Université de Strasbourg

Université de Strasbourg

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Location 🌎

Language of instruction 💬

Eligible faculty 🎓

Strasbourg, France French Open to All Faculties


Founded in the 16th century, the University of Strasbourg has a long history of excellence in higher education, rooted in Renaissance humanism. Strasbourg is a pioneer in cross-border cooperation and is located at the heart of the Eurodistrict, which promotes Franco-German partnerships and projects in transport, urban planning, education or health. 

Strasbourg's historical city centre is listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, with many museums, theatres, concert venues and hosts various cultural events throughout the year. A city mixing cultural diversity and firmly rooted traditions, Strasbourg is the country's top city for international students. Its human size, its pedestrian city centre and 500 km of cycling paths make it a very pleasant city to wander around. Vibrant and affordable, Strasbourg is a true student city providing a great learning and living environment.

Important information

  • UniversitĂ© de Strasbourg offers a welcome program to facilitate student integration. It proposes the consultation of job offers and housing ads, a self service IT room, city discovery activities, and international evenings among others.  See the University's International Welcome Guide.

Term dates 

Semester 1

Semester 2

September - December January - June

*Semester and exam dates may vary from year to year. Please consult the Host institution's fact sheet, the Host institution's website, or the Host institution directly to confirm.

Contact information

Exchange Mobility Office
International University House, 11 Presqu’Île Malraux,
F-67100 Strasbourg

Phone: +33 (0)3 68 85 0 16

Incoming Students Coordinator

Angélique Daniel

Email: dri-students-exchange-outside-Europe [at] unistra.fr

Phone: +33 (0)3 68 85 60 16 

Experience Report 1

Michelle Brais (Winter 2015)

Here are my tips and some information to be better prepared when going on exchange to Strasbourg, France.

***What helped me the most in all aspects of my exchange was keeping all my documents of importance in one folder (letter of acceptance, copy of birth certificate, bank statements, etc.)

Student Visa

Get your student Visa application to the French consulate on McGill College Street as soon as you can. You need a lot of documentation and the processing only takes longer the closer you get to January (if you are leaving for the winter semester).

Tourism and Travel

Strasbourg is mostly known for its beautiful and old downtown as well as the host of the European Union Parliament and Council. It has a cultural fusion of France and Germany that is becoming more predominantly French. The city is right on the border of Germany and is connected by public transit to one of its small cities, Kehl. Kehl is also easily accessible through bike lanes. The city is in the center of Europe and has its own small airport that can offer cheap flights to the biggest cities as well as a train station that connects to the largest cities of France. Travel-wise it is a decent city to start from.

When thinking of buying any household item, sometimes even groceries, and train tickets everything is cheaper in Germany. Though you may be tempted to get a student reduction card to use the SNCF (French train company), it is worth a look to check the Deutschbahn site to see if the fares less expensive to leave from Kehl (no worries, you can be served in English and sometimes French if you do not speak German).

Strasbourg is a small city compared to Montreal. There is less than a tenth of the population. It calls for a different pace of life, but also it implies a much less lively city life. There aren’t many events or festivals. The bars and clubs are small. The cultural diversity is not large. It is much more of a relaxed city. That being said, it is a university city, so there are many student targeted services and hot spots.

If you end up visiting Paris, many of the important museums offer free entrance to students of the European Union, so keep your French student card handy to get into the Louvre, etc. Museums are also free for everyone the first Sunday of each month in Strasbourg.


Strasbourg University is all in French, but there is a private Management School, École de Management (EM) which offers English courses (and where many international students go to for exchange). I studied in the Geography Faculty which has a building outside of the main campus. It is a small faculty with about 60 students per year who all take the same courses together. Some students were studying there from Luxembourg, and there was one other exchange student who came from Spain. Unfortunately, it was difficult for me to integrate myself with them. There were the cultural and linguistic differences that were a first barrier, but also, French culture is not as welcoming and outgoing as Quebec culture. In my experience, they do not go out of their way to get to know you; you need to put yourself out there. Many of the students had not realized I had been there for only a semester (they thought that I had been there since the beginning of the year). There are quite a few students on exchange in other faculties: many in law and medicine. I met some in political sciences as well.

I had a terrible experience with the administration at the university. First of all, the students in the Faculty of Geography in each respective year have all their courses decided for them except one optional class and the choice between German or English (language courses in France are not recommended, by the way). There are pros and cons to this. The pros are that that makes all the students available at the same times to do field trips, which is a real strong point of their education. You get to work on the field and they know there are no scheduling conflicts with other classes. The big downside is that it makes it very difficult to take classes in any other faculty because the schedule is not regular from week to week in any of the faculties. And the administration is terrible with dealing with you having classes in different faculties. First of all, they will always give you the wrong answer and then tell you not to worry. In any administrative context (be it for university or your housing or the government), people like to think they know the answer right away and so they will blurt out what they think is right on the spot without giving more thought or searching for the right answer and then, try to dismiss you as quickly as possible. You have to insist. But, you will still be running around in circles for a week at least, trying to sort things out.

I very much disliked the courses in Strasbourg. You have to be aware that the teaching style in France is very different. Teachers talk non-stop for two hours without interacting with the students. They will be shocked if you put your hand up for a question, or will let you keep it up there for long periods of time before addressing you. Some will have no slides to accompany their lecture. It is very boring and difficult to follow. I needed to get a friend’s notes because I could not write fast enough in French after having had 3 years of English schooling but I went to a French high school. Teachers do not hold office hours. Some teachers are good at answering emails, but not all. The material builds up from classes taken in their previous years, so I do not suggest you study geography if you are not already a Geography major in McGill. Moreover, the exams will often only test one subject of the course material in excruciating detail and disregard anything else you learned in the course. Sometimes the teachers cannot tell you when the exam will be because they do not schedule everything in advance or give course syllabi. Also, keep in mind, the French education system does not properly teach in-text citation, so if you master that, they will be very impressed and it will help with your grades for papers.


I lived in a student dorm right next to the main campus. It was small, but at least I had my own bathroom (which was not the case in all the dorms). The beds are noisy and uncomfortable (so bring any extra cushioning if you can). There was a shared completely unequipped kitchen except for 4 heating plates (and a microwave, but rarely). If you are lucky, there are people in the residences leaving and selling their kitchenware (look out for them on the Facebook groups). You should bring drying cloths, and cutlery from home if you have space or else you might be stranded for a little while, especially if you arrive on a weekend. On Sundays, everything is closed pretty much. I made most of my friends in the residences because we had common space. It is easier to get to know people studying in different faculties.

The rent is expensive so you might consider asking for financial aid from the Caisse d’Allocations Familiales (CAF). They will make your life a living hell but they almost cut my rent in half. They misread my passport twice and so I ran to them over three times trying to sort things out. No one has an easy time with the CAF, so you really have to want the help. For this you need to have a copy of your birth certificate and a proof of your yearly income from the previous year.


Do it. Get a cellphone plan there. The rates are so cheap and you get a lot of data. Some plans include the possibility to phone for free in other European countries. My plan allowed me to call to Canada for free (I think I could have called to Asia as well). My experience with the phone company was mostly positive except that my letter of cancellation got lost in the mail, but the chances of that happening were not high. I just got unlucky.


The transit by tram and bus is not expensive. You can also invest in a bike and sell it before you leave. The bike lanes are very developed in Strasbourg. 

Experience Report 2

Experience Report 2

The faculty staffs are very supportive. In the beginning of the year, we had an orientation week for all the exchange students. There were local French students helping us get our bank cards, insurance cards, mobile phones and all the basics that we needed to get settled. The faculty also organized activities to visit the city and meet people. I felt very much supported, and there was always someone there if I needed help.

The staff were extremely supportive in helping me finding classes... to make sure I had the all the equivalent classes for my major.

- Lydia Cao, U4, Faculty of Education.

See Lydia's full report:  PDF iconexchange_report_strasbourg.pdf

The information on this page is drawn from either the institution's fact sheet or their website as linked above.

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