french immersion courses2

The 20 Best French Immersion Programs for Fast Fluency (Updated for 2022)

If you really want to get fluent, at some point you’ll need to learn French immersion-style.

Immersion can cement solid language habits and help turn you into a natural-sounding Francophone, i.e., a genuine speaker of French!

In this post, I’ll list some amazing French immersion courses that can accelerate your journey to true fluency.

I focused on five major factors: location, price, accommodation options and immersion “extras,” plus reviews from actual students.

The list also includes programs from other countries aside from France so you can have tons of options. 

Contents

French Immersion Programs in France

1. Eurolingua

Location: Various locations in France as well as Quebec, Canada and Switzerland  

Cost: School-based classes start at €295 ($300) per week; homestay program starts as low as €1,395 ($1,421) for one week

Description: Hosting robust immersion programs in a large spread of French-speaking regions, Eurolingua can be a great starting point for learners who aren’t sure where they should take their studies.

You can go for typical group classes in one of Eurolingua’s schools, located in France, Quebec and Switzerland. These follow a set lesson agenda and include language learning resources from the Eurolingua center itself.

However, of special interest is the one-to-one homestay program, which lets you live and learn with a native French speaker. You can have more freedom in deciding what to learn and get plenty of individual training. Your host can also incorporate cultural and social activities alongside your lessons so that you can enjoy what the locale has to offer.

2. The American University of Paris

Location: Paris

Cost: €2,012 ($2,050) for auditing classes or  €4,024 ($4,101) for getting course credits, not including accommodations

Description: The American University, an accredited private university in Paris, offers a three-week summer French immersion course. There is no work placement, but if you go to Paris with a working-holiday visa, it should be easy to find work following the course.

During the tourist-heavy summer months, many restaurants and cafés look for bilingual students to work part-time!

3. CAVILAM

Location: Vichy

Cost: Around €1,343 ($1,368) per week, plus accommodations.

Description: This program, brought to you by the Alliance Française, offers courses for a variety of learning needs—from academic French, to professional French, to a “super intensive” general language course.

The program is pricey, but can help prepare you for official examinations (DELF/DALF). They even have specialized courses like French and gastronomy and French for seniors.

Homestays with local families are available upon request. The great thing is that courses start the first Monday of each month all year round (except for complete beginners), making it quite flexible for your scheduling needs.

4. ILA France

Location: Montpellier

Cost: Can start as low as €150 ($153) per week, not including accommodations

Description: Offering a variety of programs for teenagers, adults and even seniors, ILA (Institut Linguistique Adenet) aims to let students study the language both in and out of the classroom. Alongside language classes, the institute also offers activities and promotes excursions so that you can explore the region and your French skills.

Learners of all levels are welcome. Group courses can include up to 10 students, but there’s also an option for private training. There’s even a special program option that includes cooking courses (French cuisine truly isn’t something to miss).

Residence options include a homestay, student residence, apartment or campus dorm room.

5. EF Languages Abroad

Location: Paris, Saint-Raphaël or Nice

Cost: Can start as low as $1,470 for 2 weeks

Description: EF Abroad offers French immersion programs for learners of nearly any age. They can be customized by length (two to 52 weeks) and the type of language courses you receive (basic, general or intensive), alongside special interest classes of your choosing. You study in a set EF campus and you can live in a homestay or a shared residence with fellow students.

The program gets intakes every Monday throughout the year, so you can decide when you want to start the program.

You can also choose to receive an internship or volunteer experience during your time abroad. These options are a tad more expensive than regular courses.

6. Coeur de France

Location: Sancerre

Cost: Prices vary depending on program type and length, but may start at €440 ($448) for a week of study.

Description: This private language school operates group, family and private immersion courses in the heart of a small French town. Here, you can spend one to eight weeks studying French in a cozy but intensive environment.

The school makes sure you apply your studies by including immersion excursions into the nearby village. This also includes after-class activities in which you much carry out tasks alone, such as buying items or talking to natives, all while being watched by a staff member.

Homestay accommodation isn’t offered, but you can live in apartments located at the school or around the area. Also note that meals are not provided.

7. Institut de Français on the French Riviera

french immersion programs

Location: Villefranche-sur-Mer

Cost: €2,900 to €5,800 ($2,955 to $5,910), not including accommodations

Description: Although it runs for a maximum of only four weeks, this program makes sure every day is put to good use. It utilizes a “total approach” that makes sure you’re engaging with the French language in all kinds of scenarios, both in and out of the classroom. Classes run for more than eight hours daily and every day includes discussions, meals and teacher-student tea sessions.

The program accepts any applicant age 21 or older. It also runs year-round—if four weeks is too long, you can choose to study for only two or three weeks.

You can live in either a community studio apartment or a private apartment (for one to two persons).

8. Accent Français

Location: Montpellier

Cost: Can start as low as €150 ($153) per week, not including accommodations

Description: The Accent Français school’s immersion courses are quite inclusive, allowing adults, professionals and teens to choose programs that suit their learning needs.

Adults can decide on the intensity of their lessons and the overall length of their chosen program. Complementary activities and test preparation resources are offered as well. There are also “French +” programs that combine language studies with special interests, including business, sciences, cooking, work experience and even yoga.

The school’s pricing system makes it so that your tuition decreases the more weeks you sign up for. Keep in mind that accommodations come with their own separate costs. Your options include homestay, private studios and tourist residences (which resemble hotels).

9. SL Immersion

Location: Various locations in France

Cost: Depends on teacher, location and length of stay

Description: This program has a unique approach when it comes to personalizing your immersion studies. You can provide details on your language level, lesson preferences and desired length of stay. You can then find a certified teacher with whom you’ll effectively live and learn with, wherever their home resides.

Besides being your language instructor, your host can also serve as a tour guide to the local region. Note that, due to bookings from other students, certain teachers may only be available for certain dates.

10. Millefeuille Provence

Location: Saint-Geniès-de-Comolas

Cost: €1,695 ($1,727) per week to €3,655 ($3,724) per week, not including accommodations.

Description: The Millefeuille Provence school hosts three types of immersion courses for adult learners. The “Maxilangue” program is the standard, consisting of small group classes, workshops and weekly activities. The next is “Maxilangue Combiné” which is tailored to avid learners and includes time for individual lessons. The last is “Maxilangue +” and it focuses on those who need to learn French for professional reasons.

Any of the courses will ensure you get plenty of interaction and conversation with native French speakers. To immerse you further in the language and culture, there are also bonus activities, such as conferences, social activities and regional exploration.

Your residence will be within the school property itself: A lovely old chateau near hills and vineyards.

French Immersion Programs in Canada

11. Explore

Location: Various locations in Canada

Cost: If you are a Canadian citizen, you may be awarded a bursary that covers the majority of your expenses. You may also be eligible for various travel discounts. If you are not eligible for a bursary, you will be more limited in your choice of institutions and the full price of the program may range from CAD $3,000 to 4,000 (US $2,333 to $3,111), but remember, you can make your money back working!

Description: Explore is a French-language immersion program offered by the CMEC (Council of Ministers of Education, Canada).

You can sign up for full-time spring and summer immersion sessions at accredited Francophone universities, along with homestays at some locations and work placement options following the program. Pick from over 20 locations, ranging from small towns to metropolitan Montreal, to study, live and work in French!

12. Edu-Inter

Location: Quebec City

Cost: Can start as low as about CAD $245 (US $190) per week, not including accommodations

Description: Edu-Inter offers comprehensive French immersion courses for teenagers and adults, where you have the option of specializing in various subjects, such as business and music.

All courses have mandatory workshops and conferences on the French language and culture. The program offers homestays with local families right in Quebec City.

13. BLI

Location: Montreal or Quebec City

Cost: Can start as low as roughly CAD $470 (US $366) for two weeks (not including accommodations)

Description: BLI lets beginner to advanced learners study in one of two Canadian cities. You can choose what kind of class schedule you’d like, from a “part-time” schedule of 18 lessons per week up to a “super intensive” schedule of 35 lessons per week.

The programs are available year-round, and when you apply, you can choose to study for a minimum of 1 week to a maximum of 52 weeks. To make your immersion experience even more engaging, the language school also offers supervised after-school activities and weekend outings that let you explore the city surroundings.

Your accommodation options include a homestay, student residence or a studio apartment (only in Montreal).

14. Université Sainte-Anne

Location: Church Point

Cost: Can start as low as CAD $3,828 (US $2,977) for Canadian students or CAD $4,198 (US $3,265) for international students.

Description: This university offers five-week summer and spring immersion sessions for both university students and adults. As soon as the session starts, you must sign a pledge that states you will only communicate in French throughout the program. Sounds intimidating, but it’s clear that immersion is truly the key focus!

Your schedule will consist of classes, workshops, social events and outdoor activities. At the end of the program, you’ll be awarded a French-level certificate that can come in handy for school or job applications.

Your accommodations (and meals) will be within the school campus itself.

15. École Québec Monde

Location: Quebec City

Cost: Can start as low as CAD $29 (US $229) per week and as high as CAD $925 (US $719) per week, not including accommodations.

Description: Adults 18 years and over can head over to École Québec Monde for intensive and personalized French lessons focused on communication. You’ll be taught by a devoted and qualified staff who encourage you to engage strictly in the French language.

Both individual and small group classes start at the halfway mark of the year (June to August). Students are placed into homestays with hosts that can deepen their understanding and appreciation of everyday life in Quebec.

French Immersion Programs in Belgium and Switzerland

16. Alpadia Language Schools

Location: Montreux, Switzerland or Lyon, France 

Cost: 230 CHF ($241) per week in Montreux or €175 ($178) per week in Lyon, neither including accommodations

Description: Alpadia’s programs are highly customizable. Both private lessons and small-group classes are offered. You can choose a short-term program focused on exam preparation or go for a more general, longer-length one. It’s also possible to ask for a special agenda that includes work or volunteer experience.

Outdoor activities are also organized so that you can explore and bask in what your host city has to offer.

When it comes to accommodations, you also have plenty of choices. Options include a homestay, studio apartment, student residence and bed-and-breakfast hotel.

17. Swiss French School

Location: Montreaux or Lausanne, Switzerland 

Cost: Starts at 355 CHF ($369) per week for classes. 

Description: For French immersion programs in Switzerland, the Swiss French School is a top choice, with intensive French classes in Montreux and Lausanne.

Classes usually have around four to eight students, running from 9 AM to 12 noon every weekday. As a language center, the Swiss French School focuses heavily on  speaking so you’ll have plenty of conversational exercises, with optional online lessons and trips after class.  

Their intensive French classes range from two to 12 weeks long, and they’re available all year round. Accommodations aren’t included, but the school has a list of apartments, hotels and room rentals that you can browse through.

18. Learn French at Home

french immersion programs

Location: Saint-Aubin, Switzerland or Hautes-Pyrénées, France

Cost: Starts at 2,200 CHF ($2,288) for one week

Description: Aside from French lessons over Zoom and Skype, Learn French at Home also has one-week immersions that you can spend in either Switzerland or France.

For its immersion in Switzerland, you’ll get to stay with a French teacher for one or two weeks in a picturesque region of Saint-Aubin, Switzerland.

Although you can customize your lessons, a standard immersion usually includes around two to three hours of lessons each day, plus you can also explore the area and have meals with the teacher’s friends or family members for added practice.

It’s a complete package that covers classes, accommodations and even food so you can focus on improving your French. 

19. CERAN

Location: Various locations in Belgium and France

Cost: Starts at around $3,800 for a one-week course.

Description: CERAN specializes in short-term language immersion and cultural training courses that typically last three days up to a week.

For French, its flagship program is in Spa, which is a UNESCO Heritage Site that attracts a lot of health and wellness tourists (so you can do a lot of relaxing while studying!). It also has programs in other parts of Belgium such as Antwerp and Brussels as well as France.

Since each course lasts for only several days at most, you’ll spend several hours each day in class, with cultural activities at night. Given the price, accommodations are very comfortable—in Spa, for example, you’ll have access to a tennis court, game lounges and a jacuzzi and sauna.   

20. DialoguE

Cost: €2,900 to €4,100 ($2,954 to $4,177) per week

Location: Visé, Belgium or Brittany, France

Description: This is a customizable French immersion program with an on-site homestay included. This is one of the most expensive programs on the list, but the school’s small, intensive environment provides the ideal learning opportunity for students who seek a true immersion experience.

Why Go Total French Immersion?

Bonne question (good question)! Learning French through immersion will enrich your connection with the French language and, of course, your language skills. Let’s look at two specific advantages that a French immersion course and experience will give you.

Access to French 24/7

In an immersion environment, you will be speaking, listening and reading in French nearly 100% of the time. It’s one thing to go to a language class. It’s completely different to turn your life into a full-time language class.

In true French immersion, you are not allowed to speak English… with anyone, period. This can be a bit uncomfortable at first, especially for beginners, but that’s the whole point! Never forget that learning a language also means learning to accept and work with discomfort. This pushes you to keep growing.

It’s okay not to know everything, but make sure to ask questions! You can bet that in a Francophone environment you will always have an answer to your comment dit-on… en français (how do you say… in French)? With open ears and an open mind, you will build your vocabulary and improve your pronunciation around the clock, seven days a week!

Not as expensive as you think

Many immersion courses cost the same as regular French-language courses, and as an added bonus, many provide paid work experience following academic courses, so you can make most (if not all) of your money back… while using your French!

It’s actually possible to try out immersion at little to no cost, no travel needed. 

You can also create your own immersion-from-home environment with simple practical methods. These can be as simple as switching your phone’s language settings to French, reading French books or talking to a French buddy in their language. Consuming native French media is also a popular way to learn the language as natives speak it, but without study aids, it can be hard to follow along.

For more tailored instruction, you can opt for an online immersion program that’s affordable and quick to access. For example, FluentU lets you learn with authentic French videos made for native speakers, like commercials, news snippets and music. Each video comes with interactive subtitles that explain vocabulary, and the integrated video dictionary lets you see how words are used in other clips: 

fluentu-french-lesson

This lets you learn natural-sounding French in context, which you can then review with quizzes that also test your writing and speaking skills.

FluentU has a web platform as well as a mobile app (Android or iOS). 

Quick results

It’s no secret that immersion is one of the most effective strategies for language acquisition. It’s hard to learn a language in isolation.

When you learn French through immersion, you get quick results in your language progress, even within the span of an hour. It’s quite amazing! You may not notice it at first. However, all of those around you, including teachers and classmates, certainly will.

With these rapid results, you will gradually develop a “French brain,” or the ability to think and speak in French naturally without the French to English translation process, which will, in turn, give you the ability to speak faster and to follow conversations much more quickly.

Eventually, you will notice that you are even speaking to yourself in French! Over time, you will begin to feel, dream, think and perhaps even experience life as a Francophone would… awesome? Mais oui ! (Oh yes!)

Open to all ages and language levels

Never forget that immersion is for anyone and everyone. French immersion courses are abundant at the college/university level (and, increasingly, at the school level as well) but there is also an array of private language schools that provide intensive French immersion courses for all ages, occupations and nationalities.

Immersion is also good for all language levels. For beginners, learning French in an immersion setting develops listening and comprehension. Intermediate and advanced learners, on the other hand, get access to a 100% Francophone environment where they are challenged to speak and express themselves.

Although it can prove difficult to adhere to the “100% French” rule, the quick results you get are worth it.

What to Look for in a French Immersion Course

My list covers some of the best courses around, but you may want to explore your options further.

French immersion courses are abundant these days, but the key to a successful immersion experience, one that really “sticks,” is a course that also provides you with a real-life experience of some kind. This means using your French outside of the classroom, which can be accomplished with one or both of the following:

  • A family homestay during your immersion course.
  • A direct work experience during your course or a work placement following your course.

You’ll notice that my list includes a number of options that offer one or the other. I consider these the two “make or break” elements because you need to make sure you put your French to practice in real-life situations, either at home with a local host family or at work. So give preference to courses that have one or both of these elements incorporated, as these are what will provide you with an all-around immersion experience (and also lasting memories!).

Attention (Caution): Make sure to research any immersion school or program before dishing out your cash. Keep an eye out for programs that only offer something like two-hour “on-site” language training, as these are simply language courses and not immersion programs. Read the program descriptions thoroughly and ask questions.

 

French immersion learning, anyone? Sign me up!

Explore your possibilities and never forget that you need to practice, practice and practice in order to build fluency in French.

A French immersion course will put you right on track. So start filling up that piggy bank to save for your French-language adventure.

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