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France is more than the city of Paris!

Join our programme, improve your french language skill and explore small villages, towns and regions with a different look and feel. Immerse yourself in the culture famous around the world for its food, architecture, philosophy and painting!

Our French Secondary School Programme is an ideal opportunity for Irish teenagers to become fluent in french. Students are fully immersed in the French way of life and culture through daily attendance at a French secondary school and by living with a French Host Family. This programme is particularly popular with Transition Year students. The experience is further enhanced by the support of local representatives familiar with cultural differences and cultural adjustment.

Advantages of participating in our Secondary School Abroad Programme includes:

  • A pathway toto excellent exam results
  • Full immersion that allows students to become fluent at a young age
  • Participants develop greater independence and self reliance
  • Experience of living in a new country helps broaden cultural horizons

Eligibility Requirements

Eligibility to participate in the Secondary School Abroad includes – :

  • Aged between  15-17 years old
  • Students must have studied French for at least 3 years
  • Applicants must be mature and responsible

What's included in your experience

  • Airport Pick-up
  • Host Family Placement
  • Meals
  • School Placement
  • Individual Contact Person
  • Medical Insurance
  • 24/7 Emergency Support
  • Assistance with Application Process
  • Pre-Departure Orientation
  • Orientations during your time abroad
  • Continuous Support

What you are responsible for

  • Airfare
  • Vaccinations
  • Field Trips
  • Domestic Transport
  • School Materials


Summary Information

  • Accommodation: Host Family
  • Duration: 8 week programmes, semester and full academic year options available
  • Application condition: Students must have studied French for a minimum of 3 years in order to be considered
  • Students must be from  15-17 years old
  • Application deadline – contact our Study Abroad Team for details

About Secondary School in France

The programme offers participants the opportunity to become fully immersed in the French way of life and culture through living with a carefully selected host family and daily attendance at a French secondary school.

The program includes:

  • Placement  in a carefully  selected school, including application, registration, insurance fees and school tuition costs
  • Full  board accommodation with a carefully selected volunteer host family
  • Return transfers to and from nearest airport of host community
  • Monthly contact and constant support from a local AFS volunteer from the local AFS Chapter
  • Local orientations
  • 24-hour emergency telephone service
  • Help with preparation for travel back to home country
  • Health Insurance

The programme does not include:

  • Flights – The organisation of flights is the participant’s responsibility
  • School books and material fees
  • Local transportation fees
  • Spending money

The Host Family Accommodation

Students are housed on a full-board basis with carefully selected host families. Each family is carefully screened to ensure that the students stay is a successful and positive part of their experience abroad.

Living with a host family gives students full insight into how French families really live and provides complete immersion in the language and culture. Host families are carefully selected by local AFS Chapter staff and are regularly contacted throughout the student’s stay. As a member of the family, your child will share in the family’s daily life and take part in their normal day-to-day activities.

Host families will provide:

  • A genuinely caring environment
  • Clean and comfortable surroundings
  • Convenient access to schools
  • Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily
  • Single or shared bedroom

French families’ motivation for hosting comes from a genuine interest in learning about other cultures and the belief that hosting a student from Ireland is the next best thing to visiting Ireland itself. Unlike an exchange programme, there is no guarantee that there will be other children in the family. Placements are always in safe residential areas and are mostly made in rural areas and medium-sized towns, very rarely in the centre of big towns. Students can be placed in any region in France, so they must have an open mind to this when applying, as there is no guarantee of geographical preference in the placement process.

Host families come in all shapes and sizes; single parents with children living in the house, nuclear families, older couples whose children are no longer at home, as well as young couples who may not have children are all considered potential host families. Our main criteria is a warm, caring, and comfortable home environment for students to be nurtured and thrive in.

N.B. Students and parents cannot reject a host family placement in favour of a new one. Once host family details are sent to the student, they are final; students and parents must agree to accept them without prejudice and to go into the programme with an open mind. Cancellations will incur loss of deposit.

The School in France

Lycée is the second part of the French Secondary School system, and is aimed at students aged between 15 to 18.  If the host family has children of their own, our partners try to place students in the same school as the children – however this this cannot be guaranteed. Students’ academic records are also taken into account. Please note that, like in Ireland, students may have to commute to school via public transportation, which could take up to 45 minutes each way. Students may be placed in classes lower than their Irish equivalent depending on language ability and the community.

The school day in France is long, with an early start, a long lunch break, and the day can end at 5 or 6pm. Actual start and finish times will vary according to each school. Students must be aware that French lycées do not offer sport and extracurricular options as schools in Ireland do. These can be found within the host communities.

Schools in France are divided into three regional zones and each have different breaks every 7 weeks. These breaks tend to last 10-14 days. Schools are closed in July and August for summer holidays.

Important Conditions

Important terms and conditions about going to school in France

  • Please note that friends will not be placed together. This is a programme designed for individual placement. Emphasis is on full language and cultural immersion. If friends apply together, they will be intentionally separated and placed in different communities and schools.
  • Students may not return home for the duration of their programme. This includes Christmas and Easter holidays, and mid-term breaks. Likewise, all family visits must be limited to the end of the student’s programme, not at the beginning or in the middle. After years of experience, we find that such visits disrupt the adjustment process and can lead to further homesickness and integration problems.
  • Please note that AFS/EIL may request students to take a French aptitude test which will be organised after receipt of the application. Should a student not be accepted onto the programme, deposits will be refunded.
  • AFS/EIL Ireland & AFS France reserve the right to send home any student whose health requires it or whose conduct is considered improper or offensive to the host family, community or school. Such conduct includes drug use, unacceptable sexual behaviour, excessive drinking, violation of the law or failure in schoolwork.  In the event that the student is returned home, either alone or accompanied, parents or guardians are responsible for all expenses above those covered by the fee. In such cases, no refunds will be available. If a student chooses to end the programme early on his or her own accord, for reasons including travelling home for a holiday or during mid-term, no refund will be given.


Students may be asked to fly into the nearest airport to their host community or into Paris, Charles de Gaulle, depending on their arrival date. Please note that flights and trains are not included in the programme fee.

Local transportation to and from school is however the host family sees fit. Depending on the community, students may be able to walk or cycle, may be driven or carpooled or required to take the bus. In the case of a school bus, students will need to pay for their own costs.


For further details, can you please contact staff at [email protected].

  • Please contact the Study Abroad team for further details
  • Flights, school books and materials, local transportation, personal items, and spending money are not included in the price
  • Late application fee: € 250
  • Deposit: 25% of the program fee

How do I apply?

Important terms and conditions about going to school in France

To apply please contact us and we will send you an application from to complete.

The application form includes:

  • 25% non-refundable deposit
  • Personal Photo
  • Basic Personal Information
  • Placement Information
  • Introduction to your Host Family in English and French
  • At least 4 pictures with family and friends
  • Academic Records
  • Copies of 3 most recent school reports
  • Confirmation of language level
  • Health Certificate
  • Medical/parental release forms
  • Parental Authorisation Form
  • Passport Copy

Failure to include any application materials as well as incomplete applications will delay or inhibit your acceptance into the programme. Please make certain that all signatures are completed by student, parents, teachers, and physicians before sending to AFS/EIL.

Applications in full must be received at least 3 months in advance, or else you will be charged a €250 late fee.


Im sure you have lots of questions and we will do our best here to answer the most common but if you have any specific questions a member of the Study Abroad Team would be only too happy to answer them for you.

Call me back - Study Abroad

You can fill out this form and a member of the Study abroad team will get in touch as soon as they can

  • :
    We will endeavour to call you at the time you specify. Please note that the office hours are Monday to Friday 9 Am to 5:30 PM
    We would like to send you some updates from time to time including programme offers & newsletters.
  • No, this is a one-way exchange. You will not have to host a French student. Some Irish students remain friends with the host family and siblings and stay in contact, but there is no obligation to have them come to Ireland unless you make a personal arrangement amongst yourselves.

Further Information