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.

Studying Abroad at SYA France

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

I have been living life to the fullest, each and every day, supported by a wonderful system of teachers, fellow students, and each member of my host family, each equally a factor in making this chapter of my life in France a page-turner.
– Isabelle FR'22, Wilmington Friends School, DE
“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
I am so thankful for the new world I have developed around me and wouldn’t trade it for anything.
– Annika FR'22, Lakeside School, WA

SYA France Class Trip to Marseille


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 extracurriculars, 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 the Global Issues Network and News Decoder for the globally-minded student.

SYA France Storyteller Posts

The Revolving Door

In her final blog, Campus reporter Isabelle M. describes her year abroad in France as a revolving door.

Thank You

Julia A. expresses her gratitude to her host family, friends, and parents for her time at SYA France.


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.

Photo of Rennes taken by SYA France High School student Hope

Hope reflects on her time away during winter break and how much Rennes has started to feel like home.

High school student LInda's landscape portrait of Rennes

The arrival of the Spring semester students in Rennes caused Linda to have an important realization. 

SYA France students reading

Olivia says goodbye to her fall semester friends and hello to her new spring semester friends!

French art class with drawings displayed

Hope talks about how much she looks forward to her weekly art class in France.