Fortunately, there are a huge number of options for studying abroad cheaply in French-speaking countries. To keep this brief, I’ll mention just a few factors that will help keep your costs down.
You might also look at the posting on 07-14-2007, 10:27 PM from “snowball” called,
“Another Study Abroad-Spain”
1. Program cost. Compare prices of programs, and be sure you look at what is included. As an example, for Strasbourg prices can range from $5300 to $21,000 for a semester program. In Paris, there are some that show costs of less than $2000, but that only includes tuition and fees, and does NOT include housing, airfare, meals, local transportation, insurance, cultural excursions, etc. More realistic for a reasonably-priced program in Paris would be about $11,000 for all expenses like Accent, ISA, Coast Community College and others.
2. Location. Often, smaller cities or towns are cheaper to live in than the big cities like Paris and Lyon. Not only is rent lower, but public transportation, food, clothes, and other items can be cheaper. Another advantage can be that you might have fewer US students there, but this is not always the case. Other French-speaking countries in Europe include: Belgium, France, Monaco, Southwest Switzerland and Luxembourg. Switzerland is the most expensive country of all these, but small town France or a town in Belgium might be your cheapest options.
3. Direct enroll vs. US university-sponsored. Direct enroll programs usually cost less because there is no middle man, and they typically cover only tuition and housing. Usually they don’t include excursions, multi-day orientation, meeting you at the airport on arrival, and many other services that a quality program would offer.
4. Eating out vs. cooking for yourself or eating with your host family. It is very expensive to eat in restaurants in France. While this is a good experience, you can save by not doing so. Host families will make home-cooked meals, and helping with cooking may form a bond with them and a chance for you to learn about French cooking. Food is VERY important to the French.
5. Safety. In general, small towns are a bit safer than big cities. There is a lot to say about safety, much of which is the same as what you know living in a U.S. city (don’t walk alone late at night in dark areas, watch your pockets/purse/backpack, etc.) You can also read the US State Department warnings at http://travel.state.gov
and read the OSAC website for recent news stories and more tips on safety abroad at http://osac.gov