Study French in Orléans France!
Based on my experience, there are a lot of surprisingly inexpensive study abroad opportunities in foreign countries that won’t necessarily be advertised to you. My first study abroad experience in Seoul, South Korea, nearly didn’t happen because the average fee for study abroad to South Korea was $6,000+. It wasn’t until I found a direct program to Sogang that I was able to get it down to a reasonable cost.
The same has occurred with trying to study French in Orléans France for four weeks during the Summer. The cost of the program in Orléans was cheaper for the 6 credits I got than it would have been to take 6 credits at home. And add to it the $4,000 I was able to get as a scholarship! With this I was able to do various cultural activities like attending a concert in Cognac, visiting Blois, and staying a week in Paris. Check out my post on where to find scholarships like this!
The program in Orléans is, at this point in time, still $1000 for 4 weeks of intensive French learning that should count for 6 credits at your home institution. For an additional $475 you can live those four weeks with a host family who will feed you two meals on the weekdays. This is the cheapest host family language-learning opportunity I have ever seen. This is probably the best chance to do it, although my experience was personally less than stellar.
Pro tip: Put down that you’re shy if you are wanting a smaller family. Everyone who put down that they were shy got a lovely older woman as their host. Then there was me. I got a family with four children ranging from 8 years to 19. The 8 year old was the sweetest, although the 16 year old was pretty nice too. The 19 year old was…not the nicest. While the parents were very committed to me learning French, the 19 year old had zero patience and would often switch to English when yelling at me. The father was very nice and gave me a lengthy explanation on how to care for Orchids, entirely in French. This was a great way to learn comprehension of the language.
The Benefit of Studying in Orléans, and a Small Horror Story
Since Orléans is a lesser-known city than Paris, your chances to utilize the language are further increased. There’s a fair amount to do in Orléans and I can’t say I ever really tired of walking around city center. While Orléans is not my favorite of the French cities I visited (that title goes to Blois), I certainly enjoyed my time here. As a part of the program you will get to see the Mayor’s house, which, coincidentally, is also where Mary Queen of Scots’ first husband, Francis the Second, died. It’s not all that impressive of a room and I had no idea until I read the small plaque beneath the painting in the room -and Mary Queen of Scots is one of my favorite historical figures.
As my town (Wichita) is sister cities with Orléans I was also subjected to a sudden, highly impromptu, calling upon to give a speech. In French. With zero preparation. On a good day, I’m pretty good at public speaking in English. I normally still need something along the lines of a five minute warning, but I still might manage in English. My anxiety went through the roof. I stumbled my way through a few lines, and promptly burst into tears as soon as I was out of the way. Worst of all, there was no wine (?) at this French gathering. Upon discovering me, the committee was very unhappy with how the mayor had treated us and decided they would all be having a talk later. I felt slightly vindicated.
Extras as a Part of the Program
This aside, we got to climb up the Orléans cathedral, which was not something the average person is allowed to do. The Orléans cathedral is stunning even if you can’t climb up. With stained glass telling the story of how Jean d’Arc liberated Orléans…stunning. Jean d’Arc (or Joan of Arc) is basically everywhere in the city of Orléans. We also got to see a crypt-like thing but sadly it wasn’t the crypt beneath the cathedral I had pushed for us to see. At least it was underground and old. We also went to an art museum in Orléans which was really quite nice. There were a few day trips but those each took place on weekends when I already had plans, so that was unfortunate.
In terms of course difficulty, the majority of grammatical information was already highly familiar to me after intermediate French. However, for those of you who maybe don’t have that much French knowledge, fear not. Pretty much any level can attend. I knew people who spoke maybe 5 words of French in the program, all the way up to a girl from Switzerland. So she practically knew the language already.
The program has a really nice four-day weekend around Bastille Day. It was during this time that a classmate and I flew to Rome. Plan something nice for this weekend as flights are cheap and Paris is only an hour away by train. It is highly recommend to book ahead to get the cheapest trains and flights.
In conclusion, I think this study program is one of the best so study French in Orléans France!
Check out some of my other posts!