Program Overview

Warm up your winter break by traveling through the picturesque hillsides of France and Spain as you study the wine business! This specialized travel-based January study abroad program will take you through popular wine regions where you will examine the individuality and expression of this exquisitely refined product, learn about wine pairing, and study the tourism industry. Among the various program destinations are some of the Mediterranean’s top destinations, including Barcelona, Marseille, and Aix-en-Provence. Coursework credit can be awarded in: Business, Wine Studies, Marketing, Geography, Hospitality Management, Environmental Studies, and International Relations.

GPA Requirement
Application Deadlines
October 1
Avg Course Load
1 class (3 U.S. credits)
Language(s) of Instruction
  • Chance to speak directly with winemakers, master chefs, and tourism agencies
  • Experienced program instructor with fifteen years in the international wine industry
  • Six wine regions, each with a unique novelty
  • Variety of courses, including wine studies, cultural studies, and hospitality management
Your Journey Begins Here
  • Connect with your Global Advisor to start planning. Apply by the application deadline.
  • Meet your Program Coordinator to finalize acceptance paperwork, housing, courses, flights, visas, payments, etc. Attend a pre-departure orientation.
  • Fly away. You'll be greeted at the airport, participate in a robust On-site Orientation and La Vida Local Curriculum with your Site Director.



IAU College, a not-for-profit institution of higher education, has been operating study abroad programs for US college and university students since 1957. IAU College has received students from more than 700 colleges and universities, with over 20,000 participants over its long history. The oldest and largest American institute in southern France, IAU College has recently expanded program offerings outside of France to compare and contrast the languages, cultures, landscapes, and contemporary issues within and between broader European and African locations and contexts.

With operation bases in both the US and France, as well as staff and faculty who travel to and research throughout much of Europe and Africa, IAU College’s programs offer a unique cross-cultural perspective. While proud of their French foundation, IAU College are equally enthusiastic about their multi-disciplinary and comparative multi-country study abroad programs. Through intensive study, travel, and reflection, IAU College’s thematic traveling programs allow students to gain leaps and bounds personally, academically, socially, and culturally. IAU College continually strives to deliver on its mission of providing “an international education that inspires intercultural awareness and prepares students for responsible roles in a global community through the study of European and Mediterranean history, languages, cultures, and contemporary issues.”

CIS Abroad is proud to collaborate with IAU College to offer this unique “traveling seminar” or travel-study program.

Accreditation(s): IAU College (formerly the Institute for American Universities) holds an Absolute Charter awarded by the Regents of the State University of New York, is registered with the French Ministry of Education and recognized by the Recteur of the Université d’Aix-Marseille.

How to Choose Your Courses

Now the fun part! You get to pick the courses you will take abroad. Review the course information on this page. Once you’ve decided which courses you want to take, fill out the CISabroad Course Selection Worksheet in your online portal.

Course Approval

Make sure to talk with your home university about course approval and get additional classes approved before you go abroad. For example, if you are taking 4 classes abroad, we recommend getting 8 approved. This gives you some flexibility in setting up your class schedule. Think about courses required for your major, but also courses that fulfill your elective requirements.

GPA Requirement

If you find your GPA is lower than the requirement listed at the top of this page, do not despair! Get in touch to let us know your situation. In many cases, there are additional application materials that you can submit to make your case for acceptance.

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Choose Your Courses

Choose your courses, making sure to get them approved by your home university and then fill out the Course Selection Worksheet in your portal.

Life in Barcelona and Aix-en-Provence

Welcome and Orientation

You’ll kick off this epic and engaging January travel-study program in the form of a comprehensive orientation. Meet your fellow students and the professors and program leaders. We’ll cover local topics such as culture and language, as well as rules, regulations, guidelines, and expectations of the program in general. As this program will allow you to experience first-hand the rich winemaking heritage of each location, we will set expectations on responsible and mature behavior, modeling that of Europeans who typically drink more moderately and responsibly than young Americans. We’ll combine elements of our group orientation with an experiential education in local culinary practices (read: tasty meal!) in the form of a welcome dinner in both program bases, Aix-en-Provence and Barcelona.

Farewell and Re-entry Program

While you may have a hard time leaving the Mediterranean and its exceptional people, places, and wine, we’ll make sure you can sufficiently reflect on all that you’ve experienced. We’ll gather you all together again for one last round of tasty tapas and fine wine. After an experience like this, we can’t prepare you enough for “reverse culture shock,” symptoms of which commonly include daydreaming, storytelling, and frequent hashing of plans for your next trip overseas. We’ll give you a sense of what to expect when returning home, as well as how to verbalize your experience in a resume and job interview, resources to stay involved in study abroad and a discount for a future program. We have plenty of programs that can take you back to places you visited on this program, and even more that will expose you to wonderful, new places and people!

Housing Options

Housing will be shared rooms with up to four people per room. Students will stay at hotels, hostels, student dorms, and/or homestays in each location. Breakfasts will be included most days.

student admiring ornate ceiling

Local Life

  • Wineries: Combining Craft and Business: Head out of your historic and pleasant program bases for the lush countryside. You'll visit a variety of wineries with both local and global reaches, allowing you to understand and appreciate the craft and business of winemaking. Topics include the international influence of the French and Spanish wine markets, the globalization of wine, and the tourism industry. And, yes, your palette will also be involved in much of the learning.
  • Southern France: Hub of Gastronomy and Wine: Yes, they still do business by the Mediterranean in southern France, despite strong desires to idle by the sea and stroll through fields of lavender... Due to its favorable Mediterranean climate and rich soils, Aix-en-Provence's rich food and wine heritage has justifiably so become a source of pride for residents, and increasingly sought after by outsiders. The tourism industry relies heavily on the region's reputation for fine food and wine - we think you'll understand why shortly into your visit...
  • Mediterranean Coastline and Culture: As this program will have you hugging the Mediterranean coast, there will be no shortage of incredible views, from the sandy beaches of Barcelona to the rugged cliffs of Cassis. Understandably so, the pace of life along the Mediterranean is a bit slower, so you'll be encouraged to practice both patience and mindfulness to fully appreciate these cultures. Both the sea itself as well as the climate have shaped resident cultures, resulting in a similar diet and lifestyle across otherwise diverse peoples.

More About Barcelona and Aix-en-Provence

Your journey into the heart of France and Spain's wine-producing regions begins in Barcelona. Barcelona offers the perfect base from which to explore Spanish viticulture. You'll have the chance to visit Barcelona's distinct neighborhoods and sample Spanish wine for yourself in one of its many bodegas. A tour of a winery in the Penedès region awaits when you strike out from Barcelona into the nearby wine-producing regions.

Though the Spanish are experts in wine production, France also produces some of the most recognizable wines in the world. Aix-en-Provence (or simply "Aix"). The winding streets of Aix are often filled with visitors from around the world. They come to shop in its vibrant markets full of beautiful produce, view the works of Paul Cézanne, and of course, taste the region's wine. Despite its global appeal, Aix maintains a small-town feel. You can walk to the center of town in just fifteen minutes.

Your Support Staff

Global Advising Team

Travel Tip: We love what we do and want to talk to you! The Global Advising Center is here to help you decide on a program, and complete the Online Application. From the moment you first hear from us be it through a phone call, email or personal visit, you will find that our passion for international education is contagious. We’re ready to launch you abroad.

Zachary Bookman
Program Enrollment Coordinator - Europe

Travel Tip: Try that strange-looking food. Learn to navigate the city with public transportation. Interact with the locals. Pushing through what can sometimes be uncomfortable situations can be the best way to experience a culture and eventually feel at home in it.

Learn more about Zachary

Amy Mumma

Travel Tip: Before your tastings of wine and food, please don’t drink very cold or very hot beverages. This will numb your taste buds, along with too much spicy food.

Program Fees & Dates

Advisor Tip: Please do not book flights until you have received confirmed dates in your acceptance paperwork. Dates posted here are subject to change.

  • January 2020
    Application Deadline
    October 1
    December 28 (Estimated)
    January 14 (Estimated)
    $6,290 (Estimated)

CIS Abroad reserves the right to alter fees at any time due to currency fluctuations and/or fee changes made by our partner universities.

Program Inclusions

As with all study abroad programs, you should count on a few additional expenses.

Program fees are in US dollars and include the following:

  • Cities on the itinerary are Barcelona, Costa Brava, Aix-en-Provence, Marseille, Sauze, and Cassis
  • Visits to the Notre Dame, wine tasting, chocolate shops, and outdoor market
  • All program-related travel (except round-trip airfare from the US)
  • Breakfast daily and most dinners
  • Housing
  • Medical and accident insurance
  • CISabroad support before, during, and after the program
  • Academic advising
  • Financial aid counseling
  • Assistance with travel arrangements
  • Pre-departure orientation
  • On-site orientation
  • Tuition and fees
  • IAU College official transcript
  • La Vida Local cultural program