5 steps to organize a language stay in France with a pro

organizing trips
Aug 12, 2022
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Before setting foot on the land of Marion Cotillard and Coco Chanel, or coming to bite into a delicious macaroon after a visit to the Louvre, there are certain preliminary steps to follow … And a French language travel agency like Vacances Actives Linguistiques is here to guide you. 

Planning a language study trip requires time and anticipation, in order to concoct an ad hoc program, corresponding to your objectives, whether you are students, learners, adults, or organizing teachers. What is the purpose of your French speaking holiday? School or university project, development for a professional project, linguistic immersion, thematic trip, observation internship in a company… etc… Once you know why, Vacances Actives can tell you how

First step : Defining the duration of the language or cultural stay

Estimate the duration of the trip

Determining the duration of the language stay is the first logical step in its preparation. For this trip to be effective, in terms of “educational” benefits, it is recommended to leave for 10 days or even 2 weeks. The program of a language stay is balanced between FLE (French as a foreign language) courses and visits or cultural activities: so to save time for discovery, it is better to commit to at least 2 weeks. In any case, a week is a minimum! 

This recommended duration is well suited to European travellers, who will have little administrative formalities and little travel time.

For learners from across the Atlantic, for example, the travel time and the procedures to enter French territory justify an extended language stay, over 3 or 4 weeks. Time for a successful Summer Camp!

For a long-term immersion, with a view to being hired for example, or to carry out an internship in a French company, a stay of 3 to 6 months is advisable, provided that the preliminary administrative procedures are respected. 

Anticipate your trip!

There are many requests for language stays, and administrative formalities such as obtaining visas – for certain countries outside the European Union – involve significant delays to be taken into account. An advance of 3 months is appropriate for a group of travellers coming from the Schengen area; while a minimum semester will be necessary for an American or Russian group for example.

In some cases, your travel agent can adapt to your deadlines and work in a hurry!

American partners such as French high schools generally anticipate planning their school trip a year in advance. 

Do you know the number of participants in the trip? Do you have precise specifications? Then your agency will be able to plan your stay with all the more speed and relevance! 

Step 2: Choosing the right destination

Your travel advisor within the VAL team will be a source of suggestions to help you choose the best destination in France for your language study trip, depending on the season, your goals and your affinities. And if you have a particular appetite for 20th century history, for oceanic landscapes, wine culture or gastronomy, if you have a need for a beach or a large capital, then your advisor will direct you to the most judicious French destination for your French speaking vacations! From Paris to Nice, from Alsace to Normandy, the accents vary but the French language is always a pleasure to learn with our certified teachers and our guides!!  

Step 3: The logistics stage: transport and accommodation

Organize moves and transports

Your travel agency plans and books transport services in order to provide all types of moves during your stay: transfers, trips, activities, journeys between cities – by public or private transport, coach, train or minibus. Travel management respects precise specifications, in terms of quality, safety and reliability, and adapts to groups. 

What about the booking of air transport? 

This is the first budget item: strong anticipation is required, especially when travelling as a group! The more you reserve in advance, the more you can lower the overall budget, without compromising the quality or safety of the project. Your travel agency can help you make the right choices, seize opportunities and lower costs!

Choose your accommodation

An agency specializing in language stays such as our agency offers several types of accommodation suitable for families and groups, depending on their objective and their budget: 

  • hotel (2 or 3 stars), 
  • residences / youth hostels,
  • host families

If you opt for an accommodation in a hotel, residence, youth hostel, all these establishments are previously checked, validated and regularly visited by your travel agency. It is then a question of choosing the type of room: single, double or dormitory, according to the profile and the budget. In this context, you have the assurance of reliable, comfortable and clean accommodation, the location of which is optimal for all the activities of the program, and the price of which is negotiated as accurately as possible by your travel agent.

If you opt for a host family accommodation, then the benefits of the language stay will be maximized! The families welcoming FLE travellers are carefully selected by your travel agent according to the place of residence, accessibility, accommodation capacity and their interpersonal skills. Home Sweet Home! Foreign learners are warmly received by families and in optimal material and sanitary conditions. Accommodation in language immersion is certainly more restrictive, but less expensive and brings real benefits from a human, social and educational point of view. 

Step 4: The fun stage: preparing the language study program

Choosing the pace of language courses

A specialized agency has experienced and qualified partners: French-language schools or associations, certified teachers, FLE guides, etc. Thanks to these trusted providers, it is possible to offer quality individual or group lessons adapted to the level of each traveller. Depending on the objective and the level targeted, you can choose a sustained 50/50 teaching pace: French lessons in the morning and activities in the afternoon. Or reduce the number of hours of lessons, especially if you have opted for accommodation with a host family. 

The VAL agency cooperates with FLE schools ideally located in the main French destinations, with very comfortable educational and material conditions.

Choose the activities of the language stay: ask for the program!

Two options are available to you and your group:

  • a stay pre-established by your travel agent, an itinerary and activities optimized for your stay, at a lower cost
  • a tailor-made program, fully customizable, according to your objectives, your affinities, and your specific requests. 

Having a perfect knowledge of the destination and its secrets, your travel advisor will guide you and compose the travel diary which brings together the activities and experiences that best suit you. Classics : museums, must-see monuments, or unusual : craft workshops, treasure hunts, photo challenges,… so many activities to immediately reuse French language skills and develop knowledge. Our agency likes to diversify its offers to respond as closely as possible to the demand of learning travellers: 

  • purely language or culture-oriented stays
  • thematic trips, 
  • Or “French exception” stays with a selection of unique experiences around icons and emblematic activities of the destination.

Step 5 : the administrative procedures before arriving in France

Before the celebration of the journey, it must go through the stage of administrative formalities to enter French territory, which differ depending on the country.

For a short stay (less than 3 months), travellers from the EU must bring a valid identity document. If you come from another foreign country outside Schengen, your travel agent will help you collect all the necessary supporting documents (repatriation guarantee, medical and hospital expenses insurance, visa of less than 3 months, etc.).

Each stage of the organization of your language stay is guided by your advisor to anticipate, think of everything, and plan the trip that corresponds to the expectations and affinities of your group. The language travel agency is here to help you plan, reassure you and simplify the organization of a language stay in the best sanitary and material conditions. 

So, let’s choose a destination? 

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