The University of New England's Premier Student News Publication

Nor'easter News

The University of New England's Premier Student News Publication

Nor'easter News

The University of New England's Premier Student News Publication

Nor'easter News

The Institute for American Universities: UNE’s Partner School in France

It’s often been common for me to forget that while being abroad this semester, I am still studying at UNE; so much emphasis is placed on traveling and exploring a new culture.
Scott Clemons-Baker
Manning Hall at the Institute for American Universities, Aix-en-Provence

During UNE’s French study abroad program, students live in Aix-en-Provence, a small city  30 minutes outside of Marseille, and study at the Institute for American Universities (IAU). The institute is designed specifically for American students studying abroad for a semester and hosts students from all over the states. The school has worked with over 700 colleges in the United States. It has been awesome to meet and have classes with students from different parts of our home country. I’ve had classes and conversations with people from California, Florida, Oregon, Tennessee, and more. It’s cool to know that while studying abroad in France, I can return with new friends from the U.S. that I can continue to be in touch with.

Classes at IAU are personal, with most having fifteen or fewer students in them. The small scale of IAU allows students to have a closer relationship with their professors and be a greater part of class conversation and discussion. 

Only one of my classes has over ten students in it. In those smaller classes, I have had great opportunities to participate and hear from my peers. It is not unlike a class at UNE, where there are many smaller classes, but being in a new country, a small class pays even greater dividends. 

Traveling through IAU’s campus between classrooms and buildings was challenging at first. In the same way, traversing through UNE’s campus was difficult for me to navigate as a freshman. In both cases, I was able to get acclimated in about a week. 

Aix-en-Provence is a relatively small city, and IAU’s campus of four buildings is nestled right outside the center of town. Three of the school’s main class buildings are within a two-minute walk of each other. These buildings host most of the main course classes for the school and are the site of all of my four classes this semester. 

The third main class building is about a ten-minute walk from the others but has a nice sunroom and seating outside in a courtyard to make up for it. This newer building has allowed IAU to expand and host its largest class of students this semester, around 200 students. 

The art building known as Marchutz, named after the artist who used to live there, is the furthest away from town. About a half-hour walk from the main campus. However, there are only a handful of classes that run in that building and they all make the walk out there worth it, utilizing the wine vineyard, pottery studio, and art room. I walked out there just last week for a class in the vineyard with my Wine Marketing course and had a great time. And yes, you heard correctly that IAU offers an array of wine-based courses with many being held on-site at a vineyard!

A Student Lounge in Manning Hall’s “Cave” (Scott Clemons-Baker)

One of the highlights of the class buildings at IAU are the “caves” underneath. In two of the buildings, Manning Hall and Main Hall, there are student lounges and study areas in the basement that are known as caves. These areas have desks, couches, and chairs and are an awesome place to study and hang out between classes. 

The cave under Manning Hall has become a hotspot for the UNE students studying here. It is common to find all seven of us down in the caves during the day. In fact, I’m sitting in the cave while writing this!

Students are well taken care of at IAU. From professors to advisors and counselors, the school has all you may need to adjust to the new environment. All my professors have been a joy to work with, offering a wide range of experience and knowledge of the city. Most professors at IAU are American and speak English as their first language. Still, IAU also offers many classes in French for those looking to further immerse themselves in the language. 

There are also student engagement directors who work to plan student trips and offer tips on what to do in Aix and where to travel. 

Becoming a part of the IAU community has been a great experience. The school has been great helping me and my peers acclimate to the new environment. I have learned the ins and outs of the school and found my ideal study spots, just like I would at home. All the details and features of the school have made it feel familiar and comfortable right from the start!

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