SYA France

Rennes, the capital of Brittany, allows you to experience the distinct Breton culture as you simultaneously master the French language and discover France’s place in the world. This less-traveled corner of the country lets you focus on immersing yourself locally, yet Paris can be reached by train in less than 90 minutes. French is the language of diplomacy and is considered the lingua franca of art, cuisine, dance and fashion. To complement this, SYA offers a wide range of courses in at our campus in France, from humanities and environmental science to political science and global studies. While all classes are taught in French except English and math, we assure you that a wide range of language learners are successful at SYA due to our fully immersive program. Learning expands well beyond the classroom.  You’ll have the opportunity to participate in a variety of activities from crew and choir to cooking and community service. Time with your host family will further hone your French language skills.

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What's It Like to Spend a Year of High School Abroad in France?

“I have fallen in love with my French lifestyle and routines from the after-school chats with my host mother, to the familiar routes to school and volleyball practice. I even catch myself wanting to slip French into my English conversations as it has become second nature to constantly speak it as much as possible. This year has truly been the best experience of my life.”
– Mary Grace FR'19, Norfolk Academy, VA
“My host family, my friends and my school have made this year in France one of the best of my life, and I am so grateful for the opportunity to study abroad with SYA France. For any rising sophomores, juniors or seniors reading this, I strongly advise you to apply to this program. I truly had the experience of a lifetime.”
– Katherine FR'18, Providence Day School, NC
“At SYA, I had the opportunity to learn about something and then see it reflected in the real world through class trips, cultural experiences and simply exploring Rennes. It was powerful to learn something in the classroom but also understand its real-world applications through my own eyes. I also had the chance to delve into subjects - politics, and art history - that I am deeply interested in but did not have the opportunity to explore at my home school.”
– Defne FR'18, The Thacher School, CA




Quick Facts About SYA France: Our High School Study Abroad Program in France

  • SYA France is located in Rennes, the capital of Brittany and a two-hour train ride from Paris. 
  • Originally housed at Institut Franco-Américain, the school moved to a converted mansion in 1981 and dedicated the renovated building as Villa Alvarez in 2007. It is a short walk from the majestic Thabor Gardens, a green oasis of calm in this vibrant college town.
  • Students typically take six classes; all but English and math are taught in French.
  • Students must have studied through the second year of a rigorous high school French curriculum to be considered for admission to our France program.
  • Ample co-curricular, artistic, musical, athletic or service opportunities are available to best meet student interests. Tennis, soccer, dance, music and choir are popular and several SYA France alums have played at the local conservatoire in recent years.
  • SYA France has a range of options that allow students to immerse themselves directly in the community via linguistic and cultural exchange with local retirement homes.
  • Opportunities are available for participating in Model United Nations, the Global Issues Network and News Decoder for the globally-minded student.

SYA France News


Gretchen writes about struggling to say her goodbyes to her friends, teachers and to Rennes.

Spring Forward

Isabelle writes about relishing the moment now that spring has arrived in Rennes.

Chamonix Free

Julia writes about her independent travel trip to Chamonix with her friends at SYA France.

Where to Belong

Gretchen writes about the importance of gut feelings and how those feelings led her to SYA.

FAQs of France!

Annika answers commonly asked questions with the help of her SYA France classmates.