France FAQs


  • SYA France located in Rennes, the capital of Brittany, over 200 miles west of Paris.
  • The school opened in 1967, housed in a converted mansion and is a short walk from the majestic Thabor Park, 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.
  • 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 even more directly in the community via language and culture 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.

How will I get to school each day?

The SYA France building  is centrally located in Rennes, and most students live within a short walk, metro ride or bus ride to school. The extensive transportation system in Europe makes getting around a breeze. SYA students are not allowed to drive or operate motor vehicles of any kind during their year abroad, including motorcycles, scooters or mopeds (riding a bike is allowed but we strongly encourage students to wear helmets).

How will my host family be selected?

SYA takes great care to match students with the best host families abroad. Many of our host families are experienced in hosting American students and all genuinely enjoy opening their hearts and homes to SYA students.

Early in the enrollment process SYA students and parents will receive a Host Family Placement Questionnaire, and a Parents’ Memorandum, respectively, documents that the host family coordinator uses to pair students with host families. The Host Family Placement Questionnaire and the Parents’ Memorandum give students and parents an opportunity to comment on students’ living habits and lifestyles. Both forms should be completed wholly and honestly, so as to make the best match possible. The host family coordinator, who has met and interviewed each family in their home, uses these documents, as well as other elements from student applications, to match students with host families.

Will my host family speak English?

Though fluency in English is not required to be an SYA host family, the global nature of the world, and the SYA community in particular, is such that many families understand and speak some English, particularly if there are any school-aged children in the home. More importantly, your host family will be eager to help you use, stretch, and strengthen your French language skills; regardless of their English language skills you will be encouraged to communicate in the target language whenever possible. However, should the need arise, rest assured that the Resident Director speaks fluent English and will assist if needed.

What co-curriculars are available? Can I continue with sports?

Students are encouraged to participate in whatever extracurricular activities are offered in Rennes! Students regularly practice and play instruments, join and form bands and chorus groups, get involved with theatre, take cooking classes, study at dance studios, and so much more. The opportunities are extensive.

Students are able to continue many of the sports they play in the United States while abroad. However, there are some notable exceptions, mainly American football and lacrosse, which are much harder to continue. Most sports in Rennes are organized at the municipal and club level. There are multiple levels of intensity, which demand varying levels of time and commitment; this should be taken into consideration when looking into joining a sport. Playing sports in Rennes provides students with a chance to interact with and befriend local teenagers.

There is an activities coordinator at each school who works with students to help them find opportunities to engage with the local community or find an appropriate team or practice facility.

How will I stay in touch with my family?

At SYA France, staying in touch is very easy. Though the frequency of communication to family members and friends back home is different for every student, most students choose to set up a weekly call with family back home, speaking by phone or Skype.