Studying in a Francophone Country

Studying abroad in a Francophone country was one of the best decisions I made in college. My semester abroad helped me to improve my French and allowed me "real world" experience with the places, people, and ideas I was studying in the classroom.

But studying abroad in a French-speaking country isn't JUST for French majors! What about studying finance in Luxembourg? Or government and law in Brussels, the seat of the European Union? Or environmental studies in French Guiana? (This is a real program.) No matter what your major, studying in a French-speaking country is sure to be a unique and valuable experience!

If you're interested in studying abroad in a Francophone country, you have a couple options.

  • Study abroad through your (or another) university. This can be one of the least expensive -- and least troublesome -- ways to study abroad. My university offered a variety of study abroad programs, including exchanges and sponsored semesters (for the price of in-state tuition!) and guided summer study abroad programs. If you can't find a program that appeals to you, consider looking at other universities' international options.
  • Find an organization that organizes study abroad programs for students from various universities. When I worked at my school's study abroad office, we called these "third party programs" -- organizations like API, CIEE, and SIT. Third party study abroad programs may be slightly more expensive, but they tend to come with "perks" like an airport pick-up service or planned excursions. When looking at third party programs, remember that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is! Make sure you choose a safe, reputable, and academically challenging program.
  • Enroll in a university in a Francophone country. This option allows you to cut out the middle man and delve right into university life in the country of your choice! However, you probably want to steer clear of direct enrollment unless you feel confident handling the various challenges -- from visas to enrollment fees to course selection and credit transfer -- by yourself. According to a former study abroad adviser, direct enrollment is great for students who hold dual citizenship, speak the language fluently, and/or have close ties to the place they're hoping to study.

As for me? I chose to study abroad through my university, which happened to offer an amazing program through which I could take classes at a French university and live with a host family. This offered me a moderate level of in-country support and the flexibility to take the courses I needed for my major ... not to mention a chance to spend four months on the Mediterranean coast.

Start here.

Thinking about studying abroad? Here are some of my most popular posts:
When reading, please keep in mind that this is a personal travel blog (as opposed to, you know, the website of an immigration lawyer or an international taxation expert). These posts, and the rest of the content you'll find here, were initially written to provide a window into my experience for family and friends ... and if you are thinking about studying about in Francophone Europe, I hope that they can provide a similar insight to you! However, please remember that my experiences in Montpellier in 2013 might not reflect the most current requirements or procedures for studying abroad in France.