Semester — Spring 2020
Semester — Spring 2019
Jan 22-25, 2019 → Jul 7-10, 2019
Year — Fall 2019
Sep 3-6, 2019 → Jul 5-8, 2020
Semester — Fall 2019
Sep 3-6, 2019 → Jan 26-29, 2020
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 in a local French high school, 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.
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.
You will receive early access to Rosetta Stone before departure to reduce the language barrier upon your arrival in France. You’ll probably 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 every 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 are just your focus – not the entirety of your class schedule. You’ll still take a broad range of classes. While specific classes cannot be guaranteed, these specializations offer the chance to concentrate more on your academic interests.
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!
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.
"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, if you’re like most AFSers, you’ll bring with you a sense of accomplishment unlike any other. You’ll have gained maturity and independence, discovered new passions, and feel like you can do anything you set your mind to. That transformation isn’t visible only to you, though - others see it as well. AFSers gain critical skills for college and careers, ranging from language fluency to intercultural competence and critical reasoning. "Life-changing" means it’s only the beginning.
Please Note: Travel date ranges are meant to help with general scheduling and are subject to change; please don’t book any travel based on these dates until you’ve received confirmation from AFS. All programs, prices, and travel dates are subject to change without notice.