The French Academies

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The Summer Academy is canceled indefinitely. 
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French Academy

Live immersed in French language and culture this summer. Whether you're an absolute beginner who has never spoken a word of French or an advanced speaker who is hoping to practice French in a real world setting, you will dramatically improve your French language skills at the Academy.

For this summer, join us at Saint Michael's College in Colchester, Vermont, for a U.S.-based immersion program open to rising 8th-12th grade students, from beginners to advanced French speakers. Or choose to study abroad in Nantes, France, which is open to rising 9th-12th grade students with at least one year of high school French study (rising 9th graders must have at least 2 years middle school French language study).

For four weeks, all programming, events, activities, field trips, meetings, and meals will be in French. From morning assembly until lights out, you’ll be immersed in language with a group of peers at the same competency level as you. The curriculum is organized by themes that help you navigate life in this new environment and is based on the longstanding tradition of immersion education at Middlebury College's Language Schools.

At the Academy—both at our U.S. based program and our study abroad location in Nantes—our French teachers are from many different places around the world, exposing students to different dialects and providing a well rounded experience in language.

Why Learn French?

America’s fascination with Parisian style has made French one of the most sophisticated choices for second language study. But apart from giving French speakers that certain allure—or je ne sais quoi—French is quickly becoming an important global language. Today, French is spoken on every continent and by an estimated 220–300 million people worldwide. It is still the second language used for communication by the United Nations and at Olympic events. According to Forbes magazine, a study conductued by Natixis, an investment bank, predicted that French will be the most spoken language in the world by 2050, noting its predominance on the continent of Africa—a massive, potential economic powerhouse that’s been steadily gaining ground in recent years.

Experience French Culture
French Academy

French Academy students will gain an appreciation for French language and culture through cuisine, art, history, music, dance, geography, and politics. Cultural exploration may include:

  • Attending Bastille Day celebrations, a summer tradition!
  • Learning about French art and creating your own sculpture masterpiece.
  • Watching a French movie, listening to French pop music, and discovering new musicians.
  • Participating in a fashion show or performing in an improvisation skit.
  • Savoring French cuisine and learning how to cook traditional French dishes and pastries.

When opportunities are available near your local Academy, we find a way to engage you and your language group with the local community, as well as bring that community to you.



Saint Michael's College—Colchester, Vermont

[Watch videos of the French Academy here]

Home to our French Academy for this summer, Saint Michael’s College is located just off the shores of Lake Champlain, near Burlington, Vermont.

Campus housing, classrooms, and facilities are all within a short walking distance of each other. At the center of campus is a beautiful green, where you'll often see Academy students playing frisbee or soccer, practicing tai chi, sitting in class outdoors on a sunny day, or just relaxing with friends during free time.

Downtown Burlington is a quick bus ride away. Named by Travel & Leisure as the top college town in America in 2014, Burlington is the perfect area for students to gain a college experience, all while enjoying a safe, fun and engaging summer in Vermont.

Our French programs at St. Michael’s College are open to rising 8th–12th grade students, from beginners to advanced students.

Visiting Burlington, Vermont

Burlington, located on the shores of Lake Champlain, is Vermont's largest city with a population of roughly 42,000 people. Burlington is home to a number of colleges and universities, including the University of Vermont, Burlington College, Champlain College, and St. Michael's College in the neighboring town of Colchester.

Burlington is a vibrant city full of art, diverse restaurants–from Vietnamese to Middle Eastern cuisine–locally owned shops with Vermont made products, and, of course, Ben & Jerry's for a quintessential Vermont experience. Church Street in Burlington—complete with street performers, shops and live music—is a must see for visitors. Most students at the Academy will visit Church Street during off campus excursions and some language Academies will explore Lake Champlain by boat!

Saint Michael’s College Housing & Facilities

Saint Michael’s campus features a beautiful green, a new student center with on-site coffee shop, indoor and outdoor tennis courts, athletic fields, and sports facilities. Academy students will live in dorms on the Saint Michael’s campus, where they will also take classes, participate in cultural exploration activities, and enjoy free time. Students will live in Lyons Hall and Joyce Hall and will enjoy meals together in language at the Alliott Student Center.



Group excursions may take you to Burlington’s Church Street, a pedestrian open air mall with shops, restaurants and foods carts, street entertainers and musical performers, and a sprawling farmers’ market each Saturday morning. Just down the hill at Waterfront Park you’ll find picnic areas, a boat marina, sailing center, skate park, and an eight mile bike path beautifully situated on the shores of Lake Champlain.

Tour Saint Michael’s College’s campus virtually now!



Nantes, France

[Watch videos of the Nantes Academy here]

French Academy

Do you dream about traveling to France and exploring the rich and vibrant country first hand? Our study abroad Language Academy for teens can take you there! High school students will have the opportunity to live immersed in the French language and culture of Nantes during a unique four week French study abroad experience in the summer.

Accelerate your French language skills while living and studying in Nantes, located in western France on the Loire River. Known as the Venice of the West because of its position on the river delta of Loire, the Erdre, and the Sèvre rivers, Nantes is a beautiful city full of architectural wonders and incredible cuisine. In Nantes you'll discover new ways of thinking and make connections with new people and culture that will last the rest of your life.

The French Academy in Nantes is open to rising 9th-12th grade students with at least one year of French language experience (rising 9th graders must have at least two years middle school French language experience). The French Academy is run in collaboration with IES Abroad, a leader in study abroad experiences for college students with over 60 years of experience.

Curriculum & Daily Schedule in Nantes

You’ll begin each day in Nantes by catching up with friends in the cafeteria over breakfast. Afterwards, the Academy will come together for a Morning Assembly where staff will catch you up on special events, introduce new vocabulary, and get everyone energized for another fun day. You may hear the weather forecast, do some stretching or yoga, learn new slang, watch funny music videos, practice tongue twisters, or play a game.

Following Morning Assembly, you will move to your language class. Classes meet for three 50 minute blocks with breaks in between. Our program in Nantes uses the same proven immersion teaching methodology as our academies in Vermont. You will spend about three hours each weekday in French language classes where you’ll be placed with students at the same level as you. Each week, a new theme guides classroom conversations and lessons.

  • Week 1: Introduction to France
  • Week 2: Getting to know Nantes
  • Week 3: Local Cuisine & Culinary Exploration
  • Week 4: Art and Culture in Nantes

Many days, your classes will include excursions into the city so you can put your French into practice right away! These excursions will also link back to the weekly and daily themes so you’ll be able to make connections between the curriculum and the city.

After lunch comes Cultural Exploration, followed by afternoon activities like soccer, ultimate Frisbee, volleyball, yoga, visiting a local cafe or ice cream shop, arts and crafts, juggling, or free time. Students will use this time to grab a nap, hang out with friends, or practice their musical instruments. Then comes dinner, after which you may be one of the many seen enjoying some down time on the campus green.

Evening activities are organized and run by teachers and RAs. You’ll attend student club gatherings, performances, and movies after dinner. Evening Assembly will also take place once a week. Here, your whole Academy gathers and each class presents what they have been learning that week. This presentation might be a skit, a song, a game you’ve designed with classmates that you teach the others in your Academy, a fashion show, or a game show—it’s a chance to be creative in sharing your learning.

You will wrap up your day with a light snack in the dorm and a meeting with your living group to talk about how the day went and what to expect tomorrow.

Weekends at the Academy are less busy, allowing you time to sleep in, relax, do laundry, write letters, and hang out with your friends. You’ll participate in longer day trips on the weekends visiting sites in and around Nantes.

French Academy

Field Trips & Excursions in Nantes

It would be a shame to come to France and not experience the culture and sites that define it. That’s why we organize trips for students throughout the week and on every weekend.

Field Trips

The program will include two day trips which may vary based on heat and/or other weather conditions. Day trips will likely include:

  • Puy du Fou – A historical theme park in Les Epesses in the heart of the Vendée region of Western France. The park is the second most popular theme park in France.
  • Guérande  Visit to the medieval town of Guérande and its fortifications, with visit to the salt producers for which the town is famous. Students and staff will also enjoy lunch at a crêperie.


There is no short list of things to see and do within Nantes either. Throughout the week students will have many opportunities to explore the city with their teachers and RAs. The sites will likely include:

  • Marché Talensac – The covered market of Talensac is one of the only covered markets of Nantes, located in the Hauts-Pavés - Saint-Félix district. With 150 traders, it is the best known and most frequented of the Nantais markets.
  • Mémorial de l'abolition de l'esclavage – The Mémorial de l'abolition de l'esclavage is a French memorial located in Nantes. Dedicated to the slave trade in Nantes and the world, to slavery and its abolition, this place is located in what was one of the main slave ports of France.
  • Musée d'histoire de Nantes – Students will learn about the history and cultural significance of Nantes.
  • Musée Jules Verne – The museum is housed in a beautiful late 19th century building, which overlooks the Loire River. While Verne never lived in the building, its surroundings reflect the atmosphere which influenced his work. The museum has a collection of artifacts, replicas of his inventions, and memorabilia inspired by his writings.
  • Musée LU – Students will get a behind the scenes look at how the famous LU biscuit factory operates.
  • Machines de l'Ile – The Machines of the Isle of Nantes (Les Machines de l'île) is an artistic, touristic and cultural project based in Nantes, France. In the warehouses of the former shipyards in Nantes, the Machines of the Isle is created by two artists, François Delarozière and Pierre Orefice, visualising a travel-through-time world at the crossroads of the "imaginary worlds" of Jules Verne and the mechanical universe of Leonardo da Vinci.
  • Moulin de l’Epinay – Students will learn how local flour and bread are produced, and have a hands-on workshop to make their own.
French Academy

Housing & Facilities in Nantes

The Summer Academy in Nantes is housed at the Blanche de Castille, a day and boarding school located a short bus ride from the bustling city center. The campus is completely enclosed and the buildings center around a quiet campus green. 

Academy students will live and take all their classes on campus. Part of the college prep experience you’ll have at the Academy is living in a dorm. Rooms are comfy and recently renovated. Together, you’ll be part of a Living Group—a sort of home base for you over the course of the Academy. Each Living Group is overseen by an RA of the same gender and every evening you’ll meet to chat about the day, describing triumphs and challenges you may have faced, and wind down before bed. You’ll do other activities with your Living Group as well, both in the dorm and out.

Meals will be served cafeteria style on campus at Blanche de Castille. The cafeteria staff has lots of experience in planning menus for students, and can accommodate students with food allergies or other dietary restrictions. Please contact MIL to discuss your particular situation.

During your free time, you’ll be able to enjoy the facilities on campus or explore the neighborhood in small groups. On campus, there is a piano available for practicing. There is a gymnasium where you can join friends for indoor games of soccer, badminton, or basketball. Also, there is a small fitness center with free weights and small running path around the perimeter of campus.



French Academy Blogs and Resources





“Not only did my speaking skills improve, but I realized that I had the support of at least 40 other people who were, like me, just discovering their French.”

Alessandra, French Academy Student