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Semester Programs: France

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 carve out a flat plain at the intersection of these ranges, creating just the place for the university town of Grenoble. In this setting, you'll thrive as you deepen your understanding of the French language and culture.

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


The Semester in France is offered during odd years. Offered Fall of 2013 and Fall of 2015.


You must be of sophomore status and have 2.5 GPA or higher to study in France. Preference will be given to juniors and seniors if there are too many applicants to the program.

You must be studying French at an advanced level to be considered for the Calvin semester program in France.


The final program cost is based on many factors and is not known exactly until the number of students in the group has been identified. The financial information page covers the details that go into the cost of the program and rough estimates for each. The price for the France semester will include:

  • Tuition
  • Flights
  • 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.


As part of this intensive language program, you will live in a French household in Grenoble.


The prerequisite for all classes in the semester program is French 301 and 302.

The following courses are required:

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 Cross-Cultural Engagement Core, as well as French minor and major requirements. 3 semester hours, cross-cultural engagement credit, French minor and major requirements

STFR 363: Francophone Literature and Culture in
North Africa

An introduction to representative writers and works of French expression from the Maghreb . This course fulfills the core global and historical studies requirement. Conducted mainly in French . Prerequisites: French 301 or 302, French 351 recommended . 3 semester hours, fulfills Global & Historical Studies core requirement

You will also take courses at the Centre universitaire d'études françaises 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; 3 semester hours), STFR 316 (Advanced Language Study in France II; 3 semester hours), and STFR 381 (Special Topics; 3 semester hours). Contact Otto Selles for additional information concerning courses at the CUEF.


To apply for the program, please follow the directions to apply through our Horizons online system at this link.

Guest students may apply for this program.


Program Director Fall 2015
Vicki DeVries, French Department
Phone (616) 526-8736

Past and Future Program Directors
Fall 2010, 2011 & 2013- Otto Selles, French Department
Fall 2015 - Vicki DeVries, French Department


Location: 340 miles southeast of Paris and 140 miles west of Torino, Italy; in the Rhône-Alps region of France; accessible by high-speed train, car and plane (flying into the Geneva International Airport 100 miles away is the cheapest option for most student travelers).

Population: 158,000, with more than 500,000 in the metropolitan area.

Things to do:

• Ride the cable car up to the Bastille, and enjoy a gorgeous view of Grenoble for €5.45 round trip

•Take public transit to one of the many mountain hiking trails or ski resorts during the winter

• Go roller skating at the Parc Paul Mistral, a large park at the center of town

• Enjoy a wide range of traditional and avant-garde films, theater productions and concerts the city offers year-round

See WikiTravel for more ideas

Climate: Temperatures in Grenoble typically range from just below freezing in the winter to about 85 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer.


• One-day trips to regional destinations like Villard-de-Lans and the Chartreuse Mountains

• Extended trips to Paris/Versailles, Lyon and Taize.