I hadn’t ever heard of Aix-en-Provence but making the decision to study abroad in Aix was one of the best decisions of my life. I always knew I wanted to visit France. During my freshman and sophomore years at Fordham I would visit the study abroad office just so I peruse the brochures and think about where I was going to go. At that time, I didn’t know anything about the South of France. As most Americans and foreigners, I had heard of Paris. I remember one day I was babysitting and the mom I was babysitting for came home and saw the study abroad brochures. She told me, “You HAVE to go to the South of France. It’s beautiful. It’s amazing and you will really learn so much about French culture.” (As opposed to living in a bigger and more cosmopolitan city like Paris, that one comment totally helped me make up my mind. I’d go spend a semester in Aix-en-Provence.
I applied to the IAU study abroad program and on Jan 12 2003 I arrived in Aix. If you’re thinking of studying abroad in France, you should definitely
consider go to Aix.
Here are 10 reasons why you should study abroad in Aix-en-Provence:
Great location. Aix is close to the Mediterranean if you love the beach and the Alps is skiing is your thing. It is close to a big international airport (Marignane in Marseille) and it’s only a train or bus ride away from Spain or Italy. Here we are in Venice for Carnevale. We took an overnight bus to Italy from Aix. It was AMAZING!
French culture at its finest. Paris is a cosmopolitan city, but in Provence you will learn all about French culture– and if you need to head to a bigger city, Marseille is a short bus ride away!
This is in Marseille, the view from Notre Dame de la Garde.
Great university town vibe. There is the Université de Aix-Marseille, Université de Provence, Institut d’Etudes Politiques, and many more! You will meet French students but also students from all over the world!
300 days of sunshine a year. Provence is known for 300 days of sunshine a year.. .I’ve seen people sunbathing in January. True story. Hate to say it, but you will definitely NOT get this in Paris, desolée!
Provençal markets Find the freshest produce in the markets! You can also find other goodies as well. (Check out my tips for making the most of provençal markets).
Food and wine. The gastronomy of France is absolutely spectacular– it was even declared “List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity” by UNESCO in 2010. Be adventurous… try the wine and even the frogs’ legs! (Tastes just like chicken!) and the wine? Well you don’t have to wait until you’re 21 to try it!
History. Aix has history that dates back to Roman times… 14th century churches, fountains and more!
Affordable. It’s definitely not as expensive as Paris
Art and culture. Aix has a great art scene with museums, churches, music festivals and more…Cézanne was deeply inspired by Aix and the Mont St. Victoire.
Nightlife. As I said, it’s a university town, so it is filled with pubs, dance clubs, student parties and tons of fun!
Studying in Aix changed my life. If I could do it over, I would probably do it for a year instead of a semester. When I studied abroad I met my now husband and every time we go back to France we make a little pilgrimage to Aix, the place where we fell in love.
To read more about my study abroad experience (and reasons why you should study abroad, click here).
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