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  F.A.Q.
High quality French courses for adults since 1972
Around 50.000 students from the five continents
More than 40 nationalities represented every year
A specific pedagogical approach
Certified with the official government accreditation Label FLE obtaining 3 stars
 
 

Frequently Asked Questions

 
 
I would like to do a course for several months – what can IS offer me? Is it possible to combine several courses?
What course should I choose?
Can I change my course once I am at the school?
Can I change group once I am at the school?
Will I have access to a library of resources?
What exams does IS offer?
How long can I stay in the FG/FG+ courses?
Can I start a course on other than the official starting dates?
I would like to take a course for one week only, when can I start?
What is the schedule for my course?
How will public holidays during my course affect my stay?
Why take private tuition?
How do I know what level of French I have?
I used to speak French but feel like I have forgotten everything. What level am I?
I don’t feel comfortable with my Host Family, what can IS do?
What type of accommodation should I choose?
Should I contact my Host Family before I arrive? If so, how long before my arrival?
How can I get from the airport/train station to my host family?
Can I specify where I want to stay?
If living with a Host Family, will I be reimbursed for meals I miss?
What is the teaching like at IS?
Can I propose class objectives?
Is there a maximum number of people in a class?
How do I enroll?
Can I book a course without accommodation?
Can I book accommodation without a course?
Can I book transportation with IS Aix-en-Provence?
How do I pay IS for my course and accommodation?
How do I use the Internet at IS?
Can I buy insurance from IS Aix-en-Provence?
Why do I need insurance?
What type of activities does IS organize outside classes? What can I do in Aix outside class?
What is the minimum age for a class?
What is the average age?
What is the maximum age for a class?
Where are the other students from?
What is the temperatures and time zone in Aix-en-Provence like?
When should I enroll?
When is the school open and when is the office staff available?
When can I talk to the teachers, they seem so busy?
What should I bring to school?
I have another question, how can I get help?

I would like to do a course for several months – what can IS offer me?
Is it possible to combine several courses?

We offer a course of 8 weeks: Français Long, (FL) which can help you prepare for the DELF and/or TCF exams. This course, for which an elementary level is required, starts on specific dates. If you wish to stay for a period of more than 8 weeks, we recommend that you combine the FL course with another course: either a second and possibly a third FL course, or a few weeks of standard courses FG / FG+ / FGCP.

If you can’t join the FL classes on the indicated dates, or if your level of French does not suit this course, you can still enroll in a Français Général (FG) course for 10 weeks. Please be aware that the program for this course is not set up for such a long stay, which means there would be some inconveniences: the composition of the work group will change frequently and you therefore may repeat certain topics and grammatical points. However, for some people this may be an advantage. Indeed, some students opt for this solution and are successful in their courses. 

Please note that we try to integrate students enrolled for 8 weeks or more into the FL course, if it suits their objectives and levels of French. This prevents a change in group every two weeks. The organization of the FL course depends on the level and dates of students, and also available places. We must draw attention to the fact that it is never easy to join a group that has been working together for several weeks.

Please do not hesitate to ask us for an opinion or advice on a choice of course or a combination of courses.

What course should I choose? 

We have 5 categories of French courses and your choice will depend on your level of French, your objectives, your dates and your budget. Students can always contact our Head of Studies, Mr Christophe Courteau (christophe@is-aix.com>) , or the persons in charge of enrolments, Mrs Marion Deneuville or Mrs Olivia Virfeu De Vautibault, (info@is-aix.com), for any questions. We always try to respond to student requests.

The 5 categories are:

 Intensive courses 
 Long courses
 Courses + Activité
 Courses for professionals
 Tailor-made courses for closed groups

Can I change my course once I am at the school?

Depending on the course you have chosen and the dates as well as its duration, you may be able to change course. However, once a course has started, we may not be able to accommodate a request of immediate change, but we always try when possible to respond to students’ requests. Please contact the persons in charge of enrolments, Mrs Marion Deneuville or Mme Olivia Virfeu De Vautibault (info@is-aix.com), for any questions.

Can I change group once I am at the school?

Depending on the level, your needs and the possibilities we will always try to make sure you are in a group that suits your level.

Will I have access to a library of resources?

IS Aix-en-Provence has a Multimedia Resource Centre with a television screen, additional computers with internet connection, a large number of books, magazines, newspapers, comic books, games, French films etc that you can use at will.

What exams does IS offer?

Students can do the TCF exam or the TCF ANF exam on specific dates at IS. We also help our students enroll for the DELF exam at any university in France. We can provide you with dates, prices and a recommendation on what exam best suits your needs.

How long can I stay in the FG/FG+ courses?

You can do the FG / FG+ courses for 2 to 8 weeks. Only beginners or elementary students can stay up to 10 weeks maximum.
We do not advise that you stay more than 10 weeks because the pedagogical program is not suited for long stays. These courses start every 2 weeks, therefore as new students arrive we reorganize groups and teachers. If you stay more than 10 weeks we advise you to choose the FL course instead or combine the FG and the FL course.

Can I start a course on other than the official starting dates?

We advise against starting courses on non-official starting dates. There are several reasons for this:

On an official starting date, the students do a written and an oral evaluation before being placed in a group. On other dates, the students will only be evaluated by a teacher or the Head of Studies briefly.

On an official starting date, the students have a formal information session for at least an hour. On other dates, the students will only have a short briefing on the most important aspects (due to lack of time in between classes).

On an official starting date, the students have a guided tour of the city which is organized for the first day of the course. This is not organized for other dates.

More importantly, starting on other dates means integrating a group that has already worked together for a week. If the student stays for more than one week, the group and the teachers will change after one week.

Again, we would encourage you to start your course on the official starting dates because you will benefit from a more organized and adapted stay. If it is not possible and you accept the inconveniences cited above, you may start on another date.

I would like to take a course for one week only, when can I start?

Unless there is a bank holiday during the chosen week or availability problems, you can start on any week.
Please contact the persons in charge of enrolments, Mrs Olivia Virfeu de Vautibault (info@is-aix.com), for any questions.

What is the schedule for my course?

One lesson is 45 minutes and they are always programmed by two at a time (1.5 hours) at least.

All the courses are from Monday to Friday. Please note that the exact schedule may vary if a public holiday or a staff meeting occurs during a week. These are not exact schedules, and therefore may be subject to variations.

FG: 09:00-10:30, 11:00-12:30 = 20 lessons / week (15 hours/week) (Including level evaluation, information and guided town tour on the first day on starting dates).
Exceptionally on Monday of arrival and every other Monday, two lessons in a group will be from 14:00 to 15:30.

FG+: 09:00-10:30, 11:00-12:30 in FG and 4 afternoons per week: 14:00-15:30 plus twice a week 16:00-16:45 in FG+ = 30 lessons / week (22.5 hours/week).

FGCP: 10/weeks: 09:00-10:30, 11:00-12:30 in FG and 14:00-15:30 or 16:00:-17:30 in private lessons = 30 lessons/week (22.5 hours/week).

FP: 09:00-10:30, 11:00-12:30, 14:00-15:30, 16:00-16:45= 35 lessons/week (28.25 hours/week).

FL: alternating 09:00-10:30, 11:00-12:30 or 14:00 -15:30, 16:00-17:30 = 20 lessons / week (15 hours/week).

Cours particuliers (CP) can be organized according to your timetable and requests.

How will public holidays during my course affect my stay?

There are several public holidays in France, in particular during the month of May. The school is closed on these days and we try to organize activities on those days.
The lessons missed are caught up on another weekday during this week so you will still have the same number of lessons as any normal week but scheduled on four days instead of on five days.

Why take private tuition?

Private lessons (CP) are tailor-made, adapted to your exact level and also your needs. The teachers devote themselves to you and to your rhythm. You should do a test and questionnaire beforehand so that we can meet your needs and organize a course that corresponds to your objectives. Classes may target conversation, exam preparation, vocabulary for specific areas, written comprehension or expression, social French, survival French, business French, commercial, French, negotiation etc etc.
If you are preparing the DELF/DALF exam, we recommend that you choose the option APE: This option is designed for students taking either the General French (FG) or the Long French (FL) course or possibly private tuition (CP) and who wish to prepare for DELF/DALF or the TCF. The afternoon’s individual work allowing a specific work targeting the diploma or test of your choice.

How do I know what level of French I have?

We use the reference grid from the European Council which goes from A0 to C2:

A0: Beginner 
A1 and A2: Elementary 
B1 and B2: Intermediate 
C1: Advanced 
C2: Proficiency

If you are not sure what your level is, you can either use our online test or the auto-evaluation grid available on our website. We can also set up an evaluation through a Skype conversation.

I used to speak French but feel like I have forgotten everything. What level am I?

You may be surprised how your skills may come back to you once you are back in France. We will put focus on spoken French and skills related to speaking French rather than written comprehension and expression. We invite you to try our online test.

I don’t feel comfortable with my Host Family, what can IS do?

As soon as you feel something is wrong, if you feel uncomfortable or if you just have a question about something, please speak to Julie Pedinielli (julie@is-aix.com) who is in charge of accommodation. She can answer your questions, help you communicate with your family. Please don’t wait until the end of your stay to let us know you were unhappy with your Host Family, as it is then too late for us to help/change the situation.

What type of accommodation should I choose?

Depending on your priorities we can help you choose the most suitable kind of accommodation. We recommend homestays because you are totally immersed in the French language and culture. If you prefer to be independent you should choose another type of accommodation, such as a studio or hotel room. You can also look for your own accommodation.

Homestay: 3 different types

  • If you want to increase the number of opportunities you have to speak French, we advise you to choose a homestay with the half-board option breakfast and dinner. In this way you can improve your French during dinner.
  • If you prefer to be more independent but not alone, you could choose the option bed and breakfast only. In this case you won’t have the other meals with your host family and cannot use their kitchen. All other meals should be taken outside the home.
  • We also offer the possibility of room access kitchen, with a bedroom and access to the kitchen so that you can prepare your own meals.
  • You may contact Julie Pedinielli (julie@is-aix.com) who is in charge of accommodation for advice on choice and availability.

 Hotel: several standards

· We work with several hotels in Aix-en-Provence of different standards, from two stars to four stars. Please see the detailed descriptions of each hotel.

· When you ask us to make a reservation in a hotel for you, we put you in contact with the hotel so that you can guarantee your room.. The school charges a reservation fee of 25 €, but payment is made directly to the hotel or residence.
You may contact Julie Pedinielli (julie@is-aix.com) who is in charge of accommodation for advice on choice and availability.

 Residence: several standards


· We work with several residences in Aix-en-Provence that offer different types of studios or apartments, from two stars to four stars. Please see the detailed descriptions of each residences.

· When you ask us to make a reservation for a studio or an apartment at a residence, we put you in contact with the residence so that you can guarantee your studio. The school charges a reservation fee of 25 €, but payment is made directly to the hotel or residence.
You may contact Julie Pedinielli (julie@is-aix.com) who is in charge of accommodation for advice on choice and availability.

 Privately owned studios or apartments

· We can offer a few selected privately owned studios, apartments or even small houses.
You may contact Julie Pedinielli (julie@is-aix.com) who is in charge of accommodation for advice on choice and availability.

Should I contact my Host Family before I arrive? If so, how long before my arrival?

Yes, please do so as soon as you have received the contact details. This is the perfect opportunity to introduce yourself and make a good impression.

How can I get from the airport/train station to my host family?

3-4 weeks before start of course you will receive detailed information about arrival in Aix, the first day at school, your accommodation as well as a map. There are buses, trains and taxi booking service.

Can I specify where I want to stay?

Yes, we’ll try our best to satisfy your wishes depending on request and availability.

If living with a Host Family, will I be reimbursed for meals I miss?

No.

What is the teaching like at IS?

The classes at IS Aix-en-Provence are based on action, on participation from all students, on the use of the French language in all its dimensions and authenticity of situations. To learn a language is to desire to communicate. To communicate is to talk, to listen, to read and to write. Our teachers select for you the best resources and learning tools that you will use in class adapted to your level and to your skills. You will be guided, advised, encouraged throughout your learning period.  Our aim is not to teach grammar without meaning but to allow you to reach a degree of autonomy sufficient to face situations that you will encounter privately and professionally.

All of our teachers have a degree `Français Langue Etrangère’ and have experience in teaching French to adults. Each student receives a folder where he or she can keep notes and photocopies of activities and exercises.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you want references from previous students.

Can I propose class objectives?

Students are welcome to participate as actively as possible and any request for specific objectives in a class is always welcome. Depending on and taking into consideration the type of course, the level of the group and the specific request, we’ll try our best to satisfy your wishes.

Is there a maximum number of people in a class?

Yes, in all courses have a maximum of 10 students to allow enough time for conversation and participation from all students in the group, except for the following courses :

FG+: max 6 students in the afternoons
FSI: max 12 students
FP: 2-4 students in the afternoons
Option APE and Private tuition (CP) : 1 student

How do I enroll?

To enroll, please fill out the enrolment form online. You can also get it on request by e-mail at info@is-aix.com, or from our website by clicking on contact us.

Once we have received this form, you will receive an answer 24 to 48 hours later (at the latest) confirming your enrolment if all of the required conditions are fulfilled (courses, dates, level, deposit ...). We ask that you please pay a deposit of 80 € per week plus the enrolment fee of 75 €. The deposit will be deducted on your invoice. The deposit is not refundable.

Three to four weeks before the start of the course you will receive a letter by e-mail with detailed information on the courses, accommodation, a map of Aix-en-Provence and also the invoice for your stay. The invoice must be paid as soon as you receive it.

Can I book a course without accommodation?

Yes.

Can I book accommodation without a course?

No, accommodation services are only available to our students.

Can I book transportation with IS Aix-en-Provence?

We do not sell transportation in any kind.

How do I pay IS for my course and accommodation?

You can pay the deposit and the balance by credit card on our website or by bank transfer.

Here are the bank details for a bank transfer:

Account name: IS Aix-en-Provence
Bank Name : CREDIT AGRICOLE n° 11306-00010
Bank address: Cours Sextius - 13100 Aix-en-Provence – France

Account number  : 1005154 6 050 64
Code BIC / SWIFT : AGRIFRPP 813
IBAN : FR76 1130 6000 1010 0515 4605 064

Please make sure that your name appears clearly on the payment. All bank fees are payable by the sender.

How do I use the Internet at IS?

IS Aix-en-Provence offers a wireless internet connection (wifi) free of charge to all our students. We also have many computers with free internet access. Each classroom has a computer available to everyone with internet access. In the Multi Media Resources Center there are several computers available.

Can I buy insurance from IS Aix-en-Provence?

No, please get in contact with your home insurance, insurance broker or your travel agent.

Why do I need insurance?

We strongly advise you to take out insurance which covers all kinds of accidents, illness, theft or incidents that could happen during your trip. If you have to cancel, leave earlier or postpone your trip, it’s in your interest to be refunded by an insurance company. The school does not offer insurance cover to students and we apply our cancellation policy to all cancellations, postponements or changes.

What type of activities does IS organize outside classes?
What can I do in Aix outside class?

The school partners offers several kinds of cultural and recreational activities. The activity program is offered for a period of 2 weeks, and varies according to the demand, the season, regional festivals... Some activities are free and others for a modest price which includes transport and occasionally a guide. You will find a selection of activities that are nearly always offered. However there can always be last minute changes.

Enrolment and payment in cash are made at reception.

 IS Aix-en-Provence has a Multimedia Resource Centre with a television screen, additional computers with Internet connection, a large number of books, magazines, newspapers, comic books, videos and DVDs, CD-ROMs that you can use at will.

What is the minimum age for a class?

The minimum age is 18.

What is the average age?

The average age is 35 throughout the year.

What is the maximum age for a class?

Learning is a lifelong experience and the record is currently being held by a 92 year old Swedish student. As you long as you are open to learning and to other students you are welcome.

Where are the other students from?

They come from all over the world and this can vary from week to week, but IS Aix-en-Provence is truly and international school. Learning and loving the French language is the common denominator of all our students.

What is the temperatures and time zone in Aix-en-Provence like?

Provence benefits from a Mediterranean climate characterized by a hot, dry summer, not much rain (less than 60 rainy days a year) and therefore a lot of sun. The climate is very pleasant: it’s summer until October and then there is a very mild autumn which sometimes lasts until Christmas. Winters are also mild and the famous Provençal light is especially intense in January.

When should I enroll?

We do not have a last date for enrolments and can accept bookings up until course start provided there are places left. However we recommend you enroll at least 6-8 weeks before start of course to be certain we have places available. In summertime (April through September) accommodation can be difficult in Aix when many tourists come to the area.

When is the school open and when is the office staff available?

The school is open Monday through Friday 8:30 – 17:30 except on public holidays. The administrative staff is available during these hours. You can also book an appointment if you prefer.

When can I talk to the teachers, they seem so busy?

The teachers have different schedules every day depending on the courses but it is usually best to talk to them during breaks or ask at the reception.

What should I bring to school?

A pen and a notepad (paper or electronic) and a smile.

I have another question, how can I get help?

Please get in touch with us at info@is-aix.com or by phone and we’ll do our very best to help you. The administrative staff covers the following languages: French, English, Swedish, Dutch, German, Japanese and some lesser skills in Spanish and Italian.



 
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IS Aix-en-Provence - 30, Avenue des Ecoles Militaires - 13100 Aix-en-Provence - France - Tel : + 33 (0)4 42 93 47 90 - Fax : + 33 (0)4 42 26 31 80 - Realization : ASAP Productions