Grenoble, France

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.

  • Location: Grenoble, France (Map)
  • Dates: Fall, 2015
  • Class requirement: sophomore
  • GPA requirement: 2.5
  • Prerequisite courses:
  • Cost estimate: Standard tuition, room and board + $2,000–$6,000

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 university town of Grenoble, in a valley carved out by a glacier. In this setting, you'll thrive as you deepen your understanding of the French language and culture.

Grenoble, France

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).

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
  • One-day trips to regional destinations like Villard-de-Lans and the Chartreuse Mountains
  • Extended trips to Paris/Versailles, Lyon and Taize.

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

To watch video, use this password: France

Temperatures in Grenoble typically range from just below freezing in the winter to about 85 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer.
In Pictures
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Over the duration of this program, you will complete the following courses:

In addition, 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, STFR 316, and STFR 381. Contact Otto Selles for additional information concerning courses at the CUEF.


Students obtain a combined 15 semester hours credit through CUEF and Calvin courses. Overall class-room “seat-time” (potentially between 18.5 and 20.5 hours) will be greater than a regular semester at Calvin. Homework assignments for CUEF courses, however, are generally less demanding.

In France, teachers generally grade more severely than in the United States. The French grading system is on a scale of 0 to 20, with 20 being perfect (very rare) and 0 being terrible. In the French system, 10/20 and higher is considered passing. Your French grades will be converted to the American letter system for your transcript according to the scale below.

  • A 15-20/20
  • A- 14/20
  • B+ 13/20
  • B 12/20
  • B- 11/20
  • C+ 10/20
  • C 9/20
  • C- 8/20
  • D+ 0-7/20
  • F 0-6/20

As with grading, French instructors are usually much more critical in class than North American instructors. It is not uncommon for mistakes to be pointed out openly—and bluntly. In such cases, students should not take the comments personally. Attendance is taken seriously and absences will be recorded.

Courses taken at the CUEF will not affect a student’s GPA but will be recorded on a transcript according to the scale given above. Courses given by the program director will count towards a student’s GPA.


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


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 off-campus programs office's 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


Submit a preliminary application to the the Off-Campus Programs office. Once your eligibility for the program is determined (within 1–2 weeks), you will be sent an application. The final application deadline for this program for the fall semester is the middle of March during the previous semester.


Vicki DeVries

Vicki DeVries

Assistant Professor
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