Youth Development & Psychology in France
Earn credit in this cohort-based program toward your Developmental Psychology or Psychology degree while studying in this vibrant city with a centuries-old history of intellectual advances and social tolerance.
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, it is a young, vibrant city with a centuries-old history of intellectual advances and social tolerance. Montpellier is the ideal place to experience French culture as a study abroad student.
This program provides an exceptional opportunity to study resilience in young populations through a course co-created by a University of Minnesota Developmental Psychology professor and a French psychologist, who will teach the core course focused on resilience. You will participate in a cohort program based at our program center while engaging with the local community through community engagement work. By the end of the program, you will have gained a deep, intercultural perspective on trauma, immigration, and other global issues that affect children and youth.
Housing & Meals
Homestays provide a vital connection to the local culture, as well as the opportunity to experience French daily life. Host families provide breakfast and dinner during the week and all meals on the weekend. Most families live in the suburbs of Montpellier, approximately 45 minutes by bus, tram, and foot from the city center and from campus.
If you wish to maximize your language practice and cultural development through regular family contact and are willing to adapt to a French family's lifestyle and schedule, this is a good housing option for you. The level of integration you experience with your host family may vary—some families go to great lengths to make you part of the family while others take a more independent approach. Host families are an option even for students who do not have prior French language study.
Traditional French Apartment
Live with other program participants in typical French apartments. These are usually located in the center of town or close to the universities and are easily accessible to the program center and the university. You will share the apartment with 1–2 other students from the program, occasionally with two people of the same gender sharing a room. The program fee for this option does not include meals, utilities, or the $500 security 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.
Student Studio Apartments
Small studio apartments within a student apartment building offer basic modern rooms with a small private bathroom and kitchenette. The rooms are furnished with a single bed and desk. The residence building is located in downtown Montpellier, about a 20-minute walk from the program center and a 30-minute commute from the university. This housing option does not include meals, but does include utilities. A $500 security deposit will be billed with your program fee. If you are independent, like your own space, and want to meet other students (French and international), this is a good option.
Two or three day-long excursions are planned each semester to introduce you to the unique character of southern France. These day excursions are included in your program fees. In addition, the program’s social assistants organize activities in Montpellier to help you get to know the city and to provide you with opportunities to meet French students. Optional longer excursions are also organized by the Program Center staff during the semester and are offered (at an extra cost) if there is sufficient interest.
Typical Fall Semester Excursions
Day excursions sites may include:
Aigues-Mortes and the Mediterranean Sea
Arles and the Carrières de Lumière
Avignon and Fontaine de Vaucluse
Medieval Weekend Excursion (included in Program Fee)
Carcassonne, Lagrasse, medieval dining, and the Cathars' castles
Optional longer excursions (at an extra cost) include:
Morocco (One week in Fez, Morocco)
Typical Spring Semester Excursions
Day excursions sites may include:
Nimes and Pont-du-Gard
Anduze and the bamboo forest
Optional longer excursions (at an extra cost) include:
Wars, Wine and Wonders: Exploring Western France (One week touring Mont Saint-Michel, Normany, D-Day beaches, Loire Valley castles, Bordeaux and St. Emilion)
Morocco (One week in Fez, Morocco)
The Learning Abroad Center works with Village Travel, a local travel agency, to arrange a coordinated flight for program participants. The flight is optional, and is arranged for those who want to fly with other program participants. Group flight information is typically available by the program application deadline, if not before.
- Gain French, European, and international perspectives on youth development & psychology
- Investigate factors of resilience in French and migrant communities
- Deepen cross-cultural understanding through interaction with local students, host families, and community members
- Increase independence and self-reliance by learning to navigate French society
- Develop professional skills such as problem-solving and teamwork
- Strengthen French language skills
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.
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.
5 courses (15–17 credits)
This cohort-based model combines theoretical learning and practical community engagement experience in a supportive and balanced learning environment. All courses are taught at the University of Minnesota Program Center and are taught in English, with the exception of the French language course.
Full Course List
All students will take the Resilience in Children & Youth, the Community Engagement, and a French language course at the appropriate level based on your past experience. The remaining 2-3 electives will be chosen amongst the other courses.
Students in 1st–4th semester French enroll in a 5-credit French language class that is divided into sections based on level.
- Syllabus for MONT 1001 (PDF) (5 credits)
- Syllabus for MONT 1002 (PDF) (5 credits)
- Syllabus for MONT 1003 (PDF) (5 credits)
- Syllabus for MONT 1004 (PDF) (5 credits)
Advanced levels of language are offered in a special language program for international students and is included in the program fee.
- Syllabus for Advanced French 1 (PDF), 5th semester (3000-level, 3 credits)
- Syllabus for Advanced French 2 (PDF), 6th semester (3000-level, 3 credits)
Also offered at the advanced level are Program Center-based conversation and literature courses. Please contact Maria Mantey to discuss these options.
This course will examine how cultural factors influence human behavior and development. Additionally, the interaction between different cultures and how to solve the difficulties that may arise during the acculturation process may be discussed. The course also studies the vision and treatment of mental disorders in different cultures, especially the differences and similarities between French and North American cultures. Mental Health systems of both countries will be also analyzed and compared.
French [R]evolutions through Film: Transformations in French Society from 1945 to the Present
Through the lens of cinema and documentary film, this course explores the changes in French society from the period of the Second World War to the present day. Key moments in France’s history will be examined in a range of prominent films that reflect cultural, social and political evolutions that have taken place. By examining these works from a variety of perspectives, students will develop a deeper understanding of French culture and the community in which they are immersed. Taught at the UofM Program Center.
French Writers: Transformations in French & Francophone Society from 1945 to the Present through the Eyes of Novelists
Through the lens of literature, this course explores the changes in French society from the period of the Second World War to the present day. Beginning with the trauma of the Nazi occupation, students will look at how French literature over the years has served as a mirror on society, reflecting cultural, social, and political evolutions. Students will examine key moments in France’s history that have left a mark: the period of Nazi occupation and the conflict between collaborators and resistance fighters (as portrayed in Tatiana de Rosnay’s Sarah’s Key), France in Indochina and the underpinnings of its postcolonial legacy (Marguerite Duras’s Sea Wall), the cultural revolution of May 1968 (Annie Ernaux’s The Years), evolving family models and changing visions of the world in the 1980s (Tahar Ben Jelloun’s The Sand Child), social upheaval and exclusion from the 1990s to the present day (Edouard Louis’s Ending Eddy, Michel Houellebecq’s Platform, Mounia Meddour’s Papicha). Recent texts and film will engage with an exploration of contemporary France around issues such as francophone multiculturalism, societal unrest (the yellow-jacket movement) and the terror attacks (Marie N’Diaye’s Ladivine, Jacques’s Audiard’s Un Prophète, Ladj Ly’s Les Misérables, Emmanuel Leconte’s Humour à mort—the Charlie Hebdo attacks), but also France’s continuing mission to promote literature through the Prix Goncourt. The course aims to provide students with tools for understanding a culture through an exploration of its creative artifacts.
Language Development from a Cross-Cultural Perspective
This course exams the process of language learning in children and the different philosophical approaches in the US and France regarding second language development.
Introduction to Child Psychology
This course will examine normative physical, social, and cognitive development from the prenatal period through adolescence, bringing in the French context. The major goals include fostering an understanding of the usefulness of a developmental approach to psychological issues, familiarizing students with current research and methodology in child psychology, and engaging students in the experiences of developmental psychology through observation and analysis of child behavior.
This course provides a cross-cultural experience of working with a local company, school, or nonprofit organization. Students are prepared for entering into their community work through discussions on the work culture in France which provide context about the cultural values guiding this culture. Through practical internship experiences as well as readings, discussions, and written assignments, students will deepen their understanding of the host-country cultural context and critically examine their own worldview. Options include assisting with coaching after-school sports teams, working with charities who interact with migrant and refugee populations, and assisting with English language classes in school settings, among others.
Civic Life and Ethics
Gain a foundational understanding of what is currently known about the transformational processes that shape human development as children mature into adults. This course will review what has been learned about the biological, cognitive, and social development of adolescents in the context of their multiple worlds and the issues and challenges that adolescents confront along the way. This course will provide an overview of development in the teenage years/second decade of life looking at both the US and French perspectives.
Resilience in Children and Youth: Global Perspectives
How do children overcome hazardous experiences to succeed in life? What can be done to protect young people at risk from trauma, war, disasters, and other adversities? This course examines the global literature on resilience in children and youth. Focus on the origins, methods, findings, controversies, and future of research on how young people overcome adversity, as well as the implications of this body of knowledge for fostering resilience in children and societies.
Online (all terms)
Global Identity: Connecting Your International Experience with Your Future is an optional 1-credit online course that helps you process your international experience and apply what you've learned upon your return. Global Identity gives you the opportunity to work individually with a trained cultural mentor, helping you articulate your newly acquired skills and differentiating you from your peers.
This course is offered at no additional cost on programs six weeks or longer. The Learning Abroad Center will email out registration instructions, or you may contact a program team member.
Orientation Dates & Locations
Orientation will be conducted in 2 parts: an online orientation, which is mandatory for all students, and an in-person, program-specific session. You will receive more information about the online orientation via email. Failure to complete the online orientation will impact your ability to go abroad.
See below for tentative dates and times for your in-person session. You will be notified of the official date and time via email. Participants will receive applicable orientation materials via email approximately 1 week prior to the in-person session.
Application Open Date: Dec 18, 2020
Application Deadline: Apr 15, 2021
|Depart U.S.||Sep 1|
|Arrive Montpellier (program start date)||Sep 2|
|First day of class||Sep 13|
|Fall Break||Oct 30-Nov 7|
|Final day of exams and last day of housing||Dec 17|
|Depart Montpellier (program end date)||Dec 18|
Application Open Date: May 1, 2021
Application Deadline: Oct 15, 2021
|Depart U.S.||mid-January (date TBD)|
|Arrive Montpellier (program start date)||mid-January (date TBD)|
|Orientation||mid-January (dates TBD)|
|First day of class||mid-January (date TBD)|
|Winter Break||mid February|
|Easter Monday holiday||date TBD|
|Spring break||mid April|
|Final day of exams and last day of housing||mid-May (date TBD)|
|Depart Montpellier (program end date)||mid-May (date TBD)|
University of Minnesota participants pay the program fee instead of on-campus tuition and fees for the term they are abroad.
If you do not see a budget estimate for the term you intend to go abroad, the fee has not yet been finalized. We strive to post fees for this program at least 30 days prior to the application deadline. The Learning Abroad Center will delay the posting of some fees until enrollments, inflation and exchange rates are determined. Note the average increase in fees will be 3–10%. Program fees are based on estimates and may change depending on international economic factors.
Fees or tuition from home institutions may be added to or differ from the University of Minnesota Learning Abroad Center fees listed on this page.
Billing & Payments
Visit Billing for information about the billing process for application fees, deposits, and program fees.
Financial Aid & Scholarships
Visit Financial Information for information on using financial aid and scholarships for study abroad.
Bridging Loan, a no-interest/no-fees loan that funds the upfront deposit and flights costs, is available for this program for eligible students.
Before you apply to or confirm your participation on this program, review the Learning Abroad Center's Cancellation Policy to inform yourself of the timeline and financial obligations for canceling.
Complete pre-application advising.
You will be charged a $50 application fee for each application you submit.
After you submit your application, you will receive an email notification confirming that your application was received. Submitted applications are assigned an application checklist, which will include the following items:
- Application Essay
- Transcript (Non-UofM students only)
- Home Institution Nomination (Non-UofM students only)
Detailed descriptions and instructions for submitting each checklist item are included on the application checklist assigned to you.
If you do not meet the GPA requirement for this program you will be required to submit two additional application items—the Low GPA Essay and Special Circumstances Recommendation. Both items will be added to your checklist after you start your application, and you will be notified when they have been added.
Application Review Process
After your application checklist is complete, your application is reviewed by our program team. You will be notified of an acceptance decision by email. If accepted, you will have two weeks to confirm your spot on the program. Once confirmed, you will have additional required forms to complete before participating in the program. If you decide not to continue with the application process, log into the online application system and submit a Cancel Request.
Student Visa in France (Long-stay)
Semester and Academic Year students need a “long-stay” student visa in order to study in France (programs longer than 90 days). Prior to departure, you must apply for and receive your visa before you can arrive in France. The visa process has multiple steps, so plan on getting your passport in order as soon as you have been accepted to the program.
Our role at the Learning Abroad Center is to guide you through the process, provide you with the documents you need, and trouble shoot any questions that come up. You are responsible for your passport, paying for all associated fees and travel, completing all steps in a timely manner and informing the Montpellier team if any issues arise.
After you have confirmed your spot in the program through the Learning Abroad Center online system, additional step-by-step visa instructions will be provided to you. Each step must be completed sequentially so it’s important to wait for the instructions before getting started with the visa application process.
Visa Process for US passport holders
The French student visa process has 4 steps:
- Obtain a passport or verify that your passport is valid for 6 months after your program end date.
- Register with Campus France online.
- Apply for your French student visa online.
- Book and attend an in-person appointment at one of the VFS Global visa application centers. The Learning Abroad Center does not offer batch processing of visa applications for the French visa because of the requirement for biometric data to be collected in person at a VFS Global visa application center.
Your student visa is a document attached to a page in your passport, so you must have your passport prior to applying for your visa.
If you are applying for a passport for the first time, visit the US Department of State website for information on the steps you will need to take. It can take up to 10 weeks to receive a new passport during busy processing times, so apply as soon as possible. Consider expedited service if necessary.
If you already have a passport, make sure that it is valid for 6 months after your program end date and has at least 2 blank pages available.
Carefully consider how any international travel plans may affect your ability to get your student visa. At your in-person appointment, you will give your passport to a VFS Global official. It will then be sent to the Embassy in Washington, D.C. for processing. You will pick up or request to receive your passport via mail approximately 3-8 weeks after your in-person appointment.
If you are a dual citizen: holding a US passport and a passport from another country; determine which passport you will use for your travel to and from France. Complete the “Do you need a visa?” questionnaire on the France-Visas website.
Visa Process for students who do not hold a US passport
If you do not hold a US passport, permission from US authorities to exit and re-enter the US may be required. Consult with the international student office on your campus for assistance with this documentation.
In order to determine what the entry regulations are for France, a good starting point is to complete the “Do you need a visa?” questionnaire on the France-Visas website. Depending on the type of visa required of you for studying in France, you may need additional documentation for entry. Please contact the Montpellier team at the Learning Abroad Center to consult.
If you are an international student, please note that processing times for international passports can take up to 2 months. During the processing period, you cannot leave the US, because you will not have a valid passport in your possession.