Studying French in Paris With EF Paris

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Paris is usually one of the most popular destinations in Europe that every tourist wants to visit. I visited Paris for the first time at the age of 16 but ended up coming back many times. I was fortunate enough to also study French in Paris with EF.

Study Abroad at EF Paris – Review

My first time in Paris years ago when digital photos weren’t even popular.

While there are plenty of language schools in the city, the majority of them are not only expensive but also provide no accommodation. Hotels in Paris are extremely pricey and hostels aren’t cheap either, and more importantly, they aren’t for everyone. This is why I decided to study with EF – Education First language school in Paris.


Staying with a host family

I chose the option to stay with a host family with half-board meals, as I wanted to interact with local French people. Unfortunately, I have to say that after my third attempt, I will never do it again. When my host family picked me up from the bus station, I found out that they actually didn’t even live in Paris. Moreover, they lived in a closed Gendarmerie (French police) district, so to enter I had to get a special permit.

The family dropped me off and informed me that they’re actually never at home. Not to mention that they fed me with only 1 loaf of toast with only a half slice of cheese per day. After I spent over 2 hours on the train, Metro, and bus to get to school, I decided to change. Probably not something you’d like to experience when studying in Paris.

None of the other host families had space, so I got a placement at the student residence without extra charge.

Great parties included in the price ;-)

Great parties included in the price 😉


Living in a student residence

The location of the EF Paris student residence was perfect. It was right in the center of Paris, and only a five minute walk away from the school. Unfortunately, the praise ends here. The moment I arrived at the reception instead of a friendly, ‘Bonjour, ca va?’, I heard ‘Hello, you’re the new student?

Here are the rules to sign and the deposit to pay!’.

There was a deposit of 300 euros and the rules indicated:

  • The kitchen was closed between 10 PM and 8 AM, meaning I had no access to my fridge. Not only that, there was a 50 euro fine to pay for keeping food in my room.
  • No visitors were allowed from school or outside, or there was a 50 euro fine to pay.
  • Persons of the opposite sex could not enter the room and if he/she did, there was a fine of 150 euros.
  • Friends could not ever visit, or you would pay 100 euros, etc, etc.

I think you can get a sense that the place was quite strict. It sounds terrible, but I still had plenty of fun. Even though I had to pay a 100 euro fine because my classmate entered my room for only 10 minutes!

By living in the residence hall, I think I also bonded with other students way better. I made more friends than those who lived with host families and had to go back home for dinner every day. One can see this as an advantage, but because most of the students were from Mexico, I ended up speaking more Spanish than French. So it totally depends on what do you want.

When Parisians heard us speaking Spanish in restaurants, they wanted to practice their Spanish instead of giving us the opportunity to practice our French. So if you want to practice French, don’t use any Spanish. Anywhere.

Rules meant to be broken: of course we had food in the room.

Rules meant to be broken: of course, we had food in the room.


Studying at EF language school

Because the language school was located in the center of Paris, this gave all of us the opportunity to easily get lunch or hang out after classes. On our first day, we had to take a written and oral placement exam to determine our language level.

If you fail a test and end up on a wrong level, you might end up wasting a week of classes. I was put in a class where the level wasn’t high enough for me. But there was a stupid rule that I could only change my level after a week, regardless of your teacher’s opinion.

Besides this small issue, the school was more than fine and I couldn’t really complain. The teachers were French native speakers and only spoke to us in French, with no English at all. However, if you really want to learn a language quickly, I would never recommend taking a language course with a group and sign up for individual classes. This is how I’ve learned Spanish in 6 weeks.

It might be more fun to study with other people and it’s definitely less costly. But I think individual classes can give you much more in a shorter time. At EF you could also do courses with a few individual classes on top of a regular group course.ef-paris-residence

Studying abroad in Paris

My lovely Mexican friends.


Free time

The school was organizing activities for their students every week. I attended various nights out to best nightclubs in Paris, gatherings with locals, and weekend trips. Trust me, you won’t be able to attend everything. While I missed out on some weekend trips, I remember the school arranged a trip to Mont St-Michel, Loire Valley castles, and Amiens.

Advantages of studying at EF Paris:

  • Studying in Paris can give you the unique opportunity to live in the French capital. All of that without going through a ton of trouble finding accommodation and getting a residence permit.

Would I study at EF again?

I’d surely recommend EF to anyone wanting to learn a new language. It’s a professional organization, one of the best out there, and even if you experience any issues, they’ll fix it for you. I’d totally study at EF again.

I was not sponsored by EF to attend the course and write about it. All opinions are my own as usual. Don’t be afraid of asking any additional questions in the comments below?

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23 Comments

  1. Oct 28, 2014 / 8:17 pm

    Looks like you had fun even tho it does seem like it was more fun than studying

  2. Eva
    Oct 31, 2014 / 1:07 pm

    I remember these digital photographies like the one with you in front of Notre Dame… it was much more fun to wait to get your photos back!

    • Oct 31, 2014 / 1:12 pm

      I totally agree with this! I still print my photos even tho I have them in a digital form 😉

  3. Mar 13, 2015 / 12:59 am

    I’m gald that despite the difficulties that you encountered, overall you enjoyed the experience of studying French in one of the most beautiful city in the world. I studied French in Mexico City at the Alliance Française in 2001 and in the summer of 2003, at the age of 22, I went to Paris to take an intensive course at the same school, and when I mean intensive it was intensive, from noon to 5 pm. What I loved about my exprience was that after class I was able to interact with locals and practice the language. Just once, when I was on board the urban train heading to Versaille, a French woman was explaining to me in French about all of the atractions that I could see in the Château de Versailles. I was understanding everything she was saying, but all of the sudden she asked me if I speak English, my biggest error was saying yes, because she started explaining everything in English. In a Bristrol, once I’ve told the owner that I was from Mexico, he began telling me in French all the thing he likes about my homeland. I stayed in the student residence in the Cité de la Université, I did not had any problems. Since I began planning my trip, I decided not to stay with a host family, I wanted to have all the freedom to move around and not be limited by the daily rutine of the family. In the month I was in Paris, I think I was able to see every corner of the city. During the Fête de la Musique, a classmate and I spent the whole day walking around Paris, seeing and listening to all the musicians that were playing on the streets and interact with the locals until the next day. Around 6 am I got back to the the student residence, and I did not have any problems nor I had to pay any sort of fine. I don’t recall if there were any rules, I think it was keep the room clean, and that was all.

  4. Lin
    Nov 3, 2016 / 3:43 am

    Would you recommend this program to someone? I am interested in signing up and doing about 4 weeks in Paris. What age were you when you went? Would you recommend not even trying a home stay? Thank you!

    • Nov 3, 2016 / 3:10 pm

      Hi Lin! I’d definitely recommend a homestay, just make sure that your accommodation isn’t outside of Paris like it happened in my case. It definitely give you more opportunities to speak French. When I went I was 23 – there were many people my age. I’d recommend these courses for sure, but you need to throw yourself out there to speak French outside of classes as obviously everyone speaks English 😉

    • Júlia
      Jan 22, 2017 / 11:12 am

      Hi! I am also thiking on going to France with EF this summer but I’m still not sure if I would rather go to Paris or Nice. Do you recommend me Paris more? PS: Thanks for the info in this blog entry!

      • Júlia
        Jan 22, 2017 / 11:14 am

        Oh and I was wondering how were EF activities after classes…? Because I went to Dublin last year but I didn’t really go to the activities.

  5. Camille
    Dec 27, 2016 / 4:12 am

    Hi! I’m interested in doing a similar thing next summer, however I’m pretty young (17 but will be almost 18 by next summer). I’m concerned there won’t be any kids my age. Were there high schoolers when you were there? Merci!

    • Dec 27, 2016 / 3:46 pm

      There definitely will be! I haven’t hang out with any, but I know there were 🙂

  6. Valeria
    Apr 26, 2017 / 12:53 am

    Hi! I’m new to your blog and I absolutely love it! I have a couple of questions, I plan to go to EF paris after this summer (I will be 18). However, my french is quite poor, very low, I practically do not know anything besides introductions haha. Do you know if there is a class for people with such low level? I do plan on staying for quite a while, the time that is necessary to learn at least a moderate level. Also, how long is the average stay of students? Thank you so much! Greetings from Venezuela.

    • Apr 26, 2017 / 1:17 am

      Hi Valeria! Yes, there are always classes for beginners. I think you’ll actually benefit more than people with intermediate knowledge of French as you’ll be immersed with French. When I was there people were staying from 2 weeks to 3 months, so it varies 🙂

  7. Diana García
    May 12, 2017 / 2:44 am

    Which program did you do? Was it the intensive, general or basic? I am thinking of traveling to Paris for the French Intensive. I’m wondering if the intensive will give me enough free time to explore the city. Thanks!!!!

    • May 12, 2017 / 3:16 am

      I did general, but intensive is definitely best. You’ll have plenty of time to explore don’t worry! 🙂

  8. Jemaica Andrade
    May 14, 2017 / 12:17 pm

    Hi Miss Anna! I’m new to your blog and I’m pretty sure I’ll keep on reading some more, I love your life stories and experiences. I’d like to ask if 15 years olds are qualified? I have a really low knowledge about the language but would love to learn it. I want to start next summer (April to May here in Philippines) can a beginners course last for only two months? — I’d really love to go, I’m pretty sure it won’t be easy encouraging my parents, but for future plans and such– and other than French, can there be other schools in Europe that would teach their language? Like Spanish or Italian. Safe Travels Miss Anna!

    • May 14, 2017 / 11:13 pm

      Hi! You will be fine. I’m just not sure if you need to be 16 to attend the course, as that’s how it used to be in the past. I’d recommend to check their website or send an enquiry 🙂

  9. Jemaica Andrade
    May 14, 2017 / 12:29 pm

    And also, did you have a part-time job while you were in EF? Or did the school give you allowance? Thank you!

    • May 14, 2017 / 10:31 pm

      In Paris? No, I didn’t, but if you have a European passport I don’t see why not. Do you mean allowance in terms of money? If so, then no.

  10. Annie Shook
    May 26, 2017 / 5:53 pm

    I am considering EF Paris. But if I did it I would like to stay with a host family. Were you able to contact your host family before you got there? Where you given any information about them?

    • May 26, 2017 / 6:13 pm

      Yes, they give you an email 🙂

  11. Ian McIntosh
    Jun 6, 2017 / 4:40 am

    Hi Anna, I am considering doing a semester or academic year abroad with EF and I was just wondering if it would be worth it? I.E. did your understanding of French advance sufficiently / are you fluent? Obviously, it differs between people but for all the people you studied with at EF Paris did most of them become fluent? All of them?
    Thanks!

    • Jun 6, 2017 / 7:45 pm

      I wasn’t starting from zero when I did the course. The course is one thing, but practicing on a daily basis with French native speakers is the most useful part of it. But I also became fluent in Spanish in 6 weeks, while some take years, so I’m prob not the best person to ask ;-(

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