• France
Academic Year, Fall, Spring, Summer
Subject Areas
European Studies Linguistics
Need-based funding, Merit-based funding, General grants/scholarships
Health & Safety

Program Details

Program Type
Degree Level
Host Family
Oct 04, 2023
Oct 17, 2023
20 travelers are looking at this program

About Program

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.

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Diversity & Inclusion

LGBTQIA+ Support

There are LGBTQIA+ friends, colleagues, and allies throughout the world. However, cultural understanding of gender identity and sexuality does vary from country to country. USAC has compiled a lot of resources to help you through that learning process.

Accessibility Support

USAC is dedicated to working closely with students with disabilities to ensure the best study abroad experience possible. You may request reasonable accommodations after your initial application is complete. We routinely receive requests for scheduling, material, and environmental accommodations for the classroom setting, which may include assistive technology, scribes and readers, printed material, and interpretation.



Environmentally-conscious students choose USAC because many of our programs are held in some of the most sustainable countries in the world. There are options to take coursework in sustainability and the environment, as well as field trips and studies where students can leave a lasting impact on their host country.

Program 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


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USAC Scholarships and Financial Aid

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

$500 - $5,000

Program Dates

Application Deadline
Program Dates

Program Reviews

4.81 Rating
based on 42 reviews
  • 5 rating 83.33%
  • 4 rating 14.29%
  • 3 rating 2.38%
  • 2 rating 0%
  • 1 rating 0%
  • Academics 4.4
  • Support 4.65
  • Fun 4.65
  • Housing 4.45
  • Safety 4.8
Showing 1 - 8 of 42 reviews
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Summer in France!

My summer spent in Pau was truly unforgettable! I made amazing friends, got to practice my French, immersed myself in French culture, and spent the afternoons strolling down boulevards with spectacular views of the castle. We explored the region in many of my classes, and Pau offered easy access to transportation to set out on adventures of our own. It has all the charm of a small town, while still offering plenty of larger city amenities. There's lots of fun dining options, theaters, parks, museums, and shops, as well as gorgeous views of the Pyrenees Mountains. Studying abroad certainly calls for its fair share of going out of your comfort zone, but my professors, the administrators, and my friends were a great support system along the way. Despite some culture differences, Pau felt safe to be out and about, even at night. I’m so excited to bring my friends and family back to Pau one day!

  • Small town feel with lots to do in the city
  • Met amazing people
  • Easy access to transportation out of town
  • University itself is a little tired
  • Buses end at 11pm on the weekends
9 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Best Cultural Experience Ever!

I absolutely adored my time abroad with USAC! I studied abroad in Fall 2022 in Pau, France where I took French language classes to improve my French. I embraced a new passion for the French language through the devotion of my international classmates and French teachers. In addition, I immersed myself in the French culture by taking various opportunities offered by the program to interact with the community. I excelled in meeting new people, learning new ideas, and seeing new cultures. My experience abroad has made me confident enough to move to France permanently!

  • Ease of Travel
  • Great Community Support
  • Amazing Teachers
  • Not as Many School Organizations
16 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

A time of enormous growth and unbounded freedom

You know that pull to grow. It's uncomfortable and scary and exhilarating. You start to feel it as soon as the thought comes into your head-- what if I said yes? Yes to attending an event where you don't know anyone well. Yes to applying for a job that you really want. Yes to jumping off a bridge into water. Yes to ANYTHING where you risk to fall or fail. I applied to many USAC programs before France. It was during the pandemic, so I fell and failed every time. A year passed and I was about to give up on my dream of studying abroad. But then I looked at the France program and I felt a pull. I had studied Spanish, not French. And now I was about to graduate. It didn't make any sense. But what if I tried one more time... When I received the admission notification, I said yes.

Two semesters as part of this program changed me more than the past four years of university ever had. There is no equivalent in terms of cultural, social, emotional, and intellectual growth to being plunged into a foreign country. You simply have no choice but to grow into the enormous space that has opened up around you full of new sights and sounds and smells that you never could have imagined. There is nothing familiar around you to make you feel safe. But there is also nothing familiar around you to tell you who you are or what you are capable of. This is the potential of freedom. You can be who you have always been scared to be because there are no longer any limits. You can say yes to everything. Yes to speaking a language you're not fluent in. Yes to activities and course subjects you never would have tried before. Yes to field trips to cities you've never heard of. Yes to starting conversations, yes to being confident in the face of the fear.

Of course this is not to say that you really are alone. The Pau, France program is impressively supportive. The on-site staff are kind and deeply invested in the personal development of each student who comes. You will never feel unsafe or unsure of what to do next. But the experience is yours, and whether you want to focus on the culture and language of france, the bonds of new and profound friendships with interesting people from all backgrounds, or your own growth as a competent and open-minded traveler and observer of the world, you will walk away from this program with all three. The world is waiting. Oh, and don't forget to bring good walking shoes.

  • Program support
  • Diversity of activities
  • Academics and language courses
28 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Com-Pau-letely Amazing!

The onboarding process was so fatiguing and draining that by the end I was not optimistic for my abroad experience, but it was SO worth it!! I loved my host family and they made me feel so welcomed in France, Pau, and their home! I made a lot of really close friends that I miss so much and text or call every day. I loved how the uni classes were structured (and the coffee vending machine in the fac). I volunteered at a French high school, took a rock climbing class, went on a ski day trip with the uni, and made a podcast for the campus radio! Not to mention Pau's proximity to the mountains, the ocean, Spain, Basque country, Toulouse, and Bordeaux. And my heart. I still miss the rock lizards, the tulips, and the daily view of the Pyrenees.

  • Gorgeous view, very beautiful nature, easy access hiking and skiing
  • Amazing public transport and walkable city, easy to travel to other cities and towns too.
  • Few people speak English so there are endless opportunities to practice French!
  • The pre-study abroad process was long, frustrating, confusing, and anxiety-inducing.
  • Pau is a small city. If nature's not your thing or you want a vibrant and diverse night life, try a bigger city.
34 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

The best four months of my life!

Last semester, in the fall of 2022, I had the amazing experience of studying abroad in Pau, France. I studied the French language as well as the history of art. All of my classes were conducted solely in French. My class contained students from all around the world and our common language was not English, but French. Being fully immersed in the French language and culture excelled my language skills and I now feel confident living in the country and speaking the language. In addition to my studies, I had the opportunity to visit countries I had not visited before. For example, my study abroad program arranged a trip to San Sebastian, Spain for the students. During our fall break, a few students and I organized a trip to Brussels and Amsterdam. Being able to travel around Europe while studying French as well as art history was a dream come true. I lived with an amazing host family that took me in as if I was truly a part of their family. This made the culture shock much easier to handle and gave me a sense of safety while living in a foreign country. Overall, this study abroad experience positively changed my life and has equipped me with skills I would not have acquired anywhere else.

  • Immersive
  • Safe
  • Amazing
36 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

USAC Pau: Once in a lifetime

Bonjour! My experience in Pau was amazing! Arriving in France we were immediately greeted by some of the nicest people I've ever met. Magali and Robina were amazing program directors who were ready at the drop of a hat to help us in any way. We were immediately moved into our apartment complexes and our friends who were doing homestay went to their houses. It was such an incredible experience to be independent in a foreign country. I loved how easily accessible everything was especially through public transportation which is leaps and bounds ahead of the US. I enjoyed going to class every day which was fully immersive and I learned so much I made lifelong friends there who I still keep in contact with even though we're thousands of miles apart. The city itself was breathtaking. The Chateau, the parks, museums, clubs, restaurants and shops were amazing. I am anxious to visit again. Although the heat wave posed some issues for travel, the weather was overall pleasant, and it made traveling through the Pyrenees such a memorable experience. I loved visiting the Basque country and getting to know all the locals, they were such unique and kind people. Pau was truly the time of my life. Everyday since I’ve come back to the US, I long to return to the Béarn region. Because of my time in Pau, I have decided to apply to the TAPIF program to teach English in france. I really hope I get accepted. And if I could somehow teach in Pau, that would be a dream come true. Thank you so much USAC for this opportunity!

  • Gorgeous geography. The Pyrenees cannot be beat. I could see Pic du Midi d'Ossau from my room.
  • Location is everything. Bordeaux, Toulouse, Lac de Gaube, Spain, everything is so close.
  • Size. Not all the hustle and bustle of Paris. Get to experience true French culture.
  • Limited English access. If you're not comfortable with your French skills be warned. It's not like Paris where everyone speaks English.
  • Train station. The people at the train station were rude and the actual building itself is a bit rundown and sketchy.
46 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Pau is a great place to learn French and explore Southwestern France

Pau is a fun city to learn French. The staff in the USAC program and University of Pau are all awesome and the people in Pau are nice and generally patient with imperfect French. I stayed for a month in summer session 2 with a host family who were lovely and definitely improved my conversational French speaking and listening. Pau is in a great location to travel to Northern Spain or the French coast on weekends (about 2 hours and you can usually find a cheap train or bus ticket) and I had great trips every weekend. There is not as much to do as I would have liked in the actual city during the week after classes, but we had fun trying new restaurants and bars and saved most of the activities for weekends. USAC plans some excursions, and they were all great and gave me experiences I definitely would not have planned on my own.

  • great location for weekend travel
  • kind community
  • got to meet and take class with other foreign students from other countries
  • not a lot to do in the city itself
  • some of my friends had negative experiences with host families
55 people found this review helpful.
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
126 people found this review helpful.

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.