study abroad programs in Montpellier. Check on your individual program or institution to see if French skills are required. French classes may be offered as an option or as a mandatory component of your program.
You can also enroll in a French language class outside of your program or institution. In Montpellier, schools like Accent Francais, LSF Montpellier, Alliance Francais, and Ecole Klesse offer French classes year-round. Plus, your Montpellier campus or study abroad program may have language exchange groups with other students