Life in France

French people are much more reserved, and take a lot of time and effort to befriend. It seems unfair at first, but they warm up eventually, and become just as good of friends, if not better, than your friends back home. Elise from WI, Year Program
In French culture, people give a kiss on each cheek to say hello and it took me a while to get used to that. Anna from OH, Semester Program
Do your school work and do it well. You will earn the respect of both teachers and classmates. It is fun to be better at math than your classmates and have them be the one asking you for help, after all of that time with you asking them for help on history notes. Julia from CA Year Program
Talk. No matter how stupid you sound (or think you do). It is only talking a lot that will help you improve your language and relationships. Andrea from VT, Semester Program
Be prepared that the French can sometimes behave less enthusiastically than Americans, but also that they do not deserve the false stereotype that marks them as impolite and unhelpful. McKenzie from CA, Year Program
Make sure to be aware of how everyday things are done, such as eating or doing chores. Kira from MA, Semester Program
Bring your bedroom slippers! In every house I visited and lived in, people took their shoes off as soon as they walked in the door and wore slippers all over the house. If you walk barefoot, they say you'll catch cold, and if you walk in your shoes, you are said to be getting the house dirty.Julia from CA Year Program
Do your best to learn their language but don't forget your roots - wear both nationalities with pride and you'll be respected. Gabrielle from CA, Summer Program
Everything in France is based around their meals. Courtney from CA, Semester Program
The way school and the classes themselves were taught was very different from schools in the US. Teachers tend to lecture and give notes rather than encourage active participation in class Kevin from CT, Year Program
Make sure not to miss too many meals with your host family. Meals are one of the most important times of the day for them. It is the time for them to be together as a family and to catch up on each other’s' lives. Lucinda from NC, Year Program
The school hours were also hard to get used to. I very much appreciated the university style of school, but having classes for three hours at a time was hard to get used to. Emma from TX, Year Program
Have an open mind and understand that French people may believe stereotypes and that it's our job to undo those stereotypes. Danielle from PA, Semester Program

The Essentials

All Programs
Summer Language Study

Language Requirements

Applicants to the Year and Semester School Programs in France are expected to enroll in an online Rosetta Stone language course and study independently prior to departure and while on program. The online course will be provided, organized and monitored by AFS France who will email registration and login instructions to each students prior to the start of the program.


Digging Deeper

Language Resources
Cultural Resources
News and Media
Movies and Documentaries
  • The Class (2008)
  • The Battle of Algiers (1966)
  • The Intouchables (2011)
  • Joyeux Noel (2005)
  • Astérix: Le domaine des dieux (2014)
  • To Be and to Have (2002)
  • Napoleon (PBS 2000)
  • France: Engineering an Empire (2006)
  • The French Revolution: Tearing Up History (BBC 2014)
  • Apocalypse: the Second World War (2009) (6-part series)
  • La boum, by Claude Pinoteau (1980)
  • Tout ce qui brille, by Géraldine Nakache et Hervé Mimran (2010)
  • Intouchables, by Olivier Nakache and Éric Toledano (2011)
  • Ce qui nous lie, by Cédric Klapisch (2017)
Sitcoms
  • Le bureau des légendes, by Eric Rochant (2015)
Books
  • A Brief History of France
  • A Concise History of France
  • Napoleon: a Life
  • Paris, Paris: a Journey into the City of Light
  • French Dirt: the Story of a Garden in the South of France
  • French Regional Food
  • The Sun Also Rises
  • Les Miserables
  • The Count of Monte Cristo
  • Le Petit Prince
  • Cyrano de Bergerac
  • La gloire de mon père, by Marcel Pagnol (1957)
  • Un sac de billes, by Joseph Joffo (1973)
  • Je vais bien, ne t'en fais pas, by Olivier Adam (2000)
LGBTQ Resources (Diversity) Heritage and Ethnicity Resources (Diversity)
Note: The links and resources listed in "Digging Deeper" have been provided to AFS by people involved with our organization, including alumni members, volunteers, etc. AFS has not reviewed the resources in their entirety and presents them "as is" for your own information. As such, the sites, publications, films, etc. do not necessarily reflect the approval of nor the views, opinions, and/or values of AFS.