Avignon, France

About Avignon

Avignon is a bustling university town with a large student population that provides a dynamic intellectual environment for study. In addition, it is a city of historic and cultural importance, with medieval walls, ancient bridges and aqueducts, the papal palace, and other important sites of architectural, historic or artistic importance. Avignon is situated in Provence, one of the most celebrated regions in France, renowned for its Mediterranean cuisine, its mild climate and its natural beauty that inspired painters like Cezanne and Van Gogh.

The Program

The Colleges have an affiliate relationship with the Institute for American Universities (IAU) based in Avignon in the south of France. IAU was founded in 1957 under the auspices of the Université d’ Aix-Marseille and has served more than 700 North American colleges and universities. The Avignon experience is designed for total immersion and is most appropriate for French majors or those with very advanced French language skills. Students in Avignon take all of their classes in French and agree to speak solely in French throughout the semester. Through their coursework, the homestay, internship options or enrollment at the local French university, students will be immersed in a way of life that will challenge them to broaden their perspectives while developing their linguistic and cross-cultural skills.


Student are required to take two language courses according to their level of proficiency: these will count as one language credit. Students will also take three electives in French language, literature, art history, history, politics, linguistics or philosophy from the regular IAU offerings, for a total of four credits for the semester. (Note that students who wish to take a course at the local University of Avignon may do so for an additional fee.) The following list gives some examples of electives typically available:

Contemporary French Civilization
Translation & Stylistics
Techniques in French Writing
Oral Techniques
Economics and Society in Europe & N. America
Changes in French Society 1945-present
The Experience of "La Traversee"
France as Seen Through Its Movies
Representation and Participation in Contemp. Democracies

Students may also elect a credit-bearing internship in lieu of an elective. Placement fields include small business, local government, not-for-profits, museums, bakeries, libraries, schools and medical offices, to name a few. (NOTE: these opportunities are competitive and not every student will be placed.) Finally, for those whose French language skills are advanced and who are willing to remain in Avignon through June, one course may be taken at the University of Avignon in the sciences, in French literature or history, or in the social sciences.

For more detailed information on curriculum and the Institute, students should review the IAU catalogue, Study Abroad in the South of France, available online at www.iaufrance.org/Avignon

Academic Focus

This program is particularly designed for students who wish to major or minor in French and Francophone studies. However, as the partial list of available electives and internships above indicates, this program can contribute to a variety of academic disciplines.


Students will live with host families, the best way to experience French daily life first-hand. Families are carefully chosen by the local housing coordinator who will make every effort to match students with families based upon their expressed preferences. Students will have breakfast and dinner with their host families and can take lunch near the Institute in bistros or cafes.


The Institute’s Office of Student Affairs sponsors an extensive calendar of activities and events, including weekend day trips to such places as the culturally diverse city of Marseille and the islands Les Baux de Provence. Other excursions may include wine tasting in Chateauneuf de Pape, the Roman monuments in Arles, castles, cloisters, museums and monuments. Students will have ample opportunity to explore Provence and other regions of France during weekends and breaks.

Going Abroad With the CGE

Students will be charged standard HWS tuition and room fees, a 2/3 board fee, and a $550 administrative fee. This will cover credit for a four-credit semester, course-related excursions, and homestay with partial board. Students should bring the remaining 1/3 board to cover meals not included (about $800). Additional expenses not covered include airfare, books, visa and personal expenses (laundry, entertainment, ground transportation and independent travel). We estimate airfare for this program at $800-$950 from the East Coast, books/other course materials at $225, and visa-related expenses at approxi- mately $280 (note that students are required to apply for their visa in person in New York City and will need to return there to pick up the visa—please budget accordingly, as these trips are not included in the $280 visa estimate.) It is difficult to give an accurate estimate of personal expenses because student spending habits differ considerably. We would suggest a minimum of $1,500 above and beyond meal expenses. However, students on a tight budget should be able to manage with less. If you are concerned about finances, we strongly encourage you to talk to the CGE staff who can offer information and advice based on your specific situation.


This program is open to sophomores, juniors and seniors in good academic and social standing with a minimum overall GPA of 3.0 and a minimum GPA of 3.0 in French. Students must have completed the equivalent of 5 semesters of college-level French. Due to the challenging nature of study abroad, student academic and disciplinary records will be carefully screened.


  • This program is offered every semester.
  • Applications are available at the Center for Global Education.
  • Applications are due at the CGE office on a selected date in October (for fall programs) and March (for spring programs). For specific dates contact the CGE.

NOTE: The information contained in this brochure is subject to change. Please see the CGE for more information.



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