Semester in Aix-en-Provence
Institut Américain Universitaire

Gap Year Friendly

Carve your own path in the south of France. C’est magnifique!

Spend your semester in beautiful Southern France! On our Semester in Aix-en-Provence program, live in this tree-lined, cobble-stoned cultural heart of France while studying at Institut Américain Universitaire (aka IAU College). To maximize your experience, opt for a certificate program in Global Wine Studies, Fine Arts, or French Honors (at a low additional cost). Or, consider adding an internship.

What to Expect:

  • Language: English and French
  • Average Courseload: 5 courses (15 U.S. credits)
  • GPA Requirement: 2.5
  • Visa Requirements: NONE Required! (Fall 2020 ONLY)


  • Diverse course offerings in English and full-immersion French studies
  • Volunteer opportunities including teaching English, olive picking, olive-tree trimming, and tree planting
  • Homestays with locals
  • Orientation in Paris, and trips to Nice, Fontaine de Vaucluse, Les Baux, and Le Luberon
  • Small, safe community in the stunning southern France

Program Details

IAU College - France

IAU College allows you to study abroad in the South of France, where you can enjoy an excellent education near the Mediterranean Sea. Since 1957, IAU has offered one of the longest-running education-abroad programs in Europe. Students respect the program for its intellectual substance and international focus. The campus is nestled in the charming, chic city and former medieval village of Aix-en-Provence, or “Aix,” as the locals call it.

You’ll have your pick of classes in humanities, social sciences, and fine arts. And, you can choose to take courses in English or French. Campus will certainly be your home away from home, which has a bustling student union, computer labs, and a medical center. Aix has become a university city, and another institute called the Sciences Po is located just across the cobblestoned street from IAU. This means you’ll easily meet local and international students literally on every corner! At breaks and mealtimes, a flood of university students hit the streets and congregate in the small, charming squares to discuss current events and grab their next espresso.

IAU holds an Absolute Charter awarded by the Regents of the State University of New York. Additionally, it is registered with the French Ministry of Education. The College is comprised of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, the Marchutz School of Fine Arts, the School of Business and the French Honors 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.

Areas of study which have more than 8 classes available

  • Art & Design
  • Humanities
  • French

Don't see your major listed here? There may still be courses available. Browse our programs by major.

Semester in Aix-en-Provence is housed at the School of Humanities and Social Sciences (SHSS). SHSS offers a wide variety of French language, literature, and culture courses, as well as content courses taught in English and French in the following disciplines: archeology, art history, business, civilization, comparative literature, economics, education, film, government, history, philosophy, political science, psychology, studio art, and theater. In addition, if your French is advanced (at least 4 college semesters of French or the equivalent), you are eligible to take courses taught in French at the University of Aix-Marseille, enroll in the French Honors Program, or take part in an academic internship.

Course descriptions and catalog: To see a list of courses offered at IAU College for the Fall 2020 semester, please click here  The Spring 2020 list can be found here for reference – the Spring 2021 list has not yet been finalized.

You can also click on this link to access IAU syllabi to help you get your courses approved at your homeschool.

You will be notified of what courses you are registered for approximately a month before the beginning of your program.

Helpful information:
You will be required to take at least one French-language course (you are living in France, after all). If you’ve never taken French, you’ll need to take a 6-credit introductory course, because we want you to know enough French to make the most of your time abroad!

Academic Internship:
If you have four or more semesters of college-level French language (some exceptions considered), you might consider adding an academic internship. The program places you in a field related to your studies at a local business or organization in Aix-en-Provence. You would spend roughly 12 – 15 hours per week at your host organization, which, when combined with an internship seminar and roughly two hours per week of internship-related academic activities, awards three academic credits. Please ask your CISabroad Global Advisor or Program Coordinator for details.

*Please note: An additional fee of $260 will be charged to all Semester in Aix-en-Provence students enrolling in a Marchutz studio art course.

Why Life in Aix-en-Provence

While Aix-en-Provence has always been at a crossroads, it remains an ancient yet youthful place of discovery. The city boasts one of the best universities in France, which warmly welcomes its students. Due to a growing number of international businesses planting themselves in the city, there’s been an influx of people from all over the world.

As a university town, Aix (pronounced like the letter “X”) naturally provides an intellectual environment. Aix has a reputation as one of France’s most engaging cities thanks to its concerts, summer festivals, libraries, museums, bookstores, markets, and cafés. Additionally, don’t forget a visit the spot where post-impressionist painter Paul Cezanne was born and created many beautiful works. In June and July, mark you calendar for the jazz and opera festivals that take over the city’s courtyards, outdoor theaters, and streets.

The city is easy to navigate. You can walk across the main part of town in fifteen minutes! Since Aix is close to the Mediterranean coast, you can enjoy beaches and seaside towns. If you want to travel the area, Aix-en-Provence offers a comprehensive system of trains, buses, and taxis. Furthermore, the nearby Marseille/Provence airport lets you take advantage of low-cost flights to the rest of Europe and Northern Africa.

Live La Vida Local

  • Marseille

    Take a bus to Marseille, France’s second-largest city with a diverse and vibrant culture. From there you can take a boat to the Chateau d’If, an ancient fortress-turned-prison that was the setting for The Count of Monte Cristo.

  • Lavender fields

    Visit the lavender fields in the summer, and try lavender ice cream or lavender honey.

  • Drink pastis

    Drink pastis, the local spirit made from star of anise. Just be sure to drink it the proper way and mix with water!

  • Route de Cezanne

    Follow the Route de Cezanne, the path of the famous artist inspired by the landscapes of Aix and admire the views from the same spot where he painted Mont Saint Victoire countless times.

  • Mont Saint Victoire

    Climb Mont Saint Victoire mountain, the major landmark of the Aix Region and Cézanne’s muse, which reaches an altitude of 1011 m.

  • Place des Prêcheurs

    Explore the open-air market in the Place des Prêcheurs that features produce and products from the region.

Homestay in Aix-En-Provence


During your time in Aix, you’ll live in a homestay with a French family located within walking distance of the program. Your French family could be any family configuration (i.e. single parent with children, multi-generational family, etc.) and you could be in a homestay with another international student. This homestay will be a key component of assimilating to life in Aix-en-Provence. Host families have been carefully selected, and many of them have hosted American students for several years. Many of the homes are a 15- to 35-minute walk to your courses on campus.

Your host family will provide bed linens, pillows, and blankets, although you will need to bring your own towel.

After studying abroad, many students report that homestays are their favorite part of the experience. You’ll become a part of the family, be able to improve your French, and get insiders tips for how best to enjoy Aix-en-Provence!

Pictured: Emilia Santana (Semester in Aix-en-Provence – Fall 2018) with her host mom Delphine. Read Emilia’s blog post about making the most of your homestay in France. 


Homestay families will provide breakfast daily and dinner six times a week. What a way to experience French food!

Inclusions and Amenities

  • Bed linens
  • Cleaning Service
  • CommuteWalking
  • Double Room
  • Laundry
  • MealsHomestay
  • Single Room
  • Wi-Fi

What's Included


Program fees are in U.S. dollars and include the following:

  • On-site orientation in Paris
  • Full-time tuition and fees
  • Housing (daily breakfast and 6 dinners per week)
  • Medical and accident insurance
  • CIS Abroad support services before, during, and after the program
  • Academic advising
  • Financial aid counseling
  • Assistance with travel arrangements
  • Pre-departure orientation
  • Airport pickup
  • Welcome and farewell dinners
  • 2 day trips
  • On-site support
  • La Vida Local cultural program
  • IAU College official transcript

Welcome & Orientation

Orientation to Aix-en-Provence kicks off with a welcome “apéritif” on the Sunday following arrival, during which students, staff and host families meet and mingle. On Monday, students are greeted by IAU’s President, Deans and Directors, and spend the day learning information such as adapting to living with your host family, staying safe while going out, joining sports teams and clubs, obtaining a cell phone or SIM card, adjusting course schedules, and getting to know your way around both the city and campus.

Farewell & Re-Entry Program

Though you’re not an astronaut returning from space, re-entering your home culture after being abroad can be shocking to the system. We’ll walk you through some of the things to expect and help you reflect on your time abroad so that you can remember the highlights. And of course – a wonderful farewell meal as you bid adieu to southern France.

Program Excursions

While participating on a CIS Abroad program, you'll be able to take part in built-in day trips at no additional cost. These trips are subject to change from term to term; listed below are excursions that have run in the past.


Escape to the Ardèche region in the fall semester for a literal breath of fresh air from the enduring summer temperatures in the south. Students may go rock climbing, caving, canoeing, hiking, swimming, or just amble through the beautiful forest.

Vars in the Hautes-Alpes

Vars in the Hautes-Alpes

Enjoy a weekend in the mountains during your spring semester. Students have the choice to go skiing, snowshoeing, hiking, or just to enjoy the cozy lodges in the mountains.

Moustiers & Gorges du Verdon

Moustiers & Gorges du Verdon

This summer excursion heads east into the Department of the Var, stopping to discover Moustiers Sainte Marie, a medieval village at the base of rocky cliffs. We’ll head to Lac de Sainte-Croix, a beautiful man-made lake at the entrance to the Gorges du Verdon, known for its beaches and water sports. On our return route, you’ll see some of the famous lavender fields that cover the plateau.

Site Director

Christelle Le Gars
Travel Tip:

If speaking French is a bit of a challenge, remember that a Bonjour or a Merci beaucoup from a smiling person always works out here in Aix! The light is just amazing in Provence: bring your camera, sketchbook or others to create great visuals from the South East of France. Marseille Provence Airport is next door – make the most of your stay by travelling during the weekend in Europe!

Travel Tip:

If speaking French is a bit of a challenge, remember that a Bonjour or a Merci beaucoup from a smiling person always works out here in Aix! The light is just amazing in Provence: bring your camera, sketchbook or others to create great visuals from the South East of France. Marseille Provence Airport is next door – make the most of your stay by travelling during the weekend in Europe!


Christelle Le Gars has been an administrative assistant at IAU since 2018, focused on aiding students with work-study, excursions and administrative requirements. Christelle Le Gars joined IAU after working in England for more than ten years in secondary schools specialized in international teaching and learning. She has a License in English studies (Lille 3 University) and an M.A. in Communication (Celsa, Paris Sorbonne). She is fluent in English and French.

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 text, phone call, email or personal visit—you will find that our passion for international education is contagious. We’re ready to launch you abroad.

Maggie McCally
Travel Tip:

Forgive yourself for not always knowing exactly what to do in a new place; if you’re humble, people will be happy to nudge you in the right direction. And always have a deck of cards in your backpack!

Katie Kirkland
Travel Tip:

Embrace the unexpected! Traveling to a new place is fun and exciting but you also have to be flexible and willing to adapt. Try new things that push you out of your comfort zone!

COVID-19 Plan

COVID-19 Plan

We believe that study abroad is still possible during the COVID-19 pandemic, but certain policies and procedures will need to be in place to ensure every student can be safe and healthy during their semester abroad.

We monitor international indicators and health standards in the country and our risk management team makes decisions based on those and our own policy. We will make a decision no less than 45 days before a program starts what options are available to you and what the contingency plan is for your program. We will do all that we can to support you during this time.

Learn more about CIS Abroad’s Risk Management Team’s three step process for operating  our programs around the world and important program refund policies.

Program Suspended

This program is currently not available for the Academic Year 2020/21. Please consider other options by exploring our Open Spring 2021 Programs or consider a Virtual Internship.

Dates & Prices

ADVISOR TIP: Please WAIT to book flights until you have received confirmed dates in your acceptance paperwork. Dates posted here are subject to change.

  • Application Deadline: Apr 15
  • Arrival: September 26
  • Departure: December 19
  • Price: $19,990 - $21,150
  • Application Deadline: Apr 15
  • Arrival: September 26
  • Departure: December 19
  • Price: $19,990 - $21,150
  • Application Deadline: Oct 1 (Estimated)
  • Arrival: January 18 (Estimated)
  • Departure: May 10 (Estimated)
  • Price: $19,990 - $21,090 (Estimated)
  • Application Deadline: Oct 1 (Estimated)
  • Arrival: January 23 (Estimated)
  • Departure: May 10 (Estimated)
  • Price: $19,990 - $21,090 (Estimated)
Additional Information:

School of Humanities and Social Sciences: Lower end of price range
Marchutz School of Fine Arts Option: Higher end of price range

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

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