22YO wants to study French in Paris

Hello BP Network,

My 22 year old daughter wants to go to Paris to study french before she goes to Law school in the US. She would probably have to go on a student visa or maybe as an AuPair? Her plan is to stay 6-12 months. Any french folks here who can recommend where to start?  Hoping we can get some leads and make this happen. Thank you!!

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Her first stop should be at the main visa website for France: france-visas. gouv.fr  

For a student visa she will likely need to find a program through Campus France which is the official agency that deals with foreign students: https://www.campusfrance. org

If she doesn’t want to go through an ‘official’ language program there are plenty of language schools in France that are more cost effective. With those programs she could apply for a simple visitor visa. The downside is that a visitor visa doesn’t allow work while a student visa allows part-time work (max 964 hours/year).

I don’t know much about an au pair but I think she needs to have a family lined up first. There might be organizations that can help connect families. Maybe do a web search to check?

I took a month-long course at the Institut de Francais in Villefranche several years ago.  An outstanding teacher there has since left and tutors virtually, employing the same methods  (with an emphasis on speaking) that they used at the school.  He’s excellent and speaks English, too having spent some time teaching French in SF many years ago before moving back to France.  His name is Bruno and his email is brunopreau [at] yahoo.com.  Best of luck to your daughter!

Applications are closed for 2023-2024 but if she’s planning ahead she could look into the TAPIF program, where native English speakers help out in schools (and get a stipend). You don’t have much control over where you get placed, so it likely wouldn’t be directly in Paris. It’s A LOT easier than being an au pair. Whatever path she takes, she will want to be disciplined about truly immersing herself, eg take intensive classes, don’t hang out only with English speakers, and if she goes the au pair route find a family who is not looking specifically for someone to speak English with their kids. 

If she's open to other cities in France besides Paris I highly recommend Cavilam in Vichy. They are a year-round French-immersion program for people 16 years and up. You can go for a week, several weeks, or several months, and can start on any Monday. They will arrange any housing you wish -- home stay, apartment, hotel, etc. - and have cultural programs and excursions as well as the language classes. My son went during a gap year before college but many of his classmates were in their early 20s, with some older adults as well. He was one of just a few Americans and he now has friends all over the world as a result.