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Study Abroad at a High School in France

Ever dreamed of cycling down a cobblestone street with a fresh baguette in your basket? If that’s you, then you’re bound to feel at home in France’s quaint countryside and charming, historic cities. French culture is world-renowned for its artistic, architectural, and culinary achievements. These influences and more will broaden the cultural horizons of any high school student studying abroad in France!

By studying at a local high school in France, you’ll be immersed in French language and customs. What you learn during the day will sink in at night when you go home to your host family and community. You’ll be much more than a tourist snapping quick photos of the Eiffel Tower. As an exchange student, you’ll eat, drink, and breathe French culture. You’ll study the French language in its birthplace. France is an ideal place to discover a new culture and rewrite your high school experience.

What's included in your experience

  • 70 Years Experience


Graduates Eligible? No, participants cannot have graduated prior to the start of the program
Minimum GPA 2.5
Age Range 15 yrs, 0 months to
17 yrs, 9 months at start of program
Language Skills Preferred, not required
COVID-19 Vaccine Not Required

Your Journey to France

In the months before your departure, AFSers have the opportunity to participate in various preparatory activities, including an online Student Learning Journey, which is an interactive course that brings AFSers from around the world together to learn how to develop essential global skills, intercultural communication techniques, and practice social impact, maximizing the outcomes of the AFS learning experience. 

AFS-USA will coordinate and share your international travel with you. You will need to coordinate your own travel to the point of international departure. From there, your journey in France will begin when you land, where you’ll be met by staff and volunteers …as well as your fellow AFSers from around the world! Shortly after arrival, you will attend an arrival orientation and get a crash course on French culture, living with a host family, safety, and support structures.


Things to know before you go abroad to France

French people are generally hospitable, and most will be interested in learning about you and your culture. Food is at the heart of French culture, and you really will see locals strolling down the street with a baguette under their arms. You’re unlikely to find many berets, though.

France is a historically Catholic country. So, you’ll discover some of the most astounding churches in the world, even in the smallest, most remote villages. However, in modern culture, laïcité (secularism) is highly valued, and French students are banned by the government from wearing overtly religious symbols to school.


Your High School in France

Students often attend a public lycée (10th-12th grade) or collège (9th grade) depending on your age, but you could also be enrolled in a private school. France has 3 different specializations at most lycée for the equivalent of 11th and 12th grades. They are (L) arts, humanities, and languages; (S) natural sciences and math; and (ES) social science, economics, and history.

These specializations would only be your focus, not the entirety of your class schedule. You’ll still take a broad range of classes. While specific classes and specializations cannot be guaranteed, we do everything we can to let students concentrate on the subjects that most interest them.

The average day’s schedule is likely longer than what you’re used to (beginning around 8:15 am and ending around 5 or 6 pm), but students get a lot of breaks between classes. Wednesdays are usually half days with classes getting out around noon. Some lycées might also have class on Saturday mornings. But don’t worry – quality of life and leisure time are high priorities in France. You’ll usually get two weeks of vacation for every six weeks you spend in school.



AFSers have lived in communities all throughout France when studying abroad in high school, but you’ll most likely find yourself in a rural area. You’ll get a feel for the French countryside, where the people tend to be friendlier and more relaxed than those in the city. Your host family could live anywhere from the Alps to the Mediterranean Sea. No matter where you’re placed, there will be something amazing to see!


Your Family in France

France tends to have large and active local AFS chapters. Staff and volunteers, who are very involved, plan fun local and regional events, like weekend trips to Paris! At these events, you’ll make lasting connections with international exchange students from other AFS countries around the world, AFS Alumni, and more.

Like anywhere in the world, all families in France are different. But, no matter who they are, your host family will probably greet you with a bise, a friendly kiss on the cheek. Then, once you’re settled into your new home, you can expect to be treated like a regular family member, helping with chores and becoming part of the daily routine. As so many AFSers explain, it’s not just a trip; it’s a second life, home, and family.

What's Included

  • 70+ years of experience delivering high-quality programs through a worldwide network of 50,000 dedicated volunteers
  • Accommodations with a vetted host family
  • Round-trip international airfare for the designated program dates
  • School enrollment fees
  • Free Language Proficiency Testing: after your immersive study abroad experience, take an AAPPL (ACTFL Assessment of Performance toward Proficiency in Languages) language proficiency test to be able to add your language skills to your resume or possibly your high school transcript!
  • Worldwide, 24-hour emergency assistance
  • Access to an in-country support team and network, as well as our Participant Support Department based here in the U.S.
  • Orientations and intercultural education before and during your program
  • International secondary medical travel coverage
  • Visa support and guidance
  • Inclusion in a worldwide returnee and alumni network of over 1,000,000 people

Scholarships at AFS-USA

AFS-USA scholarships are made possible by the generosity of numerous donors who all have a deep connection with AFS and value intercultural exchanges as necessary for the promotion of peace and justice in the world. Upon submission, applications will be reviewed and matched with the most applicable scholarship, if available. All scholarships are partial, and scholarship award amounts will be determined based on program length. For additional funding resources, check out our Fundraising page. You can view all available national and local scholarships on our Scholarships page.

Visa Info

Do I need a visa/residence permit for France ? YES. Visa
How do I apply for the visa? (By mail, In-person, In host country) In-person
Visa/Residence Permit Process Difficulty Level (Easy, Average, Complex) Complex
Estimated Visa/Residence Permit Expenses
($ – $$$)
Frequently Asked Visa Questions Visit our general visa FAQ page for more information.

Returning Home

“Life-changing” is hard to describe, yet it’s nearly always the first thing that AFSers say when asked about their experience abroad. “Transformed” is another one.
When you return home from high school in France, you’ll bring with you a sense of accomplishment unlike any other. You’ll have gained maturity and independence, discovered new passions, and developed the confidence and resilience to accomplish anything you set out to do.
That transformation isn’t only visible to you, though – others see it as well. AFSers gain critical skills for college and careers. Second language fluency, intercultural competence, creativity, and critical reasoning will help you succeed, whatever path you take. “Life-changing” means it’s only the beginning.
It’s not just an adventure abroad; it’s a whole new reality. The perspectives and personal connections you gained will stay with you and likely draw you back to the second home you found in France.

In fact, our alumni reviews have made AFS one of the top-rated organizations in the study abroad industry.