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Université Jean Monnet de Saint-Etienne

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Program Snapshot

Located an hour from Lyon and host to one of the stages in the Tour de France, Saint-Étienne is a hidden jewel known for its tradition of hospitality. Spend time engaging in a vast range of cultural and sporting activities or attend a soccer match of one of the best teams in France. Université Jean Monnet de Saint-Étienne offers a French language and culture program at the Centre International de Langue et Civilisation (CILEC) during the first semester. For the more advanced French speaker, students can take courses at the university taught in French.

For more information regarding programs in France, please contact Lindsay Moats or check out her blog.

Saint-Etienne is a city of the Rhone-Alpes region of southeast France, located near the Loire River. It is known as a white, blue and green area because of its skiing, boating, mountaineering and other outdoor pursuits. Cinemas, theaters, concerts, museums, entertainment of all kind, as well as leisure parks, a regional park with tracks for mountain biking and hiking, rock climbing, skiing, as well as a nautical base for sailing just 15 minutes away from the university. Saint-Etienne is the 14th largest town in France. Located in a greater urban district of 540,000 people, just 60 km away from Lyon. The French Alps are only some 150 km away, and a trip to the Mediterranean merely takes 3 hours, while Paris is 2 ½ hours by high-speed train. The Rhone-Alpes region has all the advantages of a great European region. In France, it is only second to Paris as a center of excellence for higher education and research, and offers a huge potential for higher education, culture and tourism.

ISEP Exchange: undergraduate and graduate programs available for an academic year or semester

ISEP-Exchange for International students.
ISEP-Exchange for US students.

Chance of Placement
ISEP Exchange chance of placement for US students is generally Good.
ISEP Exchange chance of placement for I-to-I students is generally Good.
For the most current chances of placement, see the Sites Open for Applications for US Students

Program Dates
Option 1: Full year or semester- enrollment in university courses
Academic year: September to May
Semester 1: September to December
Semester 2: January to May

Option 2: Semester 1 Only- enrollment in French language and culture courses at the Centre International de Langue et Civilisation (CILEC)
Semester 1: September to December

Fast Facts
St. Etienne, France (pop. 200,000)
Student Enrollment: 15,000
Language of instruction: French
University Home Page
Courses in English
Centre International de Langue et Civilisation (CILEC)


Option 1: Full year or semester- enrollment in regular university courses

Economics and Law: economic and social administration, public administration, management, accounting and audit studies, economics, law

Letters and Humanities: applied foreign languages, art, education, French letters and literature, geography, history [medieval, Renaissance, modern, contemporary & regional history], information and communication, classical & modern languages & literatures, Classics (Latin and Greek), English, German, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish literature and civilization], musicology, sociology

Sciences: biology, chemistry, computer science, ecology, electronics, geoscience and environmental studies, instrumentation for physical science, macromolecular materials, mathematics, mathematics applied to social sciences, physics, plastics technology, structures & materials science, telecommunications, sport (adapted exercise and healthcare, education and motricity, sports training) .

Option 2: Semester 1 ONLY- Full time enrollment in French language and culture courses at the Centre International de Langue et Civilisation (CILEC)

Courses meet 18 hours/week and aim to allow students to express themselves in French more fluently in interactive classes; Perfect their writing skills and improve their knowledge of grammar; Discover French society via surveys, meeting people and interviews.

Courses taught in English

Students should not expect to take a full course load in English but may combine couses taught in French and in English.

Fall Semester:
- Body Language and Social Interaction
- Arts et spectacles: du theatre greco-romain au Total Art

Spring Semester:
- American Value and Belief Patterns from a European Perspective
- The US Constitution: Major Issues of Debate
- Major Issues of the 20th Century (US-centered)

For more information on courses taught in English, click on "Courses in English" above.

Academic Notes

Economics, humanities, law and science are appropriate for ISEP students. Noted research centers operate in the fields of Renaissance studies and classics, study of European monastic orders, and urban and regional economics.

Students typically enroll in 6-12 classes per term which averages to 12 hours in class per week. A term runs for 12-14 weeks.


Transcripts are sent to ISEP in February and June and then immediately released to the student's home institution if there are no outstanding financial obligations.

Language Notes

Option 1: Full year or semester- enrollment in university courses

Language Recommendation: Level B1/B2: Typically 4-5 semesters of university level French OR 3+ consecutive years of French language study.
Language Notes: Up to 2 classes on French culture (3 hours/week) at CILEC are included in ISEP benefits during the second semester.
Pre-session: A pre-session French language course is offered for an additional fee for beginner and intermediate levels.

Option 2: Semester 1 ONLY- enrollment in French language and culture courses at the Centre International de Langue et Civilisation (CILEC)

Language Recommendation: Level A2: Typically 2-3 semesters of university level French OR 2+ consecutive years of French language study.
Intermediate and advanced levels of instruction offered.

Special ISEP Application Instructions

ISEP participants must have junior-level standing.

All students studying in France must purchase French health insurance (la Sécu) upon arrival for approximately 215 euros in addition to purchasing ISEP Health Insurance prior to departure.

Housing and Meals
Students are housed in single-occupancy rooms in a university residence hall and receive a cash stipend for meals. There are two university restaurants and cafeterias. No married student housing is available.


You are responsible for all of your personal expenses including: optional fees (e.g. computer, language, science lab fees), books, local transportation, entertainment, etc. The amount below is provided as a guide; the actual amount needed will vary depending on courses and personal habits. Your personal expenses per month, including books, are estimated at 300 euros.

Orientation covers housing, health, emergencies, safety and general information in the morning, followed by lunch, administrative paperwork in the afternoon. Students participating in the French language and culture courses at CILEC will take a language proficiency test usually on the following day. Students will be accompanied to help them open a bank account. Orientation generally also includes local tours to help students getting familiar with their surroundings.

The on-campus international student organization SaVa provides a buddy program prior to arrival to help international students get acquainted with life in Saint-Etienne. If given notice at least TWO WEEKS before arrival, the international office will arrange for pick-up at the main train station either by SaVa or by the host coordinator. Otherwise, students should follow arrival directions in acceptance packet.


Host will provide arrival directions with acceptance packet

Student Activities
The sports service (SUAPS) offers numerous activities from aikido to water-polo. The University organizes and sponsors concerts, conference, exhibitions, and cultural events. International students have the possibility of participating in numerous extra-curricular activities: theater, choir, student newspaper, sports, cooking and (moderate!) wine tasting clubs. The foreign students center sponsors tours of local sights and organizes affordable regional excursions (Lyon, Alps, medieval festival in Le Puy) as well as visits to Paris and the Côte d'Azur.

Community Engagement (Internships, Service-Learning, Volunteering, etc.)
There are several opportunities for volunteering in the community through campus and church organizations. There is a possibility to engage in English language assistant teaching at local schools.

A multidisciplinary university, Saint-Etienne was founded in 1970. It has a "stephanoise" orientation to the regions social and economic needs. Facilities include research labs and an electron microscope center as well as a brand-new sports center.
Total enrollment: 15,000 students.