Guide to Work, Study, Travel and Living Abroad    

Working and Learning French in Montpellier, France

by Christina Rebuffet-Broadus

Institut Européen de Français in Montpellier
Photo courtesy of Institut Européen de Français in Montpellier.

Learning a language in a new country can be one of the most memorable experiences you can have while traveling. Working and studying in a different place goes one step further, carving out your place in a community, contributing to its growth and your own. But with tightening borders, piling paper work, and growing unemployment, how do you convince an employer to open his doors to you as one who has just arrived in the country, will be leaving in less than a year, and are less than fluent in the language? It may sound impossible, but by studying French and participating in one of the following programs, you can mix work and fun under the Mediterranean sun.

In Montpellier, a southern French city known for its dynamism and warmth (both from the weather and the people), a work study program can open all kinds of doors, notably those of a French employer.

Why Montpellier? Because this young city offers a chance to combine language lessons and internships, volunteer programs, and short-terms jobs. Because the city exudes an energy that will make you want to become a part of local life. And because Montpellier calls itself a French learning destination, showing just how dedicated the community is to welcoming foreigners looking to improve their language skills.

To help you find the best mix of working and learning, here is a list of five programs that will let you get the most out of your time spent in Montpellier as both a student and a worker.

Institut Européen de Français

A joint project between two language schools, the IEF welcomes over 1,800 students every year. With programs ranging from general to intensive to reinforced French, this school looks to satisfy the range of learners' needs. The IEF also prepares students wishing to take DELF/ DALF exams as well as the International Baccalaureate. And for students learning French with a very specific goal in mind, internships in local businesses put your French to work in a professional setting.

Of course, the French language also expresses the French culture and the IEF makes sure that students immerse themselves in the vivacity of their new language with outings in the historic city center, but also to surrounding jewels like Aigues Mortes. The school even offers a discovery stay based around meetings with local food producers, cultural figures, and the art and history of this thriving city. 

A gold mine of information on their programs and prices at should answer any questions you may have.

Institut Européen de Français in Montpellier
Photo courtesy of Institut Européen de Français in Montpellier.

Association Rencontres Autour du Monde (ARAM)

More an association promoting linguistic and human exchanges than a typical language school, ARAM offers three different programs according to the students' age and desires. ARAM really aims to create connections between the "students" and their host families, and no matter their age, each student becomes part of the family to whom they open up their home and their French lives.

For children aged 13 to 18 years, a year spent in a French high school immerses the student in a new environment where he or she will learn a new language, a new life, and make new friends. ARAM supervises each student, placing them in carefully selected host families so that they really live à la française.

For learners of all ages, ARAM offers the opportunity to actually live with your teacher for the duration of the course. For a few weeks, students really soak up French in an intense but friendly atmosphere. And for business people, lawyers, doctors and other specialists, ARAM even finds teachers with the precise language skills for whatever field you need.

For 18-30 year olds, an au pair position lets you really become part of a French family who are entrusting you with their most precious treasure. A great way to confirm your sense of responsibility, you will also learn French from both the parents. And for au pairs choosing a semester or year program, French lessons boost your learning by reinforcing the language picked up at your home away from home.

Working in another country gives you the chance to really live a new language all the while developing your professional experience. If you prefer to focus on learning the language in one of the city's many language schools, you can find out more by reading Studying French in Montpellier, France.

Related Topics
Language Study in France
Short-Term Jobs in France
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