This tiny principality came into it’s own in the late 19th century when the railway was built that connected Monaco to France. The first casino, the Monte Carlo, opened soon afterwards. The city became a vacation destination for the elite, drawn to beautiful architecture, palm trees, sandy beaches and lack of income tax.
Today, Monaco is one of the richest countries in the world, with a 0% unemployment rate and more millionaires and billionaires than you can shake a stick at. Well connected to the south of France, Italy and many more, Monaco makes an excellent base for students and the rich alike. It is the home of the Formula One Grand Prix, elegant casinos and countless galleries, restaurants and shops. Students who study abroad in Monaco will get a taste of the high life, and learn why this little bitty country has fascinated visitors for years.
Here are some considerations when looking for a program in Monaco
- Academic Life: International students should expect a learning environment not so different from their own. Classes are attended daily and are offered in a range of subjects. You money-minded students are (especially) in luck! The principality's only university, the International University of Monaco (IUM), is a private school specializing in Business. In addition, the many language school make Monaco a great location to brush up on le francais.
- Housing: Students studying abroad in Monaco are offered (and encouraged) to do a homestay with a Monegasque family. A single room is provided with a private bathroom. However, there are also hotels available for students who are looking for more privacy. If you opt to enroll directly at IUM, you'll be able to take advantage of housing opportunities pre-arranged for students at nearby apartment complexes. It is recommended to organize your housing prior to arriving in Monaco!
- Language: French is the most commonly spoken language in Monaco (though English, Italian and Monegasque are widely understood), and many programs offer courses for all levels, in groups or with private tutors. If you're wanting a more unique locale to perfect your French, Monaco may be just the special destination you're looking for!
Monaco is divided into 10 neighborhoods or Wards. Some of the notable areas are:
- Monte Carlo, where the glittery Monte Carlo Casino, Opera house as well as most of the country’s nightlife and shopping is found. The Monaco Grand Prix also takes place here.
- Fontvieille is a modern area and the stomping ground of Monaco’s football team in the Louis II Stadium.
- Monaco-Ville is the oldest and most picturesque neighborhood that can only be reached by elevator or by a steep climb up a ramp. The medieval area contains most of Monaco’s major sights including the royal palace, the Oceanography Museum, and the Monaco Cathedral.
- La Condamine is the country’s port area and business district has a large harbor where visitors can catch a glimpse of the prince’s yacht.
- Larvotto is a peninsula where the beaches and sporting clubs are found.
Social Life and Student Culture
If you have some cash burning a hole in your pocket, try your luck in the Grand Casino and gamble alongside the world's rich and famous. You'll need your passport to enter (the Monégasque are prohibited from gambling at the casino) There are entrance fees, and be warned that the dress code inside is extremely strict - men are required to wear coats and ties, and casual or 'tennis' shoes are forbidden. The gaming rooms themselves are spectacular and ornate, with stained glass, paintings, and sculptures everywhere.
The Monaco Opera House or Salle Garnier was built by the famous architect Charles Garnier and it’s dramatic and sumptuous decorations are beautiful, but tickets will cost a pretty penny.
Monaco's museums are worth a visit, and often display a quirky mix of art from personal collections and family artifacts.
The Marlborough Fine Arts Gallery was founded by Frank Lloyd and Harry Fischer. The gallery holds a grand collection of post-World War II artists and even paintings by Pablo Picasso, Joan Miró, Jules Brassai, Louise Bourgeois, Dale Chihuly, David Hockney and Henri Matisse. Admission is free!
The Palais Princier (Prince's Palace) is in old Monaco-Ville. The Palace also offers a breathtaking panoramic view overlooking the Port and Monte-Carlo. There are guided tours of the palace each day. At 11:55 AM, visitors can watch the changing of the guard ceremony performed by the Carabiniers in front of the Palace's main entrance. Carabiniers are not only in charge of the Princes’ security but they offer Him a Guard of Honor and on very special occasions, are His escorts.
True or False: there are people willing to give you money to help you travel. True! There are tons of scholarships out there.