The city of Montpellier seems almost built for students, as they make up almost a quarter of the city’s population; as a result, the nightlife is great, and student deals and discounts are everywhere. There is always something going on, and lots of free events, exhibitions and activities for students that you can take advantage of with your ILA student card.
Montpellier is also a very popular choice for international students, so on top of the friends you make through ILA French language school, there are even more opportunities to meet people from all over the world. The Erasmus groups in Montpellier are very active, and run events all through the week for international students to get to know each other, integrate into French life, and have fun. When you go to an Erasmus night out for example, everyone is so welcoming and keen to make new friends, being in the same position as students in a new city and a new country. If you’re not really into going out, there are also more wholesome activities, such as ice skating or laser tag, and often hikes or trips to other French cities at the weekend which I can really recommend.
The excursions and activities from ILA are also a great way to meet other ILA students outside of your French classes. The programme of extracurricular activities is really varied here, so you have the chance to meet other students through cooking classes, kayaking, or visits to other cities. Not only can you go with other students from ILA French school, but lots of the excursions are run by an external guide, so you often meet other people who have come to explore what the south of France has to offer.
Even meeting other international students gives you a chance to practise your French, as lots of people have come to Montpellier with the same goal: French immersion. Practising with someone else who is also learning French can be less intimidating than practising with native French speakers, and it’s easy to help each other out. The Erasmus organisations here often run events to help you practise your French as well, by putting international students in contact with native French speakers. I wrote another blog post all about the opportunities to learn French outside of your French courses; there are many language exchange evenings, and buddy systems to pair you up with French students. Montpellier is also a really friendly city, so you don’t even need to rely on things like this to help you make French friends. Every time you get a coffee, or grab lunch, you have the opportunity to practise your French and to make conversation with French people. Especially if you go out in the evenings, it’s really easy to make French friends in bars and clubs, and people really appreciate it when you try and speak their language. I’m also convinced that having a drink or two actually significantly improves your French.
All in all, there is no better city in France to be an international student. The opportunities for students here are unparalleled, and both the other international students and the French locals are super friendly and easy-going. Plus, it helps that it’s a beautiful city too!