Rennes, France


With a population of just over 200,000, Rennes is an ideal setting for study in France. Just two hours west of Paris by train, Rennes is the capital of Brittany. Economically very dynamic, the city is known as a center for technology. The city offers a rich variety of cultural events and activities from theatre, opera and live music to soccer and ice skating. Rennes also provides students with an opportunity to learn about the unique Celtic (Bretan) culture of the region.

The Program

HWS has maintained a long-standing relationship with CIEE, the organization that delivers the program in Rennes. The program is taught entirely in French and students are expected to interact with one another, with fellow students and with their host families in French as well. A cultural orientation begins in Paris and then the program moves to Rennes where all students begin with an intensive language and cultural competency course. Following this course, students choose from a variety of electives ranging from French language, composition, grammar and conversation, to literature, history, cultural studies and the like. Instruction takes place at the Université de Haute Bretagne’s (UHB) division of humanities (Rennes II). French language courses are delivered by UHB’s Centre International Rennais d’Etude du Français pour Les Estrangers where CIEE students study alongside other non-native French speakers from around the world. Students with more advanced language skills also have the option of enrolling in one UHB class alongside local French students and may choose from any department at Rennes II.


Students are required to take two language courses according to their level of proficiency, the initial Preliminary Language and Culture course plus another required language workshop during the term. In addition students will select from a menu of course choices in their own proficiency range. Students will combine a number of different courses worth 14-16 ‘semester hours’ to earn a total of 4 HWS course credits. The following list gives some examples of electives typically available:

  • Contemporary French Civilization
  • Translation
  • Techniques in French Writing
  • Oral Technique
  • French Cinema
  • History of France
  • The French Press
  • Contemporary France through Current Events
  • French Literature (Poetry, Theatre, Novel)
  • French Economy
  • History of Art and Architecture

Students may also elect a credit-bearing teaching internship in lieu of an elective. Placement may be in an elementary or high school class, and usually involves teaching English as a Second Language. Students who enroll directly at the University for one course may elect from disciplines such as history, anthropology, art history, sociology, economics, philosophy and Breton language, to name a few. For more detailed information on curriculum and the Institute, students should review the CIEE website Liberal Arts in Rennes.

Academic Focus

This program is particularly designed for students who wish to major or minor in French and Francophone studies and who are committed to a full immersion experience. However, as the partial list of available electives and internships indicates, this program can contribute to a variety of academic disciplines.


Students live in French homes, the best way to experience French daily life first-hand, either in Rennes or in a close suburb. Students have breakfast and dinner Monday through Friday and all weekend meals at their homestay. Meal tickets are distributed for lunches during the week.


Open to sophomores, juniors and seniors in good academic and social standing with a minimum overall GPA of 2.75 and a minimum GPA of 3.0 in French. Students must have completed the equivalent of 5 semesters of college-level French. Due to the challenging nature of study abroad, student academic and disciplinary records will be carefully screened.


The academic program is supplemented by a range of cultural activities and field trips, which include the initial orientation in Paris, visits to museums, a Rennes city tour, theater performances, and group dinners. In past semesters, students have participated in field trips to the southwestern coast of Brittany, the beaches of Normandy, and a tour of the castles along the Loire Valley. One 2-day and two 1-day excursions take place during the spring semester.

Going Abroad With the CGE

Students will be charged standard HWS tuition and fees, room and board fees and a $600 administrative fee. This will cover credit for a four-credit semester, health insurance, homestay accommodation, all meals, and course-related excursions. Additional expenses not covered include airfare, books, visa and personal expenses (laundry, entertainment, ground transportation and independent travel). We estimate airfare for this program at $1000-$1200 from the East Coast, books/other course materials at $225, visa-related expenses at approximately $230 (note that students are required to apply for their visa in person in New York City and will need to return there to pick up the visa—please budget accordingly, as these trips are not included in the $230 visa estimate.) It is difficult to give an accurate estimate of personal expenses because student spending habits differ considerably. We would suggest a minimum of $1,500. However, students on a tight budget should be able to manage with less. If you are concerned about finances, we strongly encourage you to talk to the CGE staff who can offer information and advice based on your specific situation.


  • This program is offered every semester.
  • Applications are available at the Center for Global Education.
  • Applications are due at the CGE office on a selected date in October (for fall programs) and March (for spring programs). For specific dates contact the CGE.

NOTE: This information is subject to change. Please see the CGE for more information.



Hobart and William Smith Colleges,
Geneva, NY 14456
(315) 781-3000

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