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USAC Lyon Program

Fast Facts

Sessions Offered:

Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer, Academic Year


Lyon, France




- Good academic and disciplinary standing

- Minimum UI and cumulative GPA of 2.5

- Language requirement for semester and year-long program: 2 years of college-level French

- Language requirement for summer program: One year of college-level French

Application Due:

Spring: 9/24

Fall: 2/24

Academic year: 2/24

Summer: 3/1

Program Cost:

Click the Application tab.

USAC Lyon Program

Live and study abroad in France's third-largest city, home to an international population and architecture from over two millennia. This program offers students the opportunity to study intensive French language, from second-year French and up, and an array of electives taught in both French and English.

Academic Program

UI students earn resident credit for this program. Please review course options for future terms with an academic advisor to determine applicability to your degree program.

The Lyon semester- and year-long programs offer an intensive language approach at L’Université Catholique de Lyon (Lyon Catholic University), where you will be able to earn up to 12 credits of French in one semester. Depending on your language level, you will choose electives in culture, political science, cinema, economics, or literature taught specifically for USAC students. The university itself also offers the opportunity to enroll in courses—taught in either English or French—with French students. You may choose to stay for one semester or a full year.


Students enroll in a minimum of 12 semester hours of intensive French language courses at the Institute of French Studies with other international students. A placement test will be administered before the semester (upon arrival in France) to help place students into the appropriate language level.

Students may also enroll in one or two USAC elective courses in French and European Studies or a course at L’Université Catholique de Lyon. The Resident Director will assist you in identifying an appropriate course. A maximum of 18 credits may be taken per semester. Course availability may be subject to change for reasons beyond our control, such as student interest.

With department approval, courses can be applied towards requirements for the French major or minor, the International Business Certificate, or other majors as appropriate.


Note: This program is not available for the Summer 2021 session.

Students enroll in at least four and up to five semester hours of French studies or at least three and up to five semester hours of Art History studies. A placement test will be administered before the session to help place students into the appropriate language level.

At least one 3 s.h. course is required during the summer session.


The list of courses on USAC's website does not guarantee availability or descriptions. Courses are subject to minor changes resulting from ongoing curricular review, faculty assignments, and program revisions. Course availability is conditional on student interest and enrollment. Please visit the USAC website for complete course descriptions.

Cultural Activities

USAC students enjoy the privileges accorded to French students. You are encouraged to participate in local university activities, student clubs, and organizations as a natural way for you to meet French university students. These may include badminton, dance, golf, Basque pelota, tennis, swimming, yoga, handball, basketball, volleyball, rugby, gymnastics, weight lifting, hiking, rock climbing, canoeing, surfing, and spelunking.

Several community organizations in Pau offer courses in drawing, painting, cooking, music, and dance. Information concerning enrollment in these activities is available from the Resident Director on-site. The modest fees for these activities are the responsibility of the student. Other activities listed below.

  • Participate with local students in the many different sports activities offered at the university
  • Interact with French locals in homestays or residence halls
  • Take part in campus activities and festivals
  • Volunteer to teach English in French schools
  • Participate in student clubs aimed towards social consciousness, business, arts and many more
  • Practice French with conversation partners
  • Take courses with local students
  • Program Dates

    Fall: Late August - mid-December

    Spring: Mid-January - Mid-May

    Summer: Beginning June - mid-July (4 weeks)

    For more information

    Steps to Studying Abroad

    1. Before initiating an application with USAC, students must complete a Discover Study Abroad session at the University of Iowa. 
    2. After completing the Discover Abroad session, students must call the Study Abroad office at 319-335-0353 to be assigned to the appropriate study abroad advisor.
    3. Once assigned, students must meet with their study abroad advisor to receive program application instructions.

    Study Abroad
    1111 University Capitol Centre
    Iowa City, IA 52242

    Phone: 319-335-0353

    Catholic University of Lyon

    Catholic University of Lyon (Université Catholique de Lyon) is located in the city center and is a has two campuses that are easy to access via the tram and public bus system within Lyon. USAC participants have student privileges on campus, including access to numerous sports activities including yoga, judo, modern dance, tennis, mountain climbing, canoeing, and much more. It is a spacious campus with sports facilities, two large dining halls, and several residence halls. Many students also live around the city in home stays or in shared apartments. Three bus lines connect it to the city and in total there are around 10,000 students.


    Lyon is one of the most attractive cities in France, creating a fresh combination of the bustle of a large, European city and the simplicity of French tradition. The Presqu’île of Lyon serves as the city center with towering business buildings, blocks of busy shops, and streets lined with cafés full of Lyonnais taking their afternoon break. The charm of the city lies in your ability to escape the crowds by turning onto a quiet cobblestone street and ducking into a small bistro, where you are sure to get a chance to practice your French. Spend your weekends biking or strolling along the Rhône or Saône rivers, planning a Sunday picnic with friends, or wandering through some of the most well-preserved Renaissance architecture in the world.


    For as long as the United States has existed, France has been considered a center of culture within the world and has had a significant impact from contributions to food, art, fashion, and sciences. The largest country in the European Union is also one of the greenest, with stunning natural views and iconic landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower, the Lourve and the Palace of Versailles. The French people are passionate about their country and their way of life. Explore a rich history by visiting classic churches, dive into French cuisine, and enjoy a glass of wine or latte at any of the wonderful French cafes.

    US Department of State Country Information

    The US Department of State provides safety and security information for every country of the world to help you assess for yourself the risks of travel. Each country information page contains a Travel Advisory, Alerts, and other important details specific to that country that could affect you.

    Pay close attention to the entry and exit requirements, local laws and customs, health conditions, and other details to help decide whether traveling to any given country is right for you. Non-US citizen travelers may also wish to seek guidance from the embassy of their country of citizenship. The UI International Travel Policy for Students addresses restrictions on student travel to high-risk locations and engagement in high-risk activities abroad.

    Living Arrangements

    Homestay (Semester and Year-long only): Boarding with a family provides an unmatched opportunity for practicing your French and experiencing French culture and customs. While a homestay is not for everyone, USAC generally recommends living in a local home. The host family will provide you with an individual room, daily breakfast, and dinners five days a week. Private homes are located within Lyon or its suburbs.

    Residence Halls: Residence halls are a suitable option for those who have an independent lifestyle, but are used to group living, or for those who want to have higher exposure to French and international students. Students can choose from a single room in the University Residence Hall, or a shared or single room in the Private Residence Hall. Depending on the option you select, kitchen facilities will be available either in your room, or on each floor of the residence hall. You can also eat at the university restaurant as an inexpensive option.


    US Citizens

    If you do not have a passport, it is important that you apply for one as soon as possible to ensure you receive it before the program begins. US citizens can find more information about how to apply for a passport on the US Department of State’s website.

    Important notice for students without a valid passport or whose passport will expire within the next 12 months:

    US citizens can find more information about how to renew a passport on the US Department of State’s website.

    Students without a valid passport should apply for a new passport or a passport renewal as early as possible.

    Students with a valid passport should check the expiration date. Passports must be valid for at least 6 months AFTER the anticipated return to the US from studying abroad. If your passport is not valid for at least 6 months after your anticipated date of return to the US, you must renew your passport before applying for the visa you will need to enter your host country.

    Expedited processing service is available for US passports (although this still takes several weeks and is at an additional cost). UI Study Abroad encourages students to ask the passport agency at the time of application whether expedited service is recommended.

    Non-US Citizens

    Students who are not US citizens should contact Ryan Ourada ( for information on how to ensure that their passport is valid for the duration of their time abroad.


    Students will work with their program provider to make travel arrangements to their program site. The cost of travel is not included in the course fee. UI Study Abroad will not arrange a group flight to your study abroad destination.

    Do not purchase plane tickets until you have received instructions on how to do so from your program provider.

    Local Transportation

    Within your host city and around the country, students will utilize public transportation such as buses and trains. Excursions and general travel require a lot of walking, so bring some comfortable shoes!


    Students must be in good academic and disciplinary standing. Students who have an active case with the dean of students or who are on academic or disciplinary probation will not be accepted onto the program. Minimum UI and cumulative GPA: 2.5. Language requirement for the semester or year-long program: two years of college-level French. Language requirement for the summer program: minimum one year of college-level French.



    The Course Fee is charged on your U-Bill and covers tuition and fees including registration, orientation, field trips, and cultural activities as described on USAC's program website for Lyon. Students are also charged a study abroad administrative fee.

    The Fall 2021 drafted course fees can be found at the following link:

    Fall 2021 Estimated CostPDF

    Items not covered by the course fee include housing and meals, optional tour/courses, airfare, visa fees, and personal expenses. For estimated costs on these, consult the USAC website.

    The Iowa Regents mandatory International health insurance will also be collected on the U-Bill.


    Note: This program is not available for the Summer 2021 session.

    The course fee is billed on the summer U-Bill and includes tuition and fees, housing, some meals for homestay students, orientation, field trips, and cultural activities. Students are also charged a study abroad administrative fee.

    The Summer 2019 course fee can be found at the following link:

    Summer 2019 Cost - 3 s.h.PDF

    Summer 2019 Cost - 6 s.h.PDF

    Items not covered by the course fee include housing and meals, optional tour/courses, airfare, visa fees, and personal expenses. For estimated costs on these, consult the USAC website.

    The Iowa Regents mandatory International health insurance will also be collected on the U-Bill.

    How to Apply

    Before starting an online application for this program, students should meet with their study abroad advisor to discuss their program selection and receive information about supplemental materials that are required for an application. Appointments can be set up in person at 1111 UCC or over the phone at 319-335-0353.

    After meeting with your advisor, click here to apply.

    Application Deadline

    Spring: September 24

    Fall and Academic Year: February 24

    Summer: March 1

    Late applications will not be accepted.

    Acceptance and Confirmation Materials

    Coming soon.

    Health & Safety Planning

    In addition to submitting their Confirmation of Participation form, students should review the following:

    Study Abroad Resources

    Passports and Visas

    Iowa Regents CISI Health Insurance Information

    Students are also encouraged to complete the PDFHealth Preparation Guide for International Travel form with their medical practitioner. This document is intended to help you plan for your medical needs abroad. Please DO NOT turn this form in to UI Study Abroad.

    Scholarships & Financial Aid

    For more information about receiving financial aid while studying abroad, please review the following:UI Financial Aid Information

    You can find more information about options for funding your study abroad experience including scholarships on Undergraduate Scholarships for Study Abroad.

    In addition, take a look at USAC Scholarship website for information about scholarships offered directly through your program provider.


    U.S. passport holders should follow the Visa batch process instructions provided by USAC. Make sure to submit all required documents by the submission deadline. Otherwise you will have to apply for your student visa independently.

    The closest Consulate available to UI students is the Chicago consulate.

    U.S. Citizens will need a student visa if they are going abroad for a semester, or academic year. Typically, they will not need a visa for the summer sessions.

    Non-US Citizens- should refer to the Campus France Visa website for more information on French visa requirements.

    UI Study Abroad will hold advising appointments and/or information sessions to provide details on the visa application process. UI Study Abroad staff can provide some assistance on the French visa application process, but ultimately the individual traveler (the student) is the person who is responsible for providing correct information on the visa application and securing the visa and all other required documentation prior to travel.

    Prior to starting the visa application process check in with USAC for more information; they have a preferred timeline that students need to follow.


    In order to prepare for your time abroad, you are required by the University of Iowa to complete two orientations. These may be in addition to orientations provided by your on-site provider. See below for more information.

    Online Education Abroad Pre-Departure Orientation

    You are required to complete the International Programs ICON course "Education Abroad Pre-Departure Orientation" prior to departure. This orientation is mandatory for all students going abroad under the auspices of the University of Iowa. It covers many practical matters about living overseas, such as health and safety, communication, money, goals, and much more. You will be enrolled in this course by International Programs and an email will be sent to you once enrolled. If you have any questions, you can email

    Program-Specific Orientation

    This orientation will be facilitated by your study abroad advisor and will cover content specific to your program and host country. It could be conducted in a group setting or one-on-one depending on your type of planned activity abroad. Your study abroad advisor will send you more information about this mandatory in-person session.

    Predeparture Resources

    USAC will provide you with a variety of pre-departure resources to prepare you for your study abroad experience. These will include a packing list, cultural information, housing instructions, etc. Ensure that you thoroughly review any information provided to you by USAC and refer back to it if you have any questions.

    These materials may be periodically updated to reflect new program information prior to departure. Be sure to check your USAC Account often.

    There are no photos available for this program yet. Do you have any photos to share with us? If you do, please contact us at:

    1111 University Capitol Centre
    The University of Iowa
    Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1802

    Phone: (319) 335-0353
    Fax: (319) 335-0343