USAC France: Pau
93% Rating
(23 Reviews)

USAC France: Pau

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.

  • 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
Program Type
Subject Areas
European Studies
International Business
Academic Year
Host Family
Online Application
Visa Requirement
Other Locations

Questions & Answers

Program Reviews

based on 23 reviews
  • Academics 8.3
  • Support 8.7
  • Fun 8.5
  • Housing 8.1
  • Safety 9.2
Showing 16 - 23 of 23
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A semester in Pau

I would recommend going to Pau if you want to study abroad in a non-touristy city where you get a real and authentic experience in French language and culture. I stayed with a host family, which made my experience even better. The USAC staff is incredible and really made sure we felt comfortable. Pau is also very close to Spain which makes a fun weekend trip!

Yes, I recommend
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Pau is like a home away from home and provides culture, comfort and fun.

In any study abroad experience, there are at least a million favorite memories. But, some things that I carried back with me are the many friends I made when I was gone- Americans and foreigners. USAC does a wonderful job of creating programs that allow students to travel a lot. I fell in love with about 10 different cities. One of my favorite memories was the day I realized I could live in any one of the places I visited. Finally, the thing I miss the most was having a daily routine of my life abroad. Being gone for the year allowed me to really get comfortable with Pau. Establishing a routine and getting comfortable with my new life was my favorite part. The obvious benefit to studying abroad is that I now have a solid foundation of French. Being abroad anywhere can teach a lot, but something that stuck out for me was my ability to be flexible. It was difficult at times having to adjust to something that was unfamiliar or bizarre. It would be difficult not always being able to communicate and sometimes there was straight frustration and anger with the whole situation. Small cultural differences can prove to be the biggest difficulties when studying abroad. Those moments were important though because it taught me flexibility and patience.

How can this program be improved?

I would have really liked to have more of a background about the classes we would be taking. I realize that there is no perfect system for informing students about the classes they will be taking or the format. However, had a known about the basics of the class, I think I would have been able to prepare better.

Yes, I recommend
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My adventures in Pau

Living in Pau was one of the most wonderful experiences in my life. I was able to try different foods and wines and immerse myself in French culture. One of the most memorable experiences for me was the nights of Carnaval in Pau. It is like no other event in the world. There are traditions in this Carnaval where men dress as women and women dress and hunters. The women are dressed as hunters to chase down people who are in bear costumes and are hunting the men dressed as women. This night was an amazing night where everyone watched and ran from the bears providing for a "different" kind of excitement only those who have gone to Pau would understand the partying that goes on in this little town during Carnaval. The week of Carnaval is something you cannot miss out if you visit Pau in the spring.

If I talk about the fun moments in Pau I also must highlight the cross cultural differences between France and the United States that we would never think about. Most of my experiences are funny moments that at first I did not understand but now I laugh over. An example would be when I first arrived to France and was just adjusting to the time difference and I was running late to school. On this day I did not have time to eat at my host parents' house so I ran out eating an apple on my walk to school. As I walked to school people stared at me and I did not know why. It was not until I asked my host mom why people stared at me she told me and I quote "Claudia, tu n'est pas en États-Unis" meaning Claudia you are not in America, in France people do not eat while they walk they only eat if they are sitting at a table. For me this was strange but now it is funny to remember people's reactions to me eating an apple it was --PRICELESS.

Now when it comes to the educational aspect the USAC Pau program is a very well organized and provides students with everything you need. The resident director Robina and assistant director Ryan are awesome people who you can joke around with and give good tips about things to do and places to go not only in Pau but around France, and Europe. The classes were provided in both French and English depending on the level of proficiency. There were elective courses such as the Government and Politics of France that fit well with my major in International Relations. They also offered other courses but mostly the focus of this study abroad program are intensive language courses to improve students level of French rather than pure electives. Classes are small and teachers are very helpful but strict as well so do not think you can just slack off either.

How can this program be improved?

Try to stay for a full year in Pau I really recommend it because a semester is just not enough. I loved everything in Pau, but there are somethings to get used to like everything closing at 7pm so no late night grocery shopping if you forgot something.

Also on a side not for girls, do not wear sweat pants or any active gear that you think is "cute" and wore back at your home university because in France that is a major "faux pas"!! Women in France are always dressed to impress.

Yes, I recommend
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Pau is the Place to Go!

If you're thinking about doing this program, I have two words - DO IT! My time in Pau was seriously the best 4 months of my life. My host family was amazing, perfectly picked for me. We got along great and I really felt like I was a part of their family. I was able to see what real French life is like, and my language skills improved so quickly. Classes with USAC are good quality and fun, but not overly work heavy, so you have time to travel and enjoy your time abroad. I got to see a lot of really cool places, through both personal travel and USAC and Université field trips. Not many people know where Pau is, but I ended up loving the city and region. I only have one complaint: I had to leave after only 4 months!

How can this program be improved?

I would stay longer.

Yes, I recommend
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AMAZING! Go, go, go!

I had the best host family. I had the best teachers and the best USAC staff helping me the entire time. I met amazing people, who I am still in contact with, and I saw places, sites and art I had only read about. I recommend going abroad in the first place, but I recommend Pau if you're looking for an authentic French experience. I walked to a local bakery every morning with my host father so we could buy the bread for breakfast. I played with the small hedgehogs that were in my host father's garden while he pulled mint for our tea later. I took a bus to school every day and had a 20 minutes coffee break every two hours.
This place is drenched in culture and history. King Henry IV's castle is a 10 minute walk from the university and a two minutes walk from the center of town. There's parks everywhere you look and a French language to be learned.

Bring your walking shoes!

How can this program be improved?

Seriously, I wish I stayed longer. Maybe I'm just lucky, but I excelled in the language, the resident directors, Robina and Ryan, are always there and welcoming, and I had the best host family in the world. They help you set everything up and the classes are actually fun.

Yes, I recommend
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An authentic French experience

I learned so much French during my semester! I made friends with locals, international students, and other Americans; all of whom i still keep in contact with. I was able to travel all over Europe. I feel like i got exceptional value for what i paid.

How can this program be improved?

Stayed longer

Yes, I recommend
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Amazing summer spent in Pau

The professors were wonderful and made sure that we received the best possible learning experience. The staff abroad was wonderful and extremely helpful. They took us on amazing field trips to places that most tourists do not get the chance to see. I met many friends and it was the most wonderful summer I have ever experienced!

Yes, I recommend
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Small Study Abroad

I ended up being really disappointed with the program in Pau for a number of reasons. I was looking for an authentic French experience, but I never dreamed it would be the dreary life I was presented with. I felt the program had really misrepresented the size and style of Pau and I was shocked at how small it really was once I got there. It rained every day, and with a 40 minute walk into the "center" of town, many days I was stuck inside my apartment alone. People in Pau were very closed off and cold, as one can expect from the French, but Pau held a different degree of small town hostility. There were little to no forms of entertainment outside of movies and travel, but travel was very expensive and inconvenient due to Pau's location and size. A lot of students who had different interests loved it, but if you're looking for a life changing experience abroad then this is not the program for you.

No, I don't recommend

About USAC

USAC is a non-profit consortium of U.S. universities that collaborates to offer affordable, academic and authentic study abroad programs. There are abundant opportunities to immerse in the culture, history, and academics of other countries providing...