About Teaching Practicum in France
Live and study in Montpellier, one of France’s fastest growing cities and an emerging cultural and educational center. Within easy reach of both mountains and the Mediterranean, and home to 100,000 university students, Montpellier is a young, vibrant city with a centuries-old history of intellectual advances and social tolerance.
Based at the University of Montpellier, this program has been developed in conjunction with the University of Minnesota's College of Education and Human Development. It is designed to meet major requirements for students in Elementary Education, Early Childhood Education, and Special Education.
Housing & Meals
Live with a French host family, in a traditional French apartment, the Observatoire student residence, or in a dormitory.
If you have special dietary needs or severe allergies to cats or dogs, we strongly encourage you to select the traditional apartment, Observatoire. or dormitory option. In some instances, host families cannot accommodate special dietary needs, and many families in France have dogs or cats.
Homestays provide a vital connection to the local culture and social life, as well as the opportunity to experience the daily life of the French. Host families provide breakfast and dinner during the week and all meals on the weekend. Housing is not provided during program breaks unless specifically arranged. Host families are usually located in the suburbs, approximately 45 minutes by bus, tram and foot from the city center and from campus.
If you wish to maximize your linguistic and cultural development through regular family contact and are willing to adapt to a French family's lifestyle and schedule, this housing option may appeal to you. The level of integration you experience with your host family may vary—some families will go to great lengths to make you feel like part of the family while others may have a more independent approach. If you are concerned about adjusting to a host family, one of the other housing options may be a better fit for you.
Traditional French Apartment
Live with other program participants in apartments, usually located in town and approximately 30–45 minutes by foot and tram from the University and downtown Montpellier. You will share the apartment with 2–4 other students from the program, often with 2 people (of the same gender) sharing a room. The program fee for this option does not include meals, utilities, or the apartment deposit. See the Fees page for additional costs. If you have special dietary needs or intend to have an active social life with frequent evenings out, this is a good option for you.
Student Studio Apartments
Small studio apartments within a student apartment building offer basic rooms with a small private bathroom and basic kitchenette. The rooms are very spartan, but are furnished with a single bed and a desk. The Observatoire is located in downtown Montpellier. You will have a commute of about 30 to 45 minutes by foot and/or tram to the University. This housing option does not include meals. Utilities are included in the program fee; however, there is an additional $500 apartment deposit.
If you are independent and interested in living in the city center, the Observatoire may be a good fit for you. However, many students find the studios spartan and uninviting. If you choose this option, be prepared for this reality. You should also be aware that there is typically little social interaction among residents, so this is not a good option if you are seeking a social community. If you are placed in this option, it is difficult to change your placement if you are dissatisfied with the placement once you arrive onsite, and you may be liable for the cost of the studio for the duration of the semester, so please think carefully before making your choice.
You will have a single room, and there is a cafeteria but no cooking facilities. Bathrooms are coed and located on each floor. The program fee for this option does not include meals.
Dormitories in France are typically reserved for financially needy international graduate students, and there is little social life, unlike dorms in the US. The program has only 2 dormitory rooms per semester, and these are reserved for students with significant financial need. If you are extremely independent and have significant financial need, the dormitory may be a good fit for you. It is not a good option if you are seeking a social community.
For more help deciding between the housing options, consult the Housing Comparison Chart (pdf).
Multiple day-long excursions are included each term to introduce you to the unique character of southern France. In addition, the program’s social and administrative assistants organize activities to familiarize you with the city and provide you with opportunities to meet French students.
Typical Fall Semester Excursions
Aigues-Mortes and the Mediterranean Sea, Carcassonne, Arles and St Remy de Provence, Avignon and Fontaine de Vaucluse, St Guilhem le desert
Typical Spring Semester Excursions
Nimes and Pont-du-Gard, Couvertoirade or Budhist Temple and Roquefort Caves, Marseille, St Guilhem le desert, Anduze
Optional longer excursions at an extra cost are also organized by the program during the semester and are offered if there is sufficient interest. These include excursions to Normandy, the Loire Valley, and Morocco.
- Develop or strengthen French linguistic skills
- Deepen cross-cultural understanding through interaction with faculty, students, host families and community members
- Gain French, European, and international perspectives on education and teaching
- Increase independence and self-reliance by learning to navigate French society
- Develop teaching skills such as classroom management, creating lesson plans, teaching English as a Second Language, and working with students of different cultural backgrounds
Faculty & Staff
Françoise has been the On-Site Director of the program in Montpellier since 1990. With her staff, she oversees student services, excursions, housing arrangements, and academic coursework. She is also a professor in Business English at the Université de Montpellier and is well-connected in the local university community in Montpellier.
She holds a Bachelor's degree in Germanic Languages from the Université de Liège and a Master's from the University of Minnesota in French Literature. She has also taught at the University of Minnesota and Carleton College in Minnesota.
Corinne has been the Assistant Director of the University of Minnesota Program in Montpellier since 2006. She currently teaches the course on Leadership and Experiential Learning for the program.
She received a MA in English from the University of Orléans in France and a MA in French and ESL from West Virginia University. Corinne studied for five years at the University of North Carolina where she was also a teaching assistant in the French department. She completed her course work and passed her PhD exams in Comparative Literature.
Cedric is the logistic coordinator for the program in Montpellier and teaches the Conversational French class. He has been part of the team for ten years and has lived in Montpellier for 12. He spent two years as a teaching assistant for the French Department at Macalester College in Minnesota.
Originally from Avignon, he studied English and American civilization and literature at the Université d'Avignon et des pays de Vaucluse.
Paul is the Academic Adviser for the Montpellier programs. He has been teaching university courses for over twenty years, and currently teaches in his specialty for the University of Minnesota program and at the Université Paul-Valéry in the Lettres Modernes department.
Paul holds a PhD in medieval French literature from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is originally from southern Rhode Island.
Kim is the Housing Coordinator for the Montpellier programs.
Kim received her BA from Mount Holyoke College and MA from Middlebury College. After teaching French for a year at Boston College, Kim permanently moved to France where she obtained her TEFL certification. Kim has lived in Montpellier for over 20 years. She was born and raised in western Massachusetts.
About the Learning Abroad Center
Learning Abroad Center programs are:
- Affordable: our programs are cost effective.
- Academically strong: many programs have strong University of Minnesota departmental support and offer pre-approved courses for many majors.
- Culturally rich: regardless of the program you choose, you will have the opportunity to immerse yourself in the local culture.
- Expertly managed: our staff in Minnesota and abroad are trained professionals and are always available to answer your questions from extensive pre-departure advising and online orientations to reentry programming. Your safety and well-being are paramount, and we work hard to ensure you have a rewarding and safe experience abroad.