France: Lyon - French Language, Art History, and Francophone Studies

Video and Photos

River Cruise
River Cruise
Rhône River
Rhône River
Saône River
Saône River
Tourist Shenanigans
Tourist Shenanigans
Laughter beside La Tour Eiffel
Laughter beside La Tour Eiffel
Place des Jacobins in Lyon.
Lyon City Tour
Lyon City Tour
Join USAC Lyon on a field trip to the Alps.
Join USAC Lyon on a field trip to the Alps.

About

Lyon is one of the most attractive cities in France, creating a fresh combination of the bustle of a large European city and the simplicity of French tradition. The Lyon semester and yearlong program offers an intensive language approach at L’Université Lumière Lyon 2, where you will be able to earn up to 12 credits of French in one semester. Depending upon your language level, you will choose electives in culture, political science, cinema, economics, or literature taught specifically for USAC students. The University itself also offers the opportunity to enroll in courses with French students, taught in either English or French.

Highlights
  • Live in France’s third-largest city, home to an international mix of people and architecture from over two millennia
  • Study intensive French language, from Second-Year French and up, and an array of electives taught in both French and English
  • Enjoy field trips to the French Alps and Bourgogne
  • Take the optional tour through Provence including visits to Orange, Avignon, Arles and the Mediterranean coast
  • Walk or bike along the banks of the scenic Rhône and Saône rivers; take weekend trips to ski or snowboard in the French Alps; enjoy some of Lyon’s famous home-style cooking; explore shops and make international friends

USAC and COVID-19 Updates

For updates related to COVID-19 and USAC programs, please visit our website.

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

Hi Emily, 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!

Reviews

93%
based on 13 reviews
  • Academics 7.3
  • Support 9
  • Fun 8.9
  • Housing 8.5
  • Safety 8.7
Showing 1 - 8 of 13
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Jaime
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Lyon in Fall 2018

My semester was incredible and I had so much fun studying abroad. I was able to see so much of not only a France but all of Europe for a decently affordable price. I enjoyed the freedom of staying in a dorm, but those who lived with host families had an even more enhanced experience and I feel like it’s a better way to learn the culture and language. Classes were difficult to get used to at first, but I really loved most of my professors and I learned so much. I wish I tried a little harder to meet other French students on campus, but I definitely made great friends with people in my program. The excursions organized by USAC were some of the highlights of my semester and I always felt safe and supported. If you can, definitely go on the optional tour at the beginning of the semester! It is totally worth it.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Don’t be nervous to speak the language to locals. Most everyone will speak English, but they appreciate it more if you make an effort to communicate with them in French. Also, have an open mind! Consider the cultural differences and don’t judge people if they don’t act in ways you’re used to.
Default avatar
Winter
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

A once in a lifetime opportunity!

Studying abroad in general is something that I feel like everyone should do if they have the opportunity! I learned so much about myself as a person, and I also grew substantially in the 5 months I was in Lyon. I learned more about the world and the role that I hope to play in it in the future. I also got to see things that I may have never had to opportunity to see otherwise. I am one of the first people in my family to actually leave the country and travel over seas.
I think the best part of my experience was living with host family. They were some of the nicest people I have ever met, and they took me in, and treated me as though I was their own child. My host mom also made the best food, which I now miss very much being back home in the US. Lastly, it was the best thing I could have done in order to expand my knowledge of the French language. It is nice to know that should I ever need it, I have the ability to at least get through a simple conversation with someone who speaks French.

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
The scariest thing for me about studying abroad was traveling alone. For my Spring Break, I wanted to go to Spain and Italy, but most of my friends who I was studying in Lyon with had already been there, so they didn't want to go back. Therefore, if I really wanted to go that bad, I had to travel by myself. I was really nervous that I would be abducted, or that I wouldn't be able to figure out how to travel from one place to another, or use the public transportation system in those two countries. But, I told myself this is your one chance to go to these places, so I just told myself that nothing bad would happen and I went for it. In the end everything turned out fine. I wasn't kidnapped or abducted. I didn't miss any flights, or trains, and it ended up being my favorite week of my time abroad. I got to do and see everything that I wanted, without having others holding me back. I would highly recommend solo-traveling for anyone who is abroad, or traveling in general.
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Alexa
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

My Personal Experience

How I wish I could go back right this moment. I don't even know where to start in terms of giving this program and this city a positive review. The city of Lyon is absolutely beautiful and unique. There is a wonderful community of people. On any sunny day, the Lyonnais took to the parks and really any grassy area. The USAC members were very helpful and gave us all ease of mind when going to a foreign country. This was my first time out of the United States, and having them around made me feel more comfortable about everything. The people I met in my classes and outside of my classes were memorable. You learn so much about various cultures throughout the world. Overall, it was an absolutely amazing experience that I will continue to cherish.

What was the most unfamiliar thing you ate?
I did not realize that the word "cru" meant raw. So, I unknowingly ordered tartare, which was basically raw meat with a sauce drizzled over it. It's a popular dish in France, but I was so clueless and unprepared. I ate half of it and had to stop.
Read my full story
Ronald
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

USAC Lyon - Summer 2018

The staff in Lyon was amazing, for they always helped us out with anything we needed help with and encouraged us to get involved with the community especially with the World Cup going on and a lot of summer related activities. The trip to Annecy, France was amazing as well. My favorite part of the program was the optional tour of Paris for the first week of the summer program. The courses were structured more to focus on making communication in French. It was just a unique set up having classes that had projects to encourage communication as opposed to just receiving a textbook. Lyon is a beautiful town with a lot of culture, food, and activities to get involved in. It's also easy to take trips from Lyon to Geneva, Marseilles, and the northwestern areas of Italy. I highly recommend if you go on a summer program to Lyon that you do two sessions instead of one!

What would you improve about this program?
A better explanation of the courses' structure through the host university prior to arrival. Along with this, I think more opportunities to have group meals and group activities with everyone in the USAC group would be beneficial.
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Jenna
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

My Home

I studied in Lyon for the 2017-2018 academic year, and I wish I never had to leave. My experience was unique in that I was a year long student so I was able to make longer lasting connection to the city and people. It was a learning experience getting use to the different university environment, in that, most classes were two hours long and the learning curriculum was different. After the adjustment period, I loved learning the language with other international students in the CIEF program. By going with USAC, it provided a support system that you wouldn't have had otherwise. They were there from helping with classes to helps or just another person to talk to. Overall, this was one of the best experiences of my life, from the people I met to living in the city I call my second home. I am waiting for a way to get back to Lyon.

What would you improve about this program?
During my time, there was a bit of unorganization within the program, I've since realized that this is one of USAC's newer programs and is only a couple years old so they are still working out some of the kinks.
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Natalie
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

A gorgeous city and mostly positive experience!

I absolutely love Lyon! It's a wonderful location that is beautiful, central, large enough to get all of the benefits of living in a big city, yet much smaller than overcrowded cities like Paris or New York. If you're looking to study here, I would definitely recommend it!

Going through the USAC Program was a little complicated since the classes and grading are not the same as what you sign up for. You basically sign up for classes, then are integrated into Université Lumière Lyon 2's CIEF (Centres International d'Études Françaises) courses that are built to prepare for entrance into a French university. You are broken up into levels (A1-C2 according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages), then you attend those courses (11 classes of 1 hour 45 minutes per week) with foreign students working towards a B2 or C1 DELF/DALF. It was hard work, and for me, Monday through Friday. Some days were so long that my body ached for sitting for hours at a time. It was also difficult to travel during weekends because of the late classes scheduled for Fridays and early classes scheduled for Mondays (they discourage skipping courses, but I definitely needed to sometimes). You can tell that this is an intensive program made for those who are seriously working towards the language skills to integrate into a French university, and since it was not my goal, it was a little difficult to remain motivated sometimes.

I would say that, overall, Lyon is a great study abroad city with a vibrant social scene for young adults, but I was less than impressed with Lyon 2's CIEF program.

What would you improve about this program?
I feel like something through the Alliance Française de Lyon or another language-learning program would be great, or even just teaching the classes that we signed up for in the first place would be the best, but I understand if that is not possible. I heard about so many great programs in other European countries that only had 3 or 4-day school weeks that suited travel and fun a lot more than this one, so I was kind of disappointed. But the strikingly beautiful city and central location made up for some of that!
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Jacob
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Student City

The city was great for university aged students. There was a lot of night life, museums, and coffee shops. Also, the public transportation was very accessible and easy to use. Because it is one of the major cities it was also easy to travel to other parts of the country and continent. Along with this, there was a problem with theft when out in the city. The school had a great staff that was ready to help me learn.

What would you improve about this program?
Give more information at the beginning on how our language level will be evaluated.
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Brenna
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Lyon: An Experience

I had an absolute blast in Lyon. I met a ton of really interesting people from around the world in my courses, and made life long friends. I had a great time with my host family! There are many options for transportation but everything was close enough I chose to walk most everywhere! It was an absolutely incredible experience, and lyon is an amazing city to live in: great food, lots of amazing art, and an overall buzz of a fantastic place to be.