Summer Program in Lyon

Summer 2021 Update:

UVA faculty-led programs have been cancelled,

and no student international travel for Student Projects Abroad will be approved.


UVA in Lyon : Summer 2022 

Here we come! Stay tuned.

Place Bellcour by Maggie Stein

Place Bellecour by Maggie Stein


Located at the confluence of the Rhône and Saône rivers, Lyon is, and always has been, a unique crossroads of European cultures.  France's third largest city, whose historic center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Lyon provides an ideal location for the study of contemporary France as well as its rich historical and cultural heritage.  With approximately 1 million inhabitants, Lyon has the liveliness and energy of an urban setting yet avoids some of the pitfalls of the Paris metropolis. Daily life is more affordable, the pace of life a bit slower, cultural life is abundant, and Lyon has the reputation for being the gastronomic capital of France! In Lyon, the university is just one part of a diverse, lively city and, as a result, American students will not hear English spoken at every café terrace as might occur in some other common destinations for study abroad in France.

The Program

Several courses, taught by faculty from the University of Virginia and the Université Lyon II and the Institut d’études politiques de Lyon, offer students broad and in-depth analyses of France’s role in an expanding Europe, contemporary French society and political culture, and the historic treasures of Lyon itself. Students will explore the challenges facing the French today as they strive to maintain - and redefine – a cultural identity forged by history while simultaneously becoming full citizens in Europe. 

By incorporating field trips, cultural events, and local guest speakers into the curriculum, the program takes every opportunity to explore the city of Lyon as an extension of the classroom. Excursions outside the city have, in the past, included destinations like Annecy, Beaune and Avignon.  Independent travel to Paris, a mere 2 hour TGV trip from Lyon, is encouraged either over a long weekend or upon completion of the course.

The Lyon Program is speficially designed by UVA faculty to complement the university’s curriculum. This program allows students to earn actual UVA credit and grades (as opposed to transfer credit) while being immersed in the cultural life of France.

UVA faculty are in residence during the program, making this an ideal experience for students who have not yet traveled to France or who are still learning French.

Course Offerings

All courses taught in French

4-week session

FREN 3585/4585:  Topics in Cultural Studies (3 credits)

Interdisciplinary seminar in French culture and society. Topics vary annually and may include literature and history, cinema and society, and cultural anthropology.  Prerequisite:  FREN 3032.

Coming in Summer 2021:

Two 3000/4000-level courses TBD


6-week session (Returning in Summer 2022!) 

FREN 2010-2020: Intermediate French (6 credits)

This 6-credit/6-week sequence focuses on the development of speaking, listening, reading and writing skills in French while taking full advantage of the unique cultural immersion experience of life in Lyon. Expanding the walls of the classroom into the city itself, students will enjoy cultural outings designed to complement the curriculum. (Fulfills year 2 of the College Required Course Sequence).

Former students wrote:  “The teachers were amazing and I learned so much in a short time frame.” “All the activities deepened my understanding because we used French and experienced cultural aspects first hand.’” Class was a great mix of traditional academic instruction and activity-based practice.” “The professors were immensely helpful and willing to aid in my learning of the language.” The classes were intellectually engaging. It was nice to speak and learn about French from the context of actually living in France instead of viewing it from the outside.”

FREN 3031: Finding Your Voice in French  (3 credits)

Interested in perfecting your writing skills while immersed in an authentic and exciting cultural environment? This course offers an opportunity for students to explore and develop their own “voice” in written and spoken French. The city of Lyon will be a living language laboratory in which students can experiment and apply the lessons of the classroom to daily communication in French. Students will develop greater confidence in their communicative skills, command of grammar, and ability to revise and edit their own work. The course is conducted entirely in French. Prerequisite for this summer course: FREN 2020 or FREN 2320

One former student wrote:  “Sherri is an awesome grammar teacher! Many of the topics I’d already interacted with but this was the first time I’d understood many of them.”

FREN 3034:  Advanced Oral and Written Expression in French, “Café Culture: The Art of Speaking and Writing Well in French” (3 credits)

Writers of "the Lost Generation," such as Hemingway, chose the café as a preferred location for writing and observing French life. Students enrolled in FREN 3034 will meet and work in cafés and migrate throughout the city of Lyon, as they work on perfecting their oral and written skills in French. FREN 3034 is a course for intermediate-level students who wish to improve their mastery of the French language while studying contemporary French culture. Prerequisite for this summer course: FREN 2020 or FREN 2320.

Former students wrote:  “This class challenged me to think about cultures outside of my own and allowed me to gain a perspective I never would have had otherwise. Lova is an amazing professor and I would jump at the chance to take a class with her again!”

Application Procedure

Students must complete the UVA Study Abroad application on-line at Applications are due on April 15, 2021.

For summer of 2021, students will apply to the four-week program consisting of two upper-level French courses. As part of the program application, students applying to the four-week program will be asked to list the courses they are interested in taking, in order of preference. Enrollment requests will be reviewed by the Program Director and are not guaranteed; students should list a minimum of 3 courses in order of preference.

UVA  in Lyon Summer 2021 Dates
June 19 - July 17, 2021 (4 week session)

Program Deadlines

Costs and Financial Aid

More information on the cost of the program can be found by clicking here and looking at the Budget Sheets (Summer = 4 week program). For the 2021 four-week session, the billable subtotal is $4,570.00 for in-state and $5,284.00 for out-of-state. This includes: tuition and fees (including a Summer 2021 program fee), housing, Medex insurance, program dinners and luncheons,  program-directed excursions travel costs, program-related guided tours and cultural events. These figures do not include Airfare, course materials, personal meals(note that each hotel room does include a fully-equipped kitchenette). and expenses or local transportation.

Financial Aid is available for this program. For a financial aid application and information, visit

For additional financial assistance:

Apply for ISO Scholarships on-line at


Students will be housed in a business-class residential hotel located within the heart of the city, just 5 minutes from the center.  The Cercle Villemanzy building dates to the 17th century and is perched on the slopes of the Croix-Rousse hill,  offering a magnificent view of the Rhône and the city of Lyon. The residence offers fully equipped accommodations; it also provides common facilities (gym & lounge), along with meeting rooms and conference rooms.

Cercle Villemanzy
Résidence Internationale de Lyon
21, montée Saint-Sébastien
69001 LYON
Tel: (33) 4 72 00 19 00

Program Contact Information:

Program Director: Janet Horne

Program Assistant: Kelley Rose


UVA International Studies Office
208 Minor Hall
P.O. Box 400165
Charlottesville, VA 22904
Phone: (434) 982-3010

Student Reflections on Lyon

"I had an amazing time in Lyon. It was a very comfortable place to improve my French and the experiences I gained will stick with me forever."
      ~Martha Eason

" I could go on and on and on and on about how absolutely fabulous Lyon was."
      ~Lauren Newman

"One of my favorite moments...was when I realized I had been walking around Lyon for days without using a map and that I didn't need one anymore."
      ~Codi Trigger

"The UVa in Lyon program offered me a perfect way to experience France with its fair balance of organized program activities, which helped us to acquaint ourselves with the city and its culture, and gain confidence in a unknown place. Still we had plenty of free time, which I got to spend exploring on my own and with fellow students. A couple of experiences I will never forget include: cooking with a chef in Lyon (the gastronomical capital of France!), a 40km tandem bike ride in the town of Annecy with the French Alps as our backdrop, staying up all night for the summer solstice music festival, or a simple walk, browsing used books from vendors by the river and a glace enjoyed while strolling the cobblestone streets of Vieux Lyon (the historical district). "The assurance and encouragement I received from the locals when I practiced French in "real life" is something I will always remember fondly. Whether asking for peppers in the local market or directions to the nearest metro stop, I was often met with receptive smiles. My experience in Lyon really encouraged ownership of my trip to France by giving me a personal perspective on a previously unknown city and by contextualizing my French studies in unique and intimate way."
      ~Norhan Fillo