Studying a language in-country is always the best, fastest and most enjoyable way to pick up a language or to improve your level.
Vichy, also known as “The Queen of the Water Towns”, is famous around the world for its thermal spas and cosmetic products that have attracted royalties and celebrities for over 200 years.
Located in Auvergne, a beautiful French region, famous for its volcanoes, parks, lakes and rivers, Vichy has plenty of sightseeing and many activities to offer: shows, concerts, horse races and water sports on the lake to name just a few.
With classes taught at 15 different levels, this French program based in Vichy, France is for anyone with an interest in French and the French culture. Taught by CAVILAM (reputed for its training of French language teachers) in partnership with Clermont-Ferrand universities, this is a top language program.
Classes include 26 sessions of 45 minutes weekly:
- 18 courses in groups of corresponding level
- 8 courses in theme workshops
Workshops are based on varied themes, depending on what your needs and interests are.
You’ll also have the option to take part in various field trips and cultural activities such as trekking up the Puy-de-Dome, wine tasting, visiting Lyon and Clermont-Ferrand, discovering the surrounding lakes and castles and many more. These trips are run independently through CAVILAM and come at an additional cost (this is communicated with you upon arrival of the program). CAVILAM also run some free of charge activities, in the past this has consisted of a Vichy town tour, movie nights, trivia nights, sports and more!
Hear What a Returned Student Says About the Program
About the course
On the morning of arrival you sit a test to assess your level and to enable you to describe your objectives.
The weekly program includes 26 sessions of 45 minutes, made of 18 lessons in groups according to the level of ability and 8 themed workshops.
Workshops are based on themes such as French civilisation, extending vocabulary, everyday life, grammar practice, French through songs, written communication, French through the media, oral communication etc.
At the end of the course, you receive a certificate of attendance and a diploma cosigned by CAVILAM and the University Blaise Pascal.
CAVILAM (Centre d’Approches Vivantes des Langues et des Médias) is located in the centre of town, in a park beside the river and the infamously named ‘Vichy Beach’. It offers extensive facilities including 30 classrooms, a lecture hall, 2 large multi-purpose rooms, a multi-media research centre and 4 multi-media laboratories. It is an internationally renowned centre for research and contributes to new developments in the field of language teaching. All teachers have university diplomas. Don’t be mistaken, this is a French language school. Be prepared to learn French through French, and apply what you learn in class immediately to your everyday life in France in contexts like shopping, going out, buying meals, asking directions and conversing with your host family.
The teaching staff are well and truly experienced and are able to identify any specific aspects of your language that may need developing. Even if you might not be necessarily doing assessments, the teachers are constantly assessing you week to week, deciding where your abilities fall on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR), using this knowledge to place you in the right class at the just the right level to challenge you. The friendly and charismatic Cultural office staff will constantly offer you opportunities for events, day trips and excursions in and around Vichy, allowing for more chances to put your French language skills to the test..
The accommodation for the intensive French program is a real highlight – it will be a homestay, with a number of Vichy locals offering up their homes to welcome you into their daily routines!
Over many years, CAVILAM has worked with a huge number of homestay families, over time working out who are the friendliest and most accommodating and continuing to work with them. AIM Overseas always receives great feedback on this aspect of the program.
You’ll stay in a single room with a local family – note that a ‘family’ might be a ‘traditional’ family of parents and kids, but might also be a couple with no children, a grandmother or another combination. What they have in common is the great reception they’ll provide you – your family will come to meet you at the train station when you arrive from Paris and also provide your breakfasts and dinners daily whilst you’re on the program.
Hear the experiences of other students on this program
“I think being constantly surrounded by French – quite literally from the moment you get up in the morning to the moment you go to sleep – has really helped me to finally click into gear and all the years of practice I have behind me have finally begun to pay off. Largely I’ve learnt to trust myself and my French abilities and to just have a crack at speaking even if I’m not 100% sure on how to say what I want. After all, I’m here to learn French and there’s no way I’ll improve without trying!”
- Aysha, Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Communication and Media Studies. READ MORE
“In Vichy, I’m staying with the sweetest grandmother, Mimi! I’m sharing the house with two other students from China and Spain who also attend CAVILAM (the Centre of Live Approaches to Languages and the Media). Mimi is the sweetest thing- she insists on two kisses on each cheek before I leave the house in the morning! Myself being Persian, this kind of thing comes naturally! She also cooks the most fantastic food, and writes every word I don’t understand on a little slip of paper so I can learn! Of course it naturally helps us learn the language when she doesn’t speak English- I love it!”
- Sadaf, Bachelor of International and Global Studies. READ MORE
“Armed with full winter gear of gloves, beanie, scarf and a coat, I headed off to CAVILAM to my 8:45am class with Marie on Monday morning. I grabbed my daily hot chocolate from the vending machine which sold a lot of my favourites like ‘Knorr Soup’, endless choices of coffee and food and snacks that I could live on the off chance zombies would attack and I’d need food”
- Kim Panti, Bachelor of Arts and Law. READ MORE
France located in Western Europe, embraces medieval and port cities, tranquil villages, mountains and Mediterranean beaches. France is about world-class art and architecture. It seduces with iconic landmarks known the world over and rising stars yet to be discovered. This country’s cultural repertoire is staggering – in volume and diversity. And this is where the beauty of la belle France lies: when super stars like Mademoiselle Eiffel, royal Versailles and the celebrity-ridden French Riviera have been ticked off, there’s ample more to thrill. France is, after all the world’s top destination with some 85 million visitors each year who flock to the land of the Gauls to feast on its extraordinary wealth of museums, galleries, ateliers (artist workshops) and hands-on cultural experiences.
Vichy is cradled in the bend of the Allier River, and is filled with beautiful scenery from detailed architecture to mountains and lush landscapes. Tree-lined boulevards lay out in the 19th century and art-deco buildings like the Opera de Vichy add to the town’s nostalgic feel. There are some excellent sporting facilities including a 120 hectares multi-sports park, golf courses, a complex housing a swimming pool and tennis courts, horse riding centres and water sports. Field trips and cultural activities are there for anyone wanting to go out and about, trekking up the Puy-de-Dome, visiting Lyon and Clermont-Ferrand, discovering the surrounding lakes and castles or enjoying French food and wine tasting. Vichy is also “The Queen of the Water Towns”, famous around the world for its thermal spas and cosmetic products that have attracted royalty and celebrities for over 200 years!
All our programs are designed to count for credit as electives. However, it is up to your university to decide whether they will approve some credit for your participation in one of our programs. Normally it is a course convenor, Head of Department or program convenor who approves your credit.
Your course convenors will not be able to approve credit for a course unless you have a copy of the syllabus so you should not visit your course convenor until you have received a copy of the course syllabus from AIM Overseas. You will receive the syllabus upon being assessed as eligible for the program.
You might be able to obtain the $6000+ OS-HELP loan, as well as a scholarship from your university, when participating in an AIM Overseas program.
Our programs are designed so that eligible Australian students can access the OS-HELP scheme, which can provide funding of over $6,000 for international study experiences.
We give you detailed information about OS-HELP and how to apply for it in your Initial Consultation with us, which we further outline in an email following your Initial Consultation.
Many Australian universities offer scholarships for their students to take part in overseas study programs. We will provide you information on scholarships that we are aware of at your university as part of your application/acceptance for a program. You can also check your university’s international office webpage to see what might be offered.
Applications for our January/February 2020 programs are not yet open. However, applications for our July 2019 programs are currently open apply here.
In the meantime, you can Register Your Interest for a January 2020 program, meaning you'll receive more program info and updates. You'll also be notified when applications are open.
If you wish to know more, or if you have any questions about our programs please contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org ; Messenger or (02) 9975 7792. You can also refer to our Frequently Asked Questions.