High School Abroad in France: Living and Learning
All Pan Atlantic Foundation (PAF) host families are carefully selected and live all around the country.
Family is important to the French and life revolves around the close-knit household. As a new member you will be introduced to the French culture and the typical traditions of their family. Like many host families, they will also be curious and excited to learn more about your culture. France is the culinary heart of the world with lots of classic dishes. You could bring a special family recipe to share, and ask if they’ll teach you how to cook one of theirs like coq au vin, poulet basquaise or boeuf bourguignon.
What your new home will look like depends on where you are placed. To live with a family in the north is naturally quite different from life in the south. Living on a farm in the country is something different than an apartment in a city.
Pan Atlantic Foundation will connect you with your host family prior to departing the U.S. so you’ll have a chance to “meet” before arriving in your new host country.
During the week, you will attend school and may have breakfast with your family members, it all depends on everybody’s schedule. A typical breakfast may include bread (and butter, jam or chocolate spready) or cereals, fruit or yoghurt.
The school days are longer than in the U.S. and most students spend their evenings having dinner with their family and working on homework. On Wednesday afternoons, there is usually no school. This is a time when high schoolers do activities like sports, or hang out with their friends. On the weekend, students may spend time with their host family, friends or participate in art class or local sports clubs.
School Life in France:
The French educational system is considered one of the best in the world. There are three trimesters per school year, starting in September. Most French state schools now operate on a four-day week, with Wednesday off and school on Saturdays- but this depends on the lycee.
High school in France is called le lycée. It’s three years in total; Classe de Seconde (10th grade), Classe de Premiere (11th) grade, Classe de Terminale (12th grade). In year two, all French students will choose to focus their studies on one of these three different curriculum: science, literature, business. Most exchange students will be placed in year two with a focus on literature.
Your mandatory school subjects will depend on your placement. In year two of le lycée, it’s often French, English, history, geography, math, biology, physics, chemistry and physical education. You will also have a few electives, giving you a chance to focus on something that you’re interested in.
You may go to school six days a week, however, Wednesdays and Saturdays are normally shorter and you’ll still have plenty of time to explore with new friends and join in local activities!