ICES High School Study Abroad
Late Aug – Mid June
Early Jan – Late Nov
Late Aug – Late Feb
Early Jan – Mid June
Late Aug – Mid Dec
Early Jan – Late Apr
Late Aug – Late Nov
Early Jan – Late Mar
July – Aug 2-4 weeks
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High School Study Abroad France
Did you know that France is the most popular tourist destination in the world? Oui! With over 84 million tourists visiting every year. Most stay barely long enough for a view of the Eiffel Tower, a taste of the country’s outstanding cheese, and some museums in Paris. Discover more through study abroad – here’s your chance to experience the true vie française!
France Country Information
Area: 643,801 km²
Population: 66 million
National holiday: July 14
France is the largest country in the European Union. Though cities are fast growing, France is still a rural country with some of the most beautiful landscapes in the world – from the mountainous Alps, oceanic northern coast, the vineyards of Bordeaux, and hot beaches of the Mediterranean.
French cuisine is popular throughout the world for its high standards and fine flavors. Start the day off right with fresh-baked bread and a croissant from the town boulangerie. Sample cheeses specific to different regions of the country, like camembert from the north, strong Roquefort from the South, and of course brie from the Île de France, home of Paris. For more adventurous eaters, try escargot or cuisses de grenouille! To finish off your meal, try mille feuilles, macarons, religieuses, and other sweets from your local patisserie.
The arts shine in France’s history and present. Art and monuments created by the French or inspired by France include paintings by Monet, Rousseau, Rembrandt and Van Gogh, the cathedrals of Notre Dame and Rouen, and in Paris the Arc de Triomphe and of course the timeless Eiffel Tower. Famous classic authors include Victor Hugo, Alexandre Dumas, Albert Camus, and Marcel Proust.
France’s Enlightenment influenced the American Revolution. The French Revolution set an example for democracy in the world, developing the values of liberté, egalité, et fraternité – freedom, equality, and fraternity. Though famously secular, Catholicism still greatly influences the culture of the country.
Friends, family members and some colleagues in France greet each other with la bise – kisses on the cheeks. You’ll soon learn the number of kisses that are expected, as these vary from different regions in the country! You and your French friends will probably spend time together in parks or cafés, parties at each other’s homes, talking and watching soccer matches.
The French school year starts early September and ends in June, and is divided in three terms. About every seven weeks, there is a two-week break. The French high school, le lycée, is three years long. The first year, la seconde, offers a general program. The second and third year, la première and la terminale, are specialized in one field of study (literature, social studies or science) and leads to the famous final exam, le Baccalauréat. The French educational system is known to be hard but very rewarding, with a strong focus on developing critical thinking.
Lunch is taken at la cantine. The lunch break lasts at least one hour, but often two hours. A school day starts around 8 am and can finish as late as 6 pm. Usually there is no class on Wednesday afternoons. No uniforms are required, even in the private schools.
French schools do not offer many extra-curriculum activities, but towns offer youth clubs and activities.
Host Family Life
Meals are important for families and taken together. Dinner is also the time to share the day with the other members of the family. The word of elders is to be respected. In most families both parents work, and help from the children is therefore very welcomed.
French families enjoy a great deal of traditions. If you are in France for the winter holidays you may try the Galette des Rois – a crusty cake filled with almonds or apples, eaten in early January to celebrate the religious story of the visit of the three Kings to Jesus. On Mardi Gras you may try la Chandeleur – a crêpe made and tossed with a coin in hand to bring good luck.
The student’s experience will depend on placement, since French traditions and lifestyles vary across the country. A high school year in Burgundy is different from one in Provence or Normandy.
Join a prep course to kick off your study abroad experience! Get an intro to the culture and language, and get to meet other international students that will be in France. A prep course can be added on for students either in the beginning of the school year in the fall, or in the beginning of January. Fall arrivals meet in beautiful coastal St. Malo, near famous Mont St. Michel. January arrivals spend two weeks in timeless Paris. Ask for more details about these options.
Placements may be in any region in the country, though requests are offered for the following areas for an additional fee:
Brittany / Provence / Languedoc / Aquitaine / Midi-Pyrenees
3 months $1,450
4 months $1,850
6 months $2,900
10 months $4,700
11 months $5,100
Paris and Suburbs
3 months $1,800
4 months $2,300
6 months $3,400
10 months $5,850
11 months $6,350
Three add-on trips are offered to students throughout the school year. Students receive invitations to these trips, which are to Paris with a visit to Disneyland in the fall, skiing in the Alps in the winter, and the warm Côte d’Azur at the end of the school year.
Several summer programs are offered in France! These range from 2-4 weeks, and can take place in bustling Paris, beautiful coastal St. Malo in Brittany, or the Arcachon Bay in the world-famous Bordeaux region.
Students have 15 hours of French class per week, with 3 classes every morning in the level that the students test into. Afternoon activities are included and depend on location:
Paris: students tour the many famous sights in and around Paris, including the Eiffel Tower, Versailles and Disneyland.
St. Malo: horseback riding, sailing, boat trips, crêpe-making.
Arcachon Bay: surfing, canoeing, horseback riding and other sports.
Contact our office for more information on offerings, dates and pricing.
Students must have French language experience. The minimum requirement is 2 years of study. If you have some French language experience but do not meet this requirement, contact ICES so that we can discuss your eligibility.
Participants must be between the ages of 14-18.
Students in short-term programs (90 days or less) may study in France without a student visa. Students in programs longer than 3 months must apply for a student visa prior to departure. Students must apply to the nearest French consulate or embassy. Depending on your jurisdiction, application may be submitted in person or through the mail. After arriving in France, students will receive assistance in obtaining their residence card from the local immigration office.
Learn more about France
Movies: Amelie, The Untouchables, The Class, Pierrot de fou, La Regle du jou, The 400 Blows.
Books: The Little Prince – Antoine de Saint-Exupery, The Stranger – Albert Camus, Les Miserables – Victor Hugo, Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert, The Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas
Music: Edith Piaf, Jacques Brel, Serge Gainsbourg, Daft Punk, Noir Désir
Famous people: Marie Antoinette, King Louis XIV, Joan of Arc, Catherine Deneuve, Coco Channel, Carla Bruni
We are a nonprofit organization committed to international, educational student exchange. Our goal is to promote cultural awareness and international understanding by offering quality, educational and cultural programs for students, host families and schools. Our staff is dedicated to creating a positive exchange experience for all program participants.