Discover why France is so more than the city of Paris by exploring small towns or villages, regions with a different look and feel. Immerse yourself in the culture famous around the world for its food, architecture, philosophy and painting. Be sure to explore the beautiful countryside from the Atlantic to the Alps and from the English Channel to the Mediterranean Sea.

Your French friends will probably spend time together in public parks or cafés, and go out to parties on the weekends. Soccer and basketball are common hobbies for French teenagers.

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Host Family & Community

You’ll most likely be hosted in a rural area anywhere in France. Your family will probably greet you with a “bise,” a friendly kiss on the cheek, expressing satisfaction and gratitude is appreciated. Expect to be treated like a regular family member, helping with chores and becoming part of the daily routine.


You’ll probably be enrolled in a public collège (if you are younger than 15) or lycée (if you are between 15 and 18 years old). Some AFS students attend private school. School days usually run from 8 am to 5 or 6 pm, with Wednesdays usually being half days.You may attend classes on Saturday mornings. Generally, students get two weeks of holidays for every six weeks of school. Schools place a heavy emphasis on academics so very few extracurricular activities are offered during the week. You can join sports and drama clubs in your free time.

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French is the official language in France. Some French knowledge is required for short-term programs (3 months or shorter). If your program lasts for 6 months or a year, you should still brush up on your French in advance and you will have access to an online language learning license a few weeks before the program.


Food is very important to the French. When they are not eating, they enjoy talking about food, which is delicious and prepared with great care. French enjoy a wide variety of cheeses, as well as local specialties like foie gras (liver paté), escargots de Bourgogne(snails), crêpes and cassoulet. French pastries and cheeses are also famous around the world.

Let AFS guide your intercultural adventure

Go abroad with AFS to discover who you really are, make new lifetime friendships and immerse yourself in a fascinating intercultural experience.

Our learning program will prepare you for an amazing AFS intercultural experience. The program begins at your home country with a pre-departure orientation and continues with orientations and other supported learning activities and facilitated conversations will help you maximize your experience, cope the challenges of navigating a new culture and community and gain knowledge, skills, and a global understanding, throughout your time abroad, and as you return to you home country. AFS volunteers will be there to support and guide you and your host family through your learning journey abroad.


The Global Competence Certificate (GCC) program will support your intercultural learning experience. This state-of-the-art program prepares you to successfully navigate new cultural environments—during your AFSNext experience and long after you finish the program. Online intercultural learning modules combined with in-person sessions help you develop practical and global skills, knowledge and attitudes that employers need and mission-driven organizations believe will help achieve their social impact goals. You will receive your certification upon completion of the training program. 

Explore the Programs Available in France