France: Pau - French Language and European Studies

Video and Photos

About

USAC welcomes students to come study abroad at the University of Pau in France! USAC's French and European Studies program gives students the opportunity to study in this small, charming city set against the magnificent Pyrenees.

Courses available at the University of Pau are taught in both English and French, and range from French language courses at all levels to multi-disciplinary options focusing on French studies. Professional Internships can also be arranged for students of at least Junior standing who have taken no less than 4 semesters of college level French or equivalent.

Highlights
  • Live in charming Pau, a lovely small city set against a stunning backdrop of the Pyrenees and with more green space per inhabitant than any other European city
  • Choose from courses in Intensive French plus a choice of electives
  • Enjoy field trips to the Pyrenees and the French Basque coast
  • Take the optional Paris/Loire Tour and soak up all the “City of Light” has to offer
  • Participate in sports activities such as skiing, hiking, yoga, dance and more

Preparing to Study Abroad in 2021

We are planning for 2020-21 programs to proceed abroad. Learn more about how we are preparing for our students to enjoy a safe and meaningful experience overseas. You can also find a variety of helpful COVID-19 resources for students and families.

Scholarships

USAC Scholarships
USAC Scholarships and Financial Aid

USAC awards over $2 million in scholarships and discounts each year to assist students with their study abroad expenses.

Value
$500 - $1,000

Questions & Answers

The exam is comprehensive, including essay, fill in the blank, and listening comprehension for the written section, and then there is typically an oral conversation component as well. You should review your most recent semester French coursework to be the most prepared. If you have further questions you can email us at studyabroad@usac.edu Thank you!

I had class Monday-Thursday from morning until evening (2 hours of class then 2 hours of break, etc.) and I travelled almost every weekend.

Reviews

9.26 Rating
based on 35 reviews
  • Academics 8.4
  • Support 8.9
  • Fun 8.7
  • Housing 8.5
  • Safety 9.3
Showing 1 - 8 of 35
Dayna
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Study Abroad Spring 2019

I studied abroad during spring semester of 2019 and absolutely loved my experience. I had been abroad before but this was my first international trip alone. Upon arriving I felt fully supported by my loving host mom, the USAC staff, and my professors. My favorite part about studying abroad with USAC were the field trips they took us on and the welcoming and knowledgeable staff who helped me with personal and academic challenges.
I am thankful I chose Pau and a home stay because my french skills improved exponentially, I felt like I really got to experience French culture rather than a melting pot of cultures like Paris, and I was easily able to make french friends at the university to practice speaking with. I also participated in sports and had the opportunity to learn how to Rock Climb on an amazing wall with lots of difficult courses, went skiing in the Pyrenees, and went hiking.

What would you improve about this program?
I really enjoyed everything about this program, perhaps would change the class schedules though because sometimes the two hour blocked classes were difficult to sit through
Default avatar
Emily
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Great program, location and value

I went abroad with USAC after being recommended the program by my advisor at my home university since I really wanted to study in the southern region of France and my school didn't really have any programs there. The cost was very reasonable, comparable to in-state tuition and included housing and organized excursions. The on-site program directors really helped navigate the university in a way that might have been difficult with just a direct exchange. I loved the opportunity to do a homestay and enjoyed the program-led excursions that I would not have done on my own, especially the guided tour in Paris before arriving in Pau. I highly recommend USAC for a study abroad program!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Immerse yourself with locals to improve your language!
Default avatar
Avery
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

A life-changing experience

This was my second study abroad in France, the first was through my home university. USAC’s program was amazing!! They placed me with an incredible host family and planned SO many activities for us that were included in the cost, like hiking in the Pyrénées, river rafting, going to the zoo, and going to Bayonne/Biarritz. My classes were challenging and I learned so much, combined with living with my host family. I also really enjoyed the field trips-I took the art history class, and we went to some cathedrals and museums to incorporate what we were learning in class, which was a great way to see the city as well!I highly recommend this program!! I would say though that Pau is a very small city with not a lot of nightlife/shops open later in the evening so just keep that in mind.

What was your funniest moment?
Going river rafting and competing with the other teams/watching them fall into the river 😂
Default avatar
Abigail
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

A Treasured Life Experience

I studied abroad in Pau, France with the USAC program. The start to the semester was nerve wracking as there were many technical difficulties with sorting out the wifi, heating, and phone plans as well as class schedules. However, after the first three weeks things inevitably sorted themselves out. I loved making friends with classmates from around the world as well as with the fellow Americans in the program who came from all around the States. The language program was challenging but not overly so. The immersion in class made a world of difference to everyone's writing and speaking skills and the professors were truly lovely people. There were several opportunities to meet with French students from the University but there was nowhere near as much immersion in that regard as I had expected. In addition, I wished it were easier to get assigned a French tutor. Other than that, however, I would say the program was fairly well run. There was plenty of time out of class to explore the small city, go shopping and eat out with friends. Traveling to the coast nearby or to other places in Europe via Ouibus was convenient, affordable and a lot of fun. Overall, I was able to achieve my goals to travel, get better at French, meet people from around the world, and gain more confidence in myself through the many unexpected challenges.

What would you improve about this program?
I wished it were easier to get assigned a French tutor. And that the USAC staff were more helpful at the beginning of the semester with getting wifi and heating set up in the apartments.
Default avatar
Hannah
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I loved my experience in Pau!

Pau is a great city to study abroad in--not too big that you feel overwhelmed, but big enough that there is always something new to do! USAC on-site staff were always available to answer any questions. Their office was always open, and students were constantly stopping by to chat. Pau has such a unique variety of restaurants and bars that you'll never get bored! And it has a train station close to the city center making traveling around Europe really convenient! USAC sponsored several trips for us to see the surrounding cities and countries. We traveled to the Pays-Basque Regio, Spain, and Bordeaux! There is also an option to take a trip to Paris before the program starts, which I highly recommend doing! Pau also have a unique history as it has its own castle that you can tour.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
There is a week break in the fall and spring for school. I highly recommend using the break to travel around Europe as much as possible! If you're brave enough, I recommend a solo trip!
Default avatar
Hannah
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Cultural immersion !

Pau is the perfect city for cultural immersion. It is small enough to get to know locals while being big enough to have lots to explore. Also, it is situated next to the Basque region which has a very unique culture! The program includes fun excursions. However, if you are looking to travel to major European cities it is expensive to travel in and out of Pau because the airport is so small. But if you’re looking to stay in the south west, Bordeaux and Toulouse are easy to get to! As well as coastal cities like Biarritz and San-Sebastián. The courses through USAC were extremely easy, so don’t plan on having too much homework or needing to study often. Lastly, the weather was amazing in the fall up until early November which made it easy to explore the outdoor activities Pau has to offer.

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
Become a regular at bars and restaurants to meet local friends!
Default avatar
Quinnlan
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Cute and cozy town with a run down university

I had the wonderful experience of studying in Pau, France. This city may be small but it is full of many things to do and see! From the Boulevard de Pyrenees, white water rafting, the Tour de France tribute, city center which holds many concerts, festivals, markets, and more, along with being perfectly situated right next to Spain and many popular tourist areas in the south of France! I can proudly say my French has improved greatly since I first arrived on campus, but I do have to admit that the campus is very old and is very behind technology wise. Although the city of Pau is quite beautiful with its palm trees and stone walkways, the campus is full of weeds and the buildings are old and don't even have air conditioning or fans (which I learned is the case in most buildings and homes in France!). Also, I was put under the impression that no one in Pau speaks English, which is far from the truth. Almost every single person I talked to knew at least a few words in English and could get by with it if you were confused. On another note, I am an avid hiker and was also told that Pau is very close to the Pyrenees. Although Pau may be an hour's drive from the nearest point of the Mountains, this is only by car. Only being able to use public transportation, it is pretty much impossible to get to the mountains by yourself. I am happy to say that the university offers a hiking course that I was able to sign up for that drove students to the mountains for about a 15 euro fee. At the end of the day, Pau is a great place to spend your time studying abroad and being put into a French atmosphere with friendly people!

What would you improve about this program?
The university definitely needs some updating! The coursework was great, but the buildings and campus itself were subpar.
Default avatar
Kylie
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Pau, France

Pau is a wonderful little city—it’s not a rural village or a big city, but a great middle ground of the two. It’s a great place to study as the academics are intense but fun, and it’s also a central area from which you can travel to multiple areas: for example, Bordeaux, Toulouse, Biarritz, St Jean de Luz, Lourdes, the Pyrenees and multiple cities in Spain are all within three hours of Pau. The Pyrenees offer incredible views and beautiful areas which are all accessible in Pau. For travel, however, you have to really figure out the public transportation system. It is fairly cheap, but because it is run by the government, it can be subject to strikes or delays with no notice; however, overall it was still an effective way to get around. Pau itself is a quiet city, so I wouldn’t recommend it if you want to go clubbing every night. But if you want to learn the French language, make great friends, explore the world or just live abroad for a semester, I would definitely recommend Pau.

What would you improve about this program?
No improvements necessary, the program is great.