Looking to learn French while you surf, dive, or spend time in the mountains? The following schools give you access to some of the world’s most revered terrain. And, yes, they provide top-level schooling and offer internationally-recognized diplomas and certificates.
1. INSTED makes it their business to combine extreme outdoor fun with high caliber language study courses. Nestled at the base of Europe’s highest mountain, Chamonix Mont Blanc, France offers premier glacier descents, ice climbing, snowshoeing and alpine skiing (primarily red and black resort trails and a range of primo backcountry couloirs). Take a break from your studies and hut ski from Chamonix to Zermatt, Switzerland on the “haute (high) route,” one of the world’s premier backcountry routes. During the summer months, Chamonix’s playground shifts gears but is equally alive — mountain biking, rock climbing, mountaineering, rafting, paragliding, canyoning and trekking, just to start. The school is partnered with the Université Stendhal in Grenoble and offers a wide array of levels, credits and certifications (TCF). Classes range from 440 euros (two weeks of study) to 2,250 euros, depending on what level of language proficiency you wish to attain. Priced separately, studio, apartment and homestay options are available.