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Language and Cultural Immersion in the French Riviera


Nice, France

Program Description

This six-credit, six-week academic program is open to all undergraduate students (from JMU or other universities) who wish to experience France in a full immersion context, taking daily beginner or intermediate level French classes. Based in the beautiful city of Nice, hub of the French Riviera, the program offers intensive courses and on site-classes complemented by homestay with native host families.

The 6-week intensive language session takes place at the Alliance Française, a world-renowned institution specializing in French-language programs for foreigners, which enjoys a top, 3-star rating on the "French as Foreign Language Quality" certification scale. The Alliance offers a safe and comfortable learning environment in a private, new facility with air-conditioned smart classrooms. The session includes 20 hours of classes weekly (Monday through Friday), taught by native instructors. Classes use a communicative approach, so that students are able to immediately put into practice what they learn in their language classes, as well as survey current socio-cultural and linguistic realities in France, providing participants the necessary tools to make sense of what they see, hear and do on a daily basis while abroad. Students have the option to enroll in two French language classes or one French language class and the HUM 251 class taught in English.

Language classes will be held every morning and students will have the opportunity to take classes with learners of French from all over the world as well as sharing their interests when meeting with local French students and especially crafted around the rich cultural and artistic heritage of the region (Provence-Côte d'Azur), where in the 20th-Century many artists found inspiration—painters (Cézanne, Van Gogh, Matisse, Picasso), writers, filmmakers and a number of American jazz performers. 

On-sites classes and pedagogical activities include a day in the picturesque medieval village of Saint-Paul-de-Vence with a visit to the Fondation Maeght- a leading modern art museum housing works by Chagall, Kandinsky, Miró, Giacometti and others- as well as wine tasting and discovering the traditional game of pétanque, a day in Grasse, home of the French perfume industry with visit to the Fragonnard perfumery, and to a local confectionary in the mountains, a day in the world famous city of Monaco with a a visit to the Oceanographic museum, as well as exploring the Picasso museum in Antibes and learning about the Belle-Epoque at the Villa Rotschild in Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat with its nine different themed gardens (Japanese, Spanish…) and decorated with olive trees, roses, waterfalls, ponds and musical fountains. 

While in the city of Nice, students also will be participating in a food tasting in the Old Town, enjoying the many free museums of the city (including the Chagall and Matisse museums), discovering the outside markets and many more cultural activities such as the popular Fête de la Musique on June 21st where the whole city celebrates in music!

Location Description

Ideally located on the idyllic "Bay of Angels," Nice is a magnet for visitors from the whole world who come for the sunny skies, Mediterranean climate and vegetation, beautiful beaches, quaint historic Old Town, marina, botanical garden, luxurious villas, hotels and casinos, its Carnival and various farmers and flowers markets.

The city—among the country's largest regional metropolises with 350K inhabitants—is also at the heart of France's equivalent to Silicon Valley, site of several major educational institutions: the Université Nice-Sophia-Antipolis, the EDHEC Business School.
Students will revel in the city’s glorious Belle Epoque architecture, its bayside boulevard (Promenade des Anglais), its many historical buildings and pedestrian areas such as Masséna Square. Nice and its vicinity host a myriad of summer festivals and cultural events (open-air concerts, operas and other performances); over a dozen museums reflect the influence of artists who lived and worked there, including Picasso, Chagall, and Matisse.

Sports and outdoors enthusiasts will appreciate the area's legendary beaches, and the Mediterranean waterfront with paths on which to walk, run or ride a bike by the sea. Other possible activities include hiking in the Alps (a short train ride away), horse riding, snorkling, canyoning, hand-gliding or rafting. The Alliance Française, where classes are held, is only 10 minutes away from either the train station or the Promenade des Anglais.

While in Nice and during their free time, students will also have the opportunity to travel to the glamorous city of Cannes (the world famous movie festival will be held on May 09-20), as well as Saint Tropez, Menton, or France’s second largest city, Marseille, only 2 hours away by train. The city offers great transportation services such as buses, tramways, city bikes and Uber service.


Dorothée Polanz | | Foreign Languages, Literatures and Cultures


Students stay with host families in furnished apartments and houses with internet access and laundry facilities. Each student is placed individually in a family and will have his/her private room. Homestays allow students to immerse more fully in French life and culture. All host families are carefully selected by the Alliance française de Nice, and reside close to the school, right at the center of town. We do our very best to accommodate student's lifestyle or health-related requests such as nonsmoking environments or special dietary needs.

Students will be given breakfast and dinner in their host family accommodations. Students should plan to spend their own money each day to cover the cost of lunch, but will be invited to a group lunch in a local restaurant with the program's director every week.

Additional Items to Consider

Students should plan to arrive on Friday the 11th (May) in the afternoon, at the hotel Monsigny, 5 minutes away from the train station. We will all stay at the hotel until Sunday the 13th, when host families will come to pick up students. Program ends on Friday the 22nd (June) and students may leave the next day.

Only 4 miles away from the town center, Nice’s international airport provides direct flights from/to the US and numerous major airports worldwide. Traveling overseas is best prepared well ahead of time. On the following websites, you will find useful information about coming to Nice:
- Nice area visitors bureau: 
- French Ministry of Foreign Affairs: 
- Campus France Agency for foreign students: 

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Applicant Criteria

Applicants must have a GPA minimum of 2.0

At least one year of high school French is required

All undergraduate levels welcomed

Application Process

This list serves as an application preview. To apply, students will need to complete the following:

  • Study Abroad Online Application ($25 fee)
  • Short Essay 
  • Faculty Letter of Recommendation
  • Interview with Program Director may be required
  • Official transcript required for non-JMU students

Further details and instructions about these application requirements will be available upon log-in. 

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Application Deadline


All dates are tentative and subject to change


FR 101: Elementary French I (3 credits)

FR 102: Elementary French II (3 credits)

FR 109: Accelerated Review of Elementary French (3 credits)

FR 231: Intermediate French I (3 credits)

FR 232: Intermediate French II (3 credits)

FR 300: Grammar and Communication (3 credits)

HUM 251: Birth of the Modern in France (1880-1936) - Innovation, Resistance and Paradox (3 credits) Gen-Ed, taught in English

Courses listed here are to be used as a general guideline for program curriculum. *All courses are considered pending until approved by the Academic Department, Program, and/or College.


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