9 Excellent Reasons to Spend Your Summer Abroad in the South of France

9 Excellent Reasons to Spend Your Summer Abroad in the South of France

Did you even need any convincing? Leave Paris to the herds of tourists, we’re just fine here in Provence! Summer study in Aix-en-Provence with the AUCP is not only a chance to explore the most coveted region of France, it is an opportunity to immerse yourself in the French language and culture. Here are 9 reasons why studying abroad in Aix with the AUCP is the perfect way to spend your Summer.


1.  Here, enfin, is your chance for French fluency!

parlezvousfrancaisAre you a francophile at heart with dreams of study abroad and French immersion, but just can’t figure out how to fit more French classes or a semester abroad into your already jam-packed schedule? The AUCP Summer in Provence program is an ideal option for non-French majors or those hoping to pursue a French minor. In just six weeks, you’ll earn the equivalent of two semesters of college French, and have a one-of-a-kind study abroad experience without falling behind on your other requirements. As an AUCP Summer student, you’ll also have many of the advantages of a semester program with the AUCP: the French language pledge, the individual French homestay, meeting French students and classes all in French… You’ll be immersed in the French language and culture during your stay in Aix, where unlike Paris, the locals will rarely try to speak English with you.


2.  Six Weeks – Six Credits


As an AUCP Summer student, you work hard to play hard. In just six weeks you can earn six credits, or the equivalent of two college classes. That’s a year of French! Get a jump start in your French language studies with AUCP’s Creative Expression and Precision Reporting classes. In Creative Expression, you’ll expand your linguistic repertoire, focusing on descriptive writing inspired by the local people and setting. The Precision Reporting class develops students applied grammar, journalistic inquiry and English-French translation skills. And, you get more bang for their buck with the weekly Intercultural Communication seminar, which explores what it means to be French today.


3.  Long Summer Days

la soirée 1image via whitephotograph.com

Provence comes to life in the Summer. The café terrasses of Aix-en-Provence are full of peoplewatchers, drinking chilled Perrier or a glass of the region’s famed rosé wine. On the Summer solstice that falls at the halfway point of the six-week program, Aix-en-Provence gets more than 15 hours of daylight: the sun rises at 6 am, and doesn’t set until well past 9 pm (the photograph above was taken at 8:50pm, in the middle of the Summer)! After class, students have many hours of daylight left to stroll around town, settle in at a café, and people watch, alongside the French.


4. The Food

Market in Aix-en-Provencephotos via laylita.com

While Provence is well known for its fresh produce year-round, things really get colorful in the Summer. Ripe, juicy and above all, flavorful heirloom tomatoes, plump violet eggplants, crunchy vibrant bell peppers, sweet juicy apricots…and more! The daily open-air markets in Aix-en-Provence overflow with locally produced fruits and vegetables, each more fragrant and succulent than the rest. Many a student has come to Provence stating, « I’m not a big vegetable eater, » and leave changed thanks to the Provençal fruits and veggies! The AUCP’s optional Cooking in Season course with regionally renowned Chef Bruno Ungaro is the perfect opportunity to discover the nuances of French cuisine with the fresh and local seasonal ingredients.


5. The Mediterranean Sea

Beach Cassis Provenceimage via Cagnards.com

Ok, ok, we couldn’t really ignore this one. Aix-en-Provence is conveniently located near some of the most picturesque beaches on the Mediterranean Sea. From the fascinating rock formations of the Calanques (or Mediterranean fjords) of Cassis and the lively multi-cultural shores of Marseille, to the quaint beaches of Ensuès-la-Redonne, all less than 45 minutes away by bus or train, the clear, vibrant blue of the Mediterranean is a welcome sight on hot summer days. Visiting the beaches of Provence is also a great way to see the region: visit a sea-side village, then spend the afternoon at the beach!


6. Arts and Culture galore

Festival dAix by night - Archevecheimage via festival-aix.com

Between the Festival d’Avignon, a renowned theater festival just twenty minutes by train outside of Aix-en-Provence, and the Festival International d’Art Lyrique of Aix-en-Provence, the largest and most renowned Opera Festival in France, Aix is at the heart of culture in the Summer months. Many performances offer student discounts, and the AUCP Summer program includes a night at the opera, in the breathtaking outdoor Théâtre de l’Archevêché, that dates back to the 17th century! And, for music-lovers looking for more modern sounds, the streets of Aix come alive with singers and bands for the Fête de la Musique! It’s an annual French celebration of music where students can watch impromptu concerts in the street, for free!


7. The Lavender!

lavander senanqueimage via abbayedesenanque.com

Jean Giono, famed Provençal author, once wrote, « Lavender is the soul of Provence, » and he’s right. Lavender is incorporated in Provençal soaps, oils, creams and cuisine! You heard right, even cheeses, pies or chocolates get a lavender kick from time to time! And you’re in luck in the Summer, because the lavender hits full bloom from the last week of June to early July, right in the middle of the Summer program. One of the many regional excursions organized during the AUCP Summer program is a visit to the lavender fields of Valensole that stretch off into the horizon.


8. Discover the « real » Provence

AUCP Summer Students Luberonimage via AUCP photo archives

Provence is, without a doubt, a region that has inspired many an artist and author. The AUCP Summer learning experience extends beyond the classroom, to include regional excursions to authentic Provençal villages, the farmlands of Provence, cosmopolitan Marseille and local vineyards. Summer students discover Provence in all its splendor: through the language, the people, the landscapes and culture.


9. It’s not too late to apply!

Have we got you dreaming about Provence? Are you ready for an AUCP Summer experience of linguistic & cultural immersion?  We’re waiting for you! Express your interest today and get until to March 15th to complete your application.  Voilà ! Alors, qu’attendez-vous ?


What are you waiting for? To learn more about AUCP Summer, check out related posts on the blog, or, visit our website. Ready to go? Apply now!