“Majoring or minoring in French Studies means opening yourself up to the rich diversity of the French-speaking world. Studying abroad offers the unique opportunity to discover that world by finding yourself in it.”
—Bruno Chaouat, Chair, Department of French and Italian
This is the basic process you'll complete in order to study abroad. The order in which you do things is somewhat flexible.
Review the following suggestions from the Department of French and Italian before beginning your study abroad research.
Seek cultural immersion
- Look for programs that offer significant cultural integration. Deep involvement in the host culture leads to personal growth and builds cross-cultural skills.
- You are encouraged to consider programs that get you into classes with host-country students at a host university and programs that get you out of the classroom and into the community.
- Seek a program that houses you with a family or host-country roommate, or look for systematic experiences outside the classroom such as internships, service-learning or research opportunities, or the option to take some courses in a host-country university.
- Be realistic; not all students are ready for the same amount of cultural immersion.
Improve second language skills
- Select a program that allows you to continue your language development through coursework and cultural activities.
- Plan your language course sequence carefully so that you can continue with your language program upon your return.
- Ideally, students should have completed at least one year of French in order to maximize their cultural integration. Students with more than two years of French have a wide range of program options.
Work on your French major or minor
The Director of Undergraduate Studies will screen overseas coursework and help you fit appropriate courses into your major or minor requirements.
- Look for junior- and senior-level (3xxx to 5xxx-level) courses.
- Look for courses that investigate the literature or culture of the country in which you are studying.
- Use an Academic Planning Form for Study Abroad (available at the Learning Abroad Center) to structure and document your consultation with your major adviser. List more courses on the form than you will actually take. A particular course or schedule may not be available on-site, and it will be useful to have prior feedback on additional courses from the adviser particular to your language. If your course choices change, notify your adviser via email.
- For tentative pre-approval of a course abroad, provide a syllabus to the Director of Undergraduate Studies in French for review at least a month before departure. Remember that it is important to schedule a meeting in May (or earlier) rather than attempt a last minute meeting in August.
- For exact course substitution, remember to bring syllabi, reading lists, and other course materials back with you from your study abroad program. The Director of Undergraduate Studies will use them to determine exact course equivalencies.
- Students who select the Study Abroad in Montpellier program will have a group academic planning meeting at the Montpellier pre-departure orientation, and therefore should not schedule an individual appointment with the Director of Undergraduate Studies in French. At the group meeting, you will learn how the program’s courses can fulfill your French major or minor requirements, as well as have the opportunity to ask academically-focused questions. Bring your completed Academic Planning from to this meeting, where it will be signed by the Director of Undergraduate Studies.
Fulfill Liberal Education requirements
Plan early to apply study abroad credits to the University’s Liberal Education requirements. Decide early which requirements you want to satisfy through courses taken abroad so you don’t fulfill them on campus. Consult the Learning Abroad Center's Liberal Education database of study abroad courses that have already been evaluated or submit courses online to be evaluated for liberal education requirements.
What are the best times to study abroad?
French Studies majors and minors may study abroad at any time during their academic career. Before graduation, French studies majors must have completed at least four upper-division major courses in the French department at the University of Minnesota—Twin Cities. For French minors, two upper-division UMTC French department courses are required. The remaining requirements may be completed abroad.
The French program prefers that you wait until you have the equivalent of two years of French language study before studying abroad, but this can be flexible depending on your situation and program choice. Students choosing the Montpellier summer program need not have prior French language study.
The French program does not recommend studying abroad during your final semester of your senior year. If you choose to do so (and you have not completed the CLA senior project in another major), you will need to have completed French 4109 or 4110: Senior Project in French Studies prior to departure for your study abroad experience.
Africa and the Middle East
Minnesota Studies in International Development (MSID)
- This unique program combines coursework with research and internships.
- The program is based in Dakar with internship placements throughout the country in such fields as women’s rights, environmental issues, health and the arts.
- Students live with host families, and all courses are taught in French.
French in Quebec
- This summer program allows students with one year of college-level French to take French language classes at Laval University near Quebec City.
- Quebec City has preserved its traditional flavor and francophone culture, offering a charming location for French studies.
Laurentian University (available through ISEP Direct Canada)
- This exchange program offers access to the full curriculum in both English and in French at Laurentian University in Ontario.
- Students have the opportunity to study alongside other Canadian students and experience a different and stimulating academic environment.
Study Abroad in Montpellier
- Located in picturesque southern French city of Montpellier, this program offers year, semester, May, June and summer programs for students at all levels.
- Semester and academic year students select from language classes, coursework across the curriculum at the University of Montpellier, an internship course, and special program classes in culture, literature and the arts.
- The May program offers special topics courses in English. Not all of these courses qualify for credit toward the French Studies major and minor, however. Be sure to verify this if you need such credit.
- An advanced French program offered for six weeks in June and July focuses on advanced French language and contemporary French society in a small group setting.
- Students on the summer program enroll in language courses from beginning French to advanced language acquisition.
- Students enjoy this town’s vibrant charm, rich cultural life and proximity to la mer Meditérannée.
July in Paris
- Spend a month exploring “the city of lights” while taking an intensive French course at the Sorbonne.
- No previous experience with French is necessary.
- This program includes two distinct tracks: Contemporary French Studies, which is designed for intermediate to advanced students and focuses on contemporary French and Parisian society, and Critical Studies, which is designed for more advanced students interested in critical thought, philosophy and art.
- Both program tracks offer site visits within Paris as well as weekend trips to other regions in France.
- The summer program, divided in two sessions, can accommodate students at a variety of levels.
IES France– Nantes
- Students take courses on French language and culture, as well as enroll in courses at several universities in Nantes.
- Internships are also available.
- The program offers access to the Ecole Polytechnique for engineering students and the Ecole Regionale des Beaux Arts for studio arts courses.
IES France– Paris
- This program allows students to take courses on French language and culture and have the option to study a variety of subjects at several Parisian universities, including the Sorbonne.
- A summer option is also available for beginning students.
Additional Options to Consider
Intensive Language Programs
- Begin your language study or work toward completing requirements for a language minor
- Complete a semester of language on a short-term program or explore options to complete two or more semesters of language on semester long program
- 3-week, 3-credit programs at the 3000-level led by University of Minnesota faculty and staff over Winter Break or May Session.
- Fulfill Liberal Education requirements, or earn major/minor credit.
- Explore an exciting location and topic! Check out this year's offerings!
Work, Intern, and Volunteer (WIV) Abroad Programs
- Freshman Seminars Abroad combine on-campus instruction during spring semester with a study abroad component during spring break.
- Seminars are 3 credits at the 19xx level and most fulfill a liberal education requirement.
- Seminars are designed specifically for first year students as an introduction to study abroad.
- An alternate or complement to study abroad
- Explore new interests or gain experience related to your field of study
- Consider paid and unpaid opportunities offered throughout the year at locations around globe
Kristi V. Studies Development in Kenya
On the MSID program, Kristi studied development in Nairobi and interned in rural Kisumu with an organization that educates Kenyans on health issues.
Emily S. Studies and Interns in London
Emily interned with a non-profit family center in London while taking courses. She learned about her field and developed skills in working with homeless and refugee families.
Josh in Senegal
Josh studied both French and Wolof in Senegal.
Rachel in France
Rachel is a French and English major. She chose the Study Abroad in Montpellier program because it seemed well-established and reliable. While there, she was able to take coursework that counted towards both of her majors.
Jeni in France
Jeni participated in the July in Paris program, through the University of Minnesota Morris campus.
Visit the Learning Abroad Center's Student Experiences web page for details on other students' experiences studying abroad.