Semester in France

Basic information

  • Location: Grenoble, France | Map
  • Dates: Every other year. Next scheduled for Fall 2024. Application deadline is February 15, 2024.
  • Class requirement: Sophomore
  • GPA requirement: 2.50+
  • Prerequisite courses:
  • Cost: To be announced

Everywhere you look, you'll see mountains: the Chartreuse range sits to the north and to the west towers the Vercors range; the Belledonne range fills in the view to the east. The Drac and Isère rivers intersect in the picturesque town of Grenoble, in a valley carved out by a glacier. Here, you will thrive as you deepen your understanding of the French language and culture.

The semester in France program partners with the Centre Universitaire d'Etudes Francaises at the Université Grenoble Alpes, where you will take courses in French language and culture. You'll also live with a local family and learn about the French way of life firsthand.

To watch student-made video about the semester in Grenoble, use the password "France"

"Vous Pensez, I Think" from Lucas da Silva on Vimeo.

How to apply

If you're interested in participating in this off-campus program, click the button below for a checklist that will walk you through the application process.

Apply to join
this program

In Pictures

Grenoble, France

This university town is known for its great museums, fine dining and active nightlife. It is also a booming center for scientific research and high-tech industry.

Things to do

While in Grenoble you can:

  • Ride the cable car up to the Bastille, and enjoy a gorgeous view of Grenoble
  • Take public transit to one of the many mountain hiking trails 
  • Rent a bike for the semester and make use of the extensive network of bike lanes and paths to get around the city quickly and safely.
  • Enjoy a wide range of traditional and avant-garde films, theater productions and concerts the city offers year-round

The program also includes excursions to regional destinations like Villard-de-Lans and the Chartreuse Mountains and extended trips to Paris/Versailles, Lyon and Taizé.

Approx. 158,000, with more than 500,000 in the metropolitan area.
Temperatures in Grenoble typically range from just below freezing in the winter to about 85°F (30°C) in the summer.

Program Profile: France

In most cases students adapt well to their circumstances, but it is helpful to know what to expect as you prepare for a specific experience. If you have specific questions about a program, we would encourage you to speak directly to your off-campus instructor or director or, feel free to stop by the OCP Office at any time.

Physical expectations: Moderate
Language Importance: High
Cultural acclimation difficulty: Low
Level of Cultural Interaction: Moderate
Safety & Security Considerations: Moderate

Health Considerations: Low
Mental Health Considerations: Moderate
Lodging: Host Families

Social Expectations: By their nature, semesters and interims off-campus are inherently social experiences. Heavy emphasis is usually put on building a strong sense of community within the group, which requires openness, sociability, and a collaborative spirit from everyone involved. Acknowledging that having a diversity of personalities makes a group stronger, it is expected that all participants willfully agree to be an active part of the social community of their interim or semester program.


Physical Expectations


These experiences require no more physical exertion than being on Calvin’s Campus. You don’t have to worry about doing anything physically demanding unless you want to. No physical preparation is required to make the most of this experience.


Moderate physical activity is expected and an average level of fitness is required. You will be doing a great deal more walking then on campus, often over uneven surfaces and rough roads. Some physical preparation is recommended before departure to make the most of this experience.


Be prepared for some serious physical activity requiring an above average level of fitness. This will include a high level of walking over all kinds of terrain as well as other physical demands in all kinds of extreme temperatures. The fitter you are, the more you’ll enjoy this experience as many activities will be challenging.


Language Importance


English is the predominant language in course location.


Knowing another language is helpful to fulfill the goals of the course but English is also prevalent in course location.

Knowing another language is important to fulfill the goals of the course.


Cultural Acclimation Difficulty


Western conveniences are prevalent. Host culture is very similar to traditions and culture of West Michigan.


Few western conveniences, the need for students to blend in with the surrounding culture is important. Host culture shares similarities and differences with the culture of West Michigan.

No western conveniences, the need for students to acclimatize to local culture is readily apparent. Host culture is vastly different than West Michigan.


Level of Cultural Interaction


Interaction with local culture is limited and very formal (e.g. through organized tours).


Intentional opportunities to interact with local peoples and culture.


Intensive immersion in local culture – host families, service-learning, etc.


Safety & Security Considerations

Although no one can guarantee your safety or eliminate all risks from a study-abroad experience, Calvin College is committed to doing its utmost to provide secure environments in which you can live and learn. Our goal is to minimize risks and keep you aware of special situations as you make decisions about studying off-campus.


Safety concerns are similar to living on campus. Incidents can happen anywhere, but there are no indications that you are more at risk during this experience then you would be at home. You always need to continually be aware of what is going on around you and partner with your Calvin instructor or director to assure your safety while off-campus.


There are no specific safety concerns of the U.S. State Department for the areas where you will be studying. However, additional care must be taken to assure a safe and secure experience. You always need to continually be aware of what is going on around you and partner with your Calvin instructor or director to assure your safety while off-campus.


There are safety concerns you should be aware of as you commit to this trip. The U.S. State Department has issued a Travel alert or Warning for the area where you will be studying. You will need to partner with Calvin in addressing safety concerns and follow all safety guidelines for the experience.


Health Considerations

Remember, Calvin follows the recommendations of the Center for Disease Control (CDC) for all Calvin sponsored off-campus experiences.


Health concerns are similar to living on campus. Illnesses and accidents can happen anywhere, but there are no indications that you are more at risk during this experience then you would be at home. Health Care resources (clinics, medical personnel, etc.) are numerous and you would have easy access to medical care if needed. Some vaccinations will be required, but overall precautions are minimal.


In general, health concerns are slightly higher than living on campus. Typical travel illnesses (diarrhea, intestinal issues, etc.) are often experienced and appropriate health care is available but can be harder to access than on campus. Several vaccinations may be required and students must be diligent in taking precautions before and during the experience.


Health concerns are higher than living on campus. Typical travel illnesses (diarrhea, intestinal issues, etc.) are often experienced at some point. Plans to assure adequate health care are in place but health care facilities could be hard to access during the experience. There may be many vaccinations required for the experience and students must be diligent in taking precautions before and during the experience.


Mental Health Considerations

Remember, the Broene Counseling Center cannot provide on-line or phone consultations with students.


Mental health resources are similar to living on the Calvin campus. Mental Health resources (clinics, counselors, etc.) are available and you would have access to these resources, if needed. It could be challenging to find the right resources on short notice and for a short period of time.


Mental health resources are present in various locations during the experience but maybe difficult to access for a variety of reasons.




Group will be camping (living outdoors) at times during the trip.

Host Families

Students will be staying with host families for parts or all of the experience.


Staying in College dorms, similar to Calvin. Roommates will be other Calvin students or other international students depending on your preference.


Dormitory style lodging, shared bathrooms.


Individual rooms (with roommates) and private baths.



Cost of off-campus experiences vary as a result of a number of factors, including the number of students enrolled in the program. Amidst all these factors, the following categories could be helpful, but students are encouraged to check with instructors and directors on specific cost information.


$ Within $500 of tuition, room & board on campus
$$ Between $501 and $2,000 of tuition, room and board on campus
$$$ More than $2,000 over tuition, room and board on campus


$ Less than $2,500
$$ $2,501 to $3,800
$$$ >$3,801


The France semester program is hosted at the Centre Universitaire d'Études Françaises. Students will earn 16 credit hours through CUEF and Calvin courses. Over the duration of this program, you will take one course from the program director:

  • STFR 330: Contemporary France - An introduction to contemporary French culture through readings, discussions with guest speakers, and excursions. Begins late August with an orientation in Paris and Grenoble. Fulfills Global Regions & Cultures core, as well as French minor and major requirements (4 credits)   

In addition, you will also take courses at CUEF on topics such as language, stylistics, translation, literature and culture. When you successfully complete these courses, you will receive credit for:

  • STFR 315: Advanced Language Study in France
  • STFR 316: Advanced Language Study in France II
  • STFR 381: Special Topics

Contact Jolene Vos-Camy for additional information concerning courses at the CUEF, and learn more about direct-enroll transfer credits in academic services.

Overall classroom “seat-time” will be greater than a regular semester at Calvin (potentially between 18.5 and 20.5 hours). Homework assignments for CUEF courses, however, are typically less demanding.


The grades from the course given by the program director will be factored into your GPA. Grades from courses taken at the CUEF will be listed on your transcript but will not factor into your GPA.


Home stay in a French household in Grenoble.


You must be of sophomore status and have a min. 2.5 GPA to study in France. Preference will be given to students studying French.


The final program cost is expected to be within $1,000 of Calvin tuition and room and board on campus. More specific cost information will be sent with your acceptance letter. The financial information page covers the details that go into the cost of the program and rough estimates for each. The cost for the France semester will include:

  • Tuition
  • Local transit
  • Room and board
  • Program-related excursions
  • Visa fees

Additional expenses not included in the program fee: books, medical insurance (required), passport, and personal spending money.


This year's application deadline has passed. Check back next year to apply.

Questions / contact

Professor Jolene Vos-Camy

Jolene Vos-Camy

Professor of French, Chevalière dans les Palmes Académiques
Full profile



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