FRANCE - Aix-en-Provence
The Aix Center - Institute for American Universities
Fall: September - December
Spring: January - May
Spend a semester in the south of France! This opportunity is available to you through the LaSallian Study Abroad Consortium by Saint Mary’s University of California, which offers semester programs at the Institute for American Universities.
Designed for all majors, the Aix Center is renowned for its founding philosophy of making it possible for students with beginning French language skills to study in France. The structure of its program, which combines French language study with a range of liberal arts courses taught in both English and French, has opened the doors of cross-cultural learning to thousands of students who would otherwise have been denied the opportunity to study abroad. Proud of this heritage, IAU continues to work with colleges and universities throughout the United States to create opportunities for all students.
IAU requires all students without prior background in French to take at least two introductory French language courses per semester in addition to their courses conducted in English. Intermediate-level French students complement at least one language course with liberal arts courses taught in English or French, while students with advanced French competency may elect to take all of their courses in French.
The neighboring French university, the Université d'Aix-Marseille I, provides additional enrichment opportunities. Local university students participate with IAU students in a language partners program of mutual English and French improvement, and with the approval of IAU's academic dean, qualified IAU students may enroll in courses at the university. From their first encounter, Anglophone and Francophone students help one another by sharing their expertise in their native tongues. Students from the Aix Center may also take advantage of volunteer opportunities in local elementary schools.
The renovated Chapelle des Pénitents Bleus serves as the headquarters of the Aix Center. Located in the heart of the old city of Aix, the chapel houses classrooms; a library with a permanent collection, electronic databases, and reading rooms; a student lounge, and administrative offices. Classes are also held in the presbytery next to the CathédraleSaint-Sauveur as well as in a nearby townhouse directly facing the magnificent 13th century façade of the cathedral. The townhouse also contains IAU's central administration. Wireless high-speed Internet access is available in and near the chapel and the townhouse.
Being a university town, Aix-en-Provence provides a natural intellectual environment from which the Institute for American Universities benefits and to which it contributes. The many concerts, summer festivals, libraries, museums, bookstores, markets, and cafés have earned Aix its reputation as one of France's most engaging cities. This is a city whose diverse offerings are easily accessible for students-it is small enough that one can walk across the main part of town in 15 minutes. Aix is emphatically not, however, a sleepy village. It bustles with pedestrians, cars, mopeds, and the voices of its inhabitant.
The classes are in English or in French. You may choose the courses that best meet your individual academic and personal needs. As a part of your course load, which will be fifteen semester credits, you must take at least one course in French language at your level. IAU and Lewis require all students without prior background in French to take at least two introductory French language courses per semester in addition to their courses conducted in English. Intermediate-level French students complement at least one language course with liberal arts courses taught in English or French, while students with advanced French competency may elect to take all of their courses in French. The curriculum is broad, offering:
- Art History
- Studio Art
- French Language, Literature, and Civilization
- European/international studies and social sciences
- Comparative Literature
- Political Science
Students are generally housed in the homes of French host families, though independent living arrangements can be made when necessary. Living in a French home is considered the best form of housing because it provides an immediate introduction to life in this new place.
"Family" should not be interpreted too narrowly. Increasingly, about 50% of IAU's host families are childless couples or divorced women with children who enjoy having a student living with them. Host families come from a cross-section of society; they belong to no particular professional or social milieu, but all are carefully chosen and many have hosted American students for several years. Students find that speaking French at home is the single greatest factor in increasing their facility with the language.
Daily continental breakfasts and most dinners are taken in the student's French home. Students are responsible for lunches. There is a multitude of affordable cafés, brasseries, small sandwich and grocery shops from which to choose. Many other food markets are available around town during the week.
For the current program charge amount, please contact the International Study Abroad office. The program charge includes Lewis tuition, accommodation in a homestay, breakfasts, most dinners, program-sponsored excursions, on-site orientation, medical insurance, and a mandatory $300 Lewis Study Abroad fee.
The program charge does not include airfare, passport and visa fees, additional meals, supplies, and personal expenses.
Program charges are based on costs of the prior year, as well as projections for the current and coming years. Inflation and fluctuating exchange rates make it difficult to state a fixed cost. Lewis University, therefore, reserves the right to adjust program fees and the right to cancel or alter programs and courses.
To be eligible, you must be a Lewis student with at least a 3.0 GPA who has Sophomore, Junior, or first semester Senior standing or will have that standing when you participate. There is no language prerequisite for this program.
Please click on the Application Process link in the left column to learn more about the application process and what other materials are required. If you are ready to apply, then click on the Apply Now! button.