France Study Abroad Country Profile

France Overview

France is the world’s most popular tourist destination. France is incredibly variable in many ways, from its people and regional cultures to its landscapes and urban areas, and it has a way of just drawing people in. It is known for its historical and artistic culture, architecture, food, wine, and beaches – there is little about France that fails to astound, and there is something for everyone here. Creative types and intellectuals alike will be at home, particularly in Paris, which is loaded with museums, cathedrals, and historical buildings. France is also the ideal location for those interested in learning French or working on the skills they have already acquired.

Cultural Highlights

France has many rich historical and cultural traditions, and one place in which that is especially apparent are France’s Impressionists. The works of artists like Claude Monet, Edgar Degas, Pierre August Renoir, and Paul Cezanne are showcased in museums and elsewhere throughout the city. France is also home to many world-famous museums, including the Louvre and the Musee d’Orsay.

Architecture is another standout aspect of French culture. Some of France’s most famous architectural works include the Notre Dame and Chartres cathedrals, though there are around 200 in the entire country. From Paris and Versailles to the Maison a Bordeaux and the Pope’s Palace in Avignon, there is magnificent architecture all over the country.

Philosophy and literature are two other culturally significant areas. Many French authors are famous for their timeless works. Victor Hugo wrote “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” and “Les Miserables.” French philosophers have also made significant contributions to the field – Voltaire, Sartre, Rousseau, Descartes, and Camus are just some of the most famous.

Popular Fields of Study

France has many public and private colleges and universities, many of which have a global reputation. The French language is obviously a popular choice for students studying abroad. Being immersed in a historical and cosmopolitan culture provides many opportunities to practice new language skills or brush up on the ones you may already have. France is a great place to study art, literature, and music with all of its creative venues and museums. It is also a great place to study history and architecture. In fact, art, history, and architecture are the three fields that attract the most France study abroad students, though students in other disciplines will also find France agreeable with their academic agendas.

Why Study Abroad in France?

France has many unique advantages as a study abroad destination. Here are ten reasons why you should consider studying abroad in France.

1. Language

Immersion is the best tool for learning a new language or expanding on previous knowledge. France is a great place to study French, and your time there will afford you with many opportunities to perfect your skills.

2. Food

France is known for its gastronomy, and from artisan cheeses to fine wines, your taste buds will never be disappointed.

3. World-Famous Icons

Visit some of the world’s most recognizable destinations – the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, and Notre Dame are just some of the famous icons you will find in France.

4. The South of France

Visit beautiful beaches situated on the northern part of the Mediterranean during a long weekend, as part of your program, or on your own time after your France study abroad program concludes.

5. Access to Europe

France is centrally located, providing relatively easy access to many other parts of Europe. Travel by bus, train, and air between countries, often at discounted student rates.

6. Fashion

France (particularly Paris) is known for its fashion and is the symbolic capital of fashion. From high end boutiques to designer resale shops, there are a variety of diversions for the fashion enthusiast.

7. Normandy

Visit this historical site, famous for the D-Day landings of June, 1944. Its history of upheaval extends beyond the 21st century – the Vikings settled here in the 9th century, and Joan of Arc was burned at the stake in 1431.

8. Castles

Like many other European countries, France has hundreds of castles spread across the country. The castles are elegant and palatial, and many have interesting historical significance.

9. Special Exhibits

In addition to the art that is permanently installed in French museums, France is also host to many special events, showcasing certain artists and themes. In 2009, Paris hosted an Andy Warhol exhibit at the Grand Palais.

10. The Atmosphere

There is just something about being in France that makes people feel different. Just walking the streets of Paris or talking to a local person in a boulangerie is a unique experience.

France Study Abroad Statistics

France Country Ranking: 4

(based on total outbound U.S. students)
  • % of U.S. students: 7.7%
  • Total US Students 2005/06: 15,602
  • Total US Students 2006/07: 17,233
  • Yearly 2006/07 Trend: 10.5%
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