A first glimpse of the turquoise waters of the Lac d’Annecy—with a backdrop of snow-capped peaks of the Alps—and you’ll see why this is such a picture-perfect place to learn French. The alpine town of Annecy is a strategic location, not far from Geneva (40 kms) and Italy. Here you’ll find the CILFA (Centre International de Langue Française d’Annecy), an excellent school affiliated with the University Savoie Mont Blanc since 1999. Dedicated to teaching French to foreigners, CILFA fixes a small class size (12 people maximum) to assure individual attention for each and every student.
The approach inspires proactive language acquisition through a variety of activities—from debates and collaborative projects to DVDs and songs. Students come from all four corners of the globe: 50 different nationalities between the age of 17 and 82 years (32 is the average age). You’ll find lawyers and doctors studying alongside retirées and recent university graduates.
A range of recreational activities seeks to enrich students’ understanding of French whilst introducing them to the fabulous local attractions. Examples include a cruise on Lake Annecy, a mountain hike on foot or with snowshoes, Savoyard cheese tasting, a film screening in a French cinema followed by a discussion, a French game like pétanque. Bien sûr, all educational activities are conducted in French!
In summer, students have the chance to experience total immersion by participating on a four-day bicycle excursion “La CilfaCyclette”. The aim is to practice French while discovering the beautiful area.
“I made the decision to study at CILFA because of their excellent reputation for preparing students to pass the DELF,” says former student Karla Segale. “From initial class placement through the DELF exam itself, the instructors at CILFA were committed to making sure that all of their students achieved a successful outcome. I have attended several language schools in France, but none compares with CILFA in terms of their curriculum, outstanding instruction, and ability to place every student in the best environment possible to reach their language goals. If you are interested in doing what it takes to see real improvement in your French, CILFA is the school for you.”
Furthermore, you can choose to take an exam at CILFA as it is also an examination center for the DILF, DELF and DALF diplomas. It gives students the opportunity to sit such exams several times a year.
The 11-week programme is priced starting from 1280 euros (15 hours per week). Choose the option for 20-hours per week, including 2 hours of outside activities, for 1905 euros. It’s also possible to enroll in the DELF/DALF preparation for 365 euros (3 hours per week). As a popular tourist destination, Annecy can be difficult to secure accommodations; CILFA can help pave the way with single rooms, studio apartments, or lodgings with a host family. But book early!