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College Credit Available

The below description has been provided by our implementing program administrator and is subject to change.

Program Overview

Spend a meaningful semester in the South of France…mais oui!

Immerse yourself in French culture in Montpellier, a 1,000 year-old city located in the Languedoc region of temperate and friendly southern France that has long been a crossroads for European, Mediterranean and North African cultures. Students will study French language, culture, civilization, and social issues at the Institut Méditerranéen de Langues/Services (IMLS). Courses in French language are taught at five different levels, from beginning to advanced. Additional cultural courses are available along with service-learning courses in English.

During your time in Montpellier, you’ll live with a French family, serve 10–12 hours per week at a local organization, and explore the nearby area. The volunteer service component immerses participants in the culture and deepens understanding of French society and language.

Bustling with students from Europe and other destinations around the world, the university city of Montpellier has a historic center, modern businesses and shopping, and a traditional central plaza with theaters and sidewalk cafés where much of the life of the city takes place. Nearby you can find a number of fascinating locations, including Neolithic sites, Roman settlements, walled medieval towns, the beaches of the Mediterranean, and the ecological and wildlife treasure known as the Camargue. It’s also a short trip to Barcelona, the gateway to Spain.

Where you’ll stay in Montpellier

You’ll live with a local family who will introduce you to French life. An integral part of the program, the homestay offers you the opportunity to make life-long friends, reinforce your language skills, and experience the culture from the inside. Host families are carefully selected and experienced with hosting students. Partial board is included.

Program Director: Ms. Veronique Martin


The program welcomes students of any nation who have a high school diploma or equivalent credential. TOEFL equivalent 550. Applicants should have a minimum of 2 years of high school French or one year of college French.

AFSNext students studying abroad in Montpellier, France


The program is based at the Institut Méditerranéen de Langues/Services (IMLS). You will take three required courses and cultural and/or additional language electives for a total of up to 19 credits. A transcript for all courses is issued by the the U.S based academic school of record upon successful completion of the program. Unless otherwise noted, courses are at the 300 level except for any foreign language course which will vary.

Required courses

French Language Culture and Civilization (Beginning, Intermediate and Advanced Levels)

Students are tested and placed in language classes according to their ability. Levels range from beginning to advanced. Students can take either one three credit course or two three credit courses.

Level II – Elementary

This is the logical continuation of Level I and can be defined as a first intermediary level. It is designed for students who already attended at least 200 hours of French language courses or who have acquired a similar basic competence through immersion. The general objectives follow up on those of Level I. They aim at reinforcing acquired skills: verbal, fluency and grammatical writing are the main objectives of the teaching program based on a communicative approach adapted to everyday-life situations. The curriculum consists of:

  • Oral French: Comprehension, Expression, Phonetics
  • Written French: Grammar, Comprehension, Expression
  • Language laboratory work

Level III – Intermediate

This level is for students who have already attended more than 400 hours of French classes. The curriculum consists of:

  • Oral French: Comprehension, Phonetics, Expression, Speech
  • Written French: Comprehension and Expression, Spelling, Grammar

Level IV – Proficient

Level IV classes are based on the permanent interaction of communicative, linguistic and cultural objectives in order to promote the comprehension of the French socio-cultural environment. Various fields of competence are stressed. The curriculum consists of:

  • Oral French: Comprehension and Expression, Media Language, Phonetics, Specificity of Oral French
  • Written French: Comprehension, Expression, Grammar

Level V – Advanced

This level is intended for students who have already attended 750 to 800 hours of French classes. The curriculum consists of:

  • Grammar
  • Practice of Oral and Written Speech

Contact Hours: 60
Recommended U.S. Credits: 4

Beginning Arabic Language and Culture

Exposure to the Arabic language and culture is an opportunity to gain insight into the lives of the many North African immigrants that live and work in Montpellier and the wider region. This course serves as a gateway to connect to people in the city as well as in the various organizations where IPSL students serve.

Contact Hours: 45
Recommended U.S. Credits: 3

Institutions in French Society (Service-Learning Course)

Examines the major issues confronting French society, and the way these issues are addressed by institutions, associations, and NGOs. Using your service agency as a case study, you will analyze the agency’s mission, history, and governance, the socio-economic background of the clientele, and its role in relation to the political, cultural, social, and economic conditions of the larger society.

Contact Hours: 45
Recommended U.S. Credits: 3

Introduction to Community Organizing and Social Activism in France (ONLINE)

This course is delivered virtually and begins before departure and completes after returning. The content includes both pre-departure and post departure information, discussion and reflection and serves to compliment the Institutions in Society Course. The course explores the theories and practical realities of intercultural service-learning to help make sense of the international experience and to develop intercultural competence. One credit will be awarded for 15 hours of academic relections work and 2 credits for the hands-on service-learning volunteering.

Contact Hours: 45 Recommended
U.S. Credits: 3

Euro – Mediterranean/Arabic Independent Studies OR Euro Mediterranean/Arabic History

Students work in a seminar class structure with the professor and other students to discuss content as well as work with the professor individually on their independent projects. This course can be transcripted either as an independent study course or a history course.

  • Culture and Politics in a Euro-Mediterranean Context
  • History of Intercultural Relations between Europe and the Mediterranean Area
  • History of Intercultural Relations between the Maghreb and France
  • Economics and Society
  • International Cooperation and Development between Europe and the Mediterranean
  • Cooperation and Development between the Maghreb and France
  • Immigration
  • Gender Issues in Muslim Societies
  • Current Issues in French Society
  • Students work in a seminar class structure with the professor and other students to discuss content as well as their independent projects.

Contact Hours: 45
Recommended U.S. Credits: 3

Electives available for an additional tuition fee

Discovery of French Culture: French Cuisine

Lessons in French cuisine will allow participants to gain cooking skills and learn the language of good food, wine and culture while enjoying a hands­ – on approach of authentic French recipes. Includes hands-on cooking. Take the time to explore and recreate a selection of inventive recipes that combine traditional charm and exoticism, in a calm and relaxed atmosphere. Choose from a variety of workshops, all with different themes each week. So reach for your apron and come to explore the world of authentic French cooking, fresh-market cooking, traditional and local cooking.

Contact Hours: 15
Recommended U.S. Credits: 1

Discovery of Mediterranean Studies: Wine

Discover the Secrets of the Land through different routes: Vineyards and olive trees, discovering the nectar of the Languedoc region In the footsteps of Roman history in Costieres de Nlmes Wine and olive tour in the Pic Saint-Loup area Languedoc Tradition, voyage through history The treasures of the Herault canyons and Larzac terraces The essential Pic Saint-Loup Pic Saint-Loup adventure and wine tasting Between sea and lagoons for the renowned Picpoul de Pinet and fresh shellfish

Contact Hours: 15
Recommended U.S. Credits: 1

Street in Montpellier, France

Volunteer Service

You will serve 10–12 hours per week in one or two service agencies, encountering France’s particular system of social services and practicing your French in the community. You might:

  • serve as an aid or tutor for disabled persons
  • assist in education or recreation at a rehabilitation center for children
  • tutor in English at the Institut St Pierre and high schools as a placement service
  • assist in a center providing social services for the underprivileged
  • help with stocking, sorting, and redistribution of food at a food bank
  • work with specialists in psychiatry and social care in a social rehabilitation center
  • work with an occupational therapist at a retirement home

Volunteer Service Examples

Following are examples of agencies where students have served in the past or may be able to serve. Other service placements may be available. Your placement will be determined by community and agency needs, as well as your interests, goals, and skills.

ASSOCIATION DES PARALYSES DE France (Association for handicapped people)

The APF is a nationally recognized non-profit association for people crippled by motor deficiencies and other physical disabilities.

The role of the foreign students is to meet with handicapped people so as to break the solitude in which the handicapped often find themselves, which is due in many ways to their exclusion by society.

Among the requests we have received are some for tutoring in English, in computer programming, researching information inaccessible to the handicapped, as well as accompanying them on outings or even just making them feel their value as human beings.

  • Population Served: People with motor deficiencies and other physical disabilities
  • Areas of Service: Companionship / Disabilities / Recreation / Research


Students help with the stocking, sorting and redistribution of food.

  • Population Served: All
  • Areas of Service: Emergency Relief

INSTITUT SAINT PIERRE (Rehab center for children)

The Institute is a private non-profit hospital center.

The students work on two projects at the Institute: one is based on education (except in Summer) and the other on recreation. The students performing community service assist the teachers in charge of education and contribute to the tutoring of the students in English.

  • Population Served: Children in rehabilitation
  • Areas of Service: Children & Youth / Education / ESL


The centers provide several services for the underprivileged such as meals, urgent medical care, distribution of clothes and shoes, as well as rehabilitation through professional training, etc.

  • Population Served: Underprivileged persons
  • Areas of Service: Food services/distribution / Healthcare / Social services

La PROVIDENCE (Retirement home)

Students work with an occupational therapist. And participate in recreation activities, games and spocialization and outings for the elderly.

  • Population Served: Older persons
  • Areas of Service: Elderly / Therapy


RECTORAT (Tutoring during the academic year)

The students participate in a tutoring program for children and high school students. They usually assist English teachers with conversation classes, tutoring and homework, proniunciation and introduction to their home country and culture.

  • Population Served: Underprivileged high school students
  • Areas of Service: ESL (English as a second language)


The association provides several services for the underprivileged such as a meal service, ermergency care and support. Students help with the tutoring of high school students, help in the community center and prepare and distribute food baskets.

  • Population Served: High school students
  • Areas of Service: Education

ARTISANS DU MONDE (Fair Trade Products)

This association imports arts and craft products from independent, ethically -minded producers from the developing world. The retail shop sells products such as jewelry, clothing, housewares and other fair-trade gifts.

  • Population Served: Independent artisans from developing nations
  • Areas of Service: Fair Trade artisan support


This association provides clothing, food and computer education. Students participarte in the preparation of food baskets and distribution of clothing as well as tehnology education workshops. Population Served: People in need Areas of Service: Emergency relief/education IMLS (Language Education) This Language Institute offers multiple language instruction. Students participarte in conversation workshops for people of all ages to improve their language skills.

  • Population Served: People of all ages and all languages
  • Areas of Service: Education

Students in Montpellier, France

Things to Do

Excursions are an important supplement to the classes, introducing you to the region’s architectural heritage, landscape, and cultural sites. A tour of Montpellier is arranged during the first week. Additional excursions to historic sites around Montpellier and the region are organized every month and may include visits to:

  • The nearby Roman cities of Nîmes and Arles
  • The medieval walled city of Avignon, home of the Palace of the Popes and the famous Pont d’Avignon
  • St Guilhem-Le- Désert et l’Ermitage, a legendary village at the heart of a preserved valley and the site of the Gellone Abbey, a jewel of Romanesque architecture
  • Carcassonne, one of the most extravagant fortresses in all of Europe
  • Sommières market and le Pont du Gard, a magnificent aqueduct, built towards the end of the first century B.C.
  • Les Baux de Provence, one of the most beautiful villages in France, and Cathédrale d’images, a unique art center in a limestone quarry
  • Les Baux de Provence, one of the most beautiful villages in France, and Cathédrale d’images, a unique art center in a limestone quarry Aigues-Mortes, the 13th-century city in the heart of the Camargue, from which Louis IX (St. Louis) set out on his first crusade in 1248
  • Château de Flaugergues, built in the 17th century and surrounded by magnificent gardens.

Church in Montpellier, France