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 plenty of opportunity 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.
** The program details are subject to change **
Hear What a Returned Student Says About the Program
Additional Course Information
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
About the Host Organisation
Cavilam is located in the centre of town, in a park beside the river. 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.
At the end of the course, you receive a certificate of attendance and a diploma cosigned by CAVILAM and the University Blaise Pascal.
University and Faculty
CAVILAM (Centre d’Approches Vivantes des Langues et des Médias)
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.
Site Visits and Cultural Activities
The accommodation for the intensive French program is a real highlight – you’ll be staying in homestay with some of the locals!
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
“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
“The rest of the week passed in a coffee-infused blur. By Tuesday night we were testing our French proficiency again by watching a movie Bienvenue chez les Ch’tis together with other CAVILAM students. Most of us were exhausted from hanging out in the gym after school and playing basketball and badminton, but we were all able to follow the movie and the “beginner” students were clearly not just “beginners” anymore!” – Hosna, Bachelor of Biomedical Engineering and Medical Science. READ MORE
France – the name conjures up images of romance, glamour, style, the Eiffel Tower and an endless list of exciting things to see, do and discover. France has enchanted generations of visitors and continues to do so. In 2007, France (i.e Metropolitan France + its islands such as New Caledonia, Polynesia etc) received 82 million tourists making it the most visited country in the world! Tourism is accountable for 6% of the country’s income. Metropolitan France is often referred to by French people as L’Hexagone (The “Hexagon”) because of its geometrical shape.
Vichy, an historic town from the Gallo-Roman period in the centre of France, is ideal for outdoor activities as it has many parks, gardens, a river and a lake. There are some excellent sporting facilities including a 120 hectares multisports 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!
- From Paris Roissy/ Charles De Gaulle Airport.
From the airport an express shuttle takes you to Paris Gare de Lyon. Shuttles run every 30 minutes from 7am to 9pm, travel time is approximately 1 hour, and a one-way ticket costs about 14 euros. You can catch the shuttle from Terminal 1: exit door #34 on the arrivals level or from Terminal 2F: exit doors #B2, C2, 0.07 on the arrivals level (correct at time of writing).
10 trains per day do the trip from Gare de Lyon to Vichy. The train ride from Paris to Vichy takes about 3h and a one -way fare costs around 50 euros. During July & August, a permanent service to and from the Vichy railway station is provided at weekends. Outside weekends or if coming outside the summer months, you can ask to be picked up from the railway station in Vichy.
- From Clermont Ferrand Airport. The airport is a 10 minute taxi ride from Clermont Ferrand Train Station (Gare). There about 20 trains per day going from Clermont Ferrand to Vichy and the trip takes about 35 minutes.
Vichy is a great place to get around on foot or on a bike and there are regular buses to go to all the surrounding towns and cities.
Applications are now open for this program. Early application is recommended as places are limited.
We’ve included for your convenience below the initial stages of the application process.
1. Apply online
2. You’ll be prompted to send us a copy of your full academic results
3. We’ll review your results and application and if you are eligible, will invite you to an initial consultation by phone with an advisor.
4. You’ll pay our $55 application fee and book in your phone consultation with an advisor.
5. The phone consultation lasts about 15 minutes and we’ll cover detailed information with you about credit, funding, the program, your application and what happens next.
6. Once you return any necessary documents (which we’ll advise you of in the consultation), we’ll do a final review of your application. If all is in order, we’ll send you your AIM Overseas acceptance pack.
7. Your acceptance pack will contain the course syllabus, steps on applying for credit and funding, and an invoice for the program down payment. Your place is secured once you’ve paid your down payment.
Programs are usually over-subscribed, so it is really important that you take care of things as quickly as possible. We’re here to help and will provide you with information and reminders about what you need to do at various stages.
Students who wish to apply after the official application closing date (2nd April) are required to email email@example.com or call us directly on (02) 9975 7792. Please note, that late applications are subject to a $100 late fee (inclusive of the $55 phone consultation fee). For more information, please refer to the AIM Overseas Late Application Fee Document.
For more information, see our Frequently Asked Questions.