Instructor teaching French in class using blackboard and chalk

Teaching Practicum in France

  1. Program Details

    Earn credit towards your Minnesota Teaching Certification in Elementary Education while studying in this vibrant city with a centuries-old history of intellectual advances and social tolerance. Examine French education practices and complete required teaching practicum hours through teaching English in a French school.

    Location Montpellier, France
    Term Fall Semester, Spring Semester
    Housing Apartment, Homestay
    Credit Type Resident Credit
    Sponsor Learning Abroad Center

    Program Eligibility

    GPA 2.5
    Student Type UofM Students, Non UofM Students
    Student Year Sophomores, Juniors, Seniors
    Language No Language Prerequisite
  3. 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, 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 was designed in collaboration with the College of Education at the University of Montpellier and the University of Minnesota's College of Education and Human Development. It was developed to meet the requirements of students majoring in elementary education foundations, early childhood education, and special education. You will leave this program with first-hand experience in teaching in a second-language context. By design, you will practice cross-cultural skills, develop empathy for being immersed in a new, challenging language and culture, and get a head start on classroom management skills and interpersonal interactions with students.

    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

    • Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert

    • Anduze and the bamboo forest

    Optional longer excursions (at an extra cost) include:

    • Paris

    • 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.

    Learning Outcomes

    • 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 Defrecheux-Chaton

    Françoise Defrecheux-Chaton

    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.

    Corrine Dumas

    Corinne Dumas

    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 Roger

    Paul Rogers

    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.

    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.
  4. Program Structure

    Program Type Study Abroad Center
    Program Level 1000–3000 level courses

    5 courses (15–17 credits)


    This cohort-based model combines theoretical learning and practical teaching 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. University of Minnesota students who are completing a Developmental Psychology minor may also want to refer to Youth Development & Psychology, also offered in Montpellier.

    Required Courses

    Introduction to Elementary Teaching
    MONT 3211
    Fall, Spring
    3 credits

    This course focuses on the principles and pedagogical considerations for effective classroom teaching. French Education students may join this class.

    Syllabus for Introduction to Elementary School Teaching (PDF)

    UofM equivalent: CI 3211

    Teaching Practicum
    MONT 3212
    Fall, Spring
    3 credits

    Students spend time each week assisting in the English language classroom in a local school setting under the supervision of the French classroom teacher and the course faculty member. Students are placed in classrooms corresponding to student interest and academic program needs.

    Syllabus for Teaching Practicum (PDF)

    UofM equivalent: CI 3212

    French Language
    MONT 1001–3016
    Fall, Spring
    3 or 5 credits

    Students in 1st–4th semester French enroll in a 5-credit French language class that is divided into sections based on level. 

    Advanced levels of language are offered in a special language program for international students and is included in the program fee.

    Also offered at the advanced level are Program Center-based conversation and literature courses. Please contact Maria Mantey to discuss these options.

    Elective Courses

    Cross-Cultural Psychology
    MONT 3006
    Fall, Spring
    3 credits

    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.

    Syllabus for Cross-Cultural Psychology (PDF)

    UofM equivalent: PSY 3301

    Language Development from a Cross-Cultural Perspective
    MONT 3121
    Fall, Spring
    3 credits

    This course exams the process of language learning in children and the different philosophical approaches in the USA and France regarding second language development. Taught at program center exclusively to LAC program participants. 

    Syllabus for Language Development from a Cross-Cultural Perspective (PDF)

    UofM equivalent: CI 3610; also fulfills Social Sciences liberal education requirement.

    Introduction to Child Psychology
    MONT 3301
    Fall, Spring
    3 credits

    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.

    Syllabus for Introduction to Child Psychology (PDF)

    UofM equivalent: CPSY 2301/3301

    French (R)evolutions: Transformations in French society from 1945 to the present through the eyes of filmmakers
    Fall, Spring
    3 credits

    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. Offered exclusively to UofM participants.

    UofM Equivalent: Approved for Arts/Humanities and Writing Intensive liberal education requirements.

    French Writers: Transformations in French & Francophone Society from 1945 to the Present through the Eyes of Novelists
    Fall, Spring
    3 Credits

    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.

    Syllabus for French Writers: Transformations in French & Francophone Society from 1945 to the Present through the Eyes of Novelists (PDF)

    UofM equivalent: Approved for the Literature and Writing Intensive liberal education requirements.

    Adolescent Psychology
    MONT 4303
    Fall, Spring
    3 credits

    This course will provide an overview of development in the teenage years/second decade of life. Interactions of adolescents with family, school, and society, bringing in the French context.

    Syllabus for Adolescent Psychology (PDF)

    UofM equivalent: CPSY 4303

    Resilience in Children & Youth: Global Perspectives
    MONT 4310
    Fall, Spring
    3 credits

    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. We will 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. Students will also gain a global awareness of diverse perspectives on resilience from interactions with other MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) participants online in discussion forums.

    Syllabus for Resilience in Children and Youth: Global Perspectives (PDF)

    UofM equivalent: CPSY 4310

    Optional Online Course

    Global Identity
    OLPD 3332
    1 credit
    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.

    Syllabus for Global Identity (PDF)

  5. Dates & Deadlines

    Submit the online application and complete the assigned application checklist according to the appropriate deadline:
    Program Term App Open Date Deadline*
    Fall 2021 Dec 18 Extended to April 15, 2021
    Depart U.S. early September, date TBD
    Arrive Montpellier (program start date) early September, date TBD
    Orientation early September, dates TBD
    First day of class mid-September, date TBD
    Fall Break October, dates TBD
    Last day of class and housing mid-December, date TBD
    Depart Montpellier (program end date) mid-December, date TBD
    Spring 2022 May 1 Oct 1
    Depart U.S. mid January, date TBD
    Arrive Montpellier (program start date) mid January, date TBD
    Orientation mid January, date TBD
    First day of class mid January, date TBD
    Winter Break mid February, dates TBD
    Easter Monday holiday 4/18/2022
    Spring break mid April, dates TBD
    Last day of class and housing mid May, date TBD
    Depart Montpellier (program end date) mid May, date TBD

    *Program dates are subject to change. Contact the LAC for verification of dates before purchasing your airfare.
    **If the deadline falls on a weekend, submit your materials on the following business day.

    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.

    Term Abroad Date/Time Location
    Fall 2021 Date TBD *online



  6. Fees for Teaching Practicum in France

    University of Minnesota participants pay the program fee instead of on-campus tuition and fees for the term they are abroad.

    Fall 2020 Program Fees

    Traditional French Apartment
    Student Studio Apartment

    Spring 2021 Program Fees 

    Traditional French Apartment
    Student Studio Apartment


    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

    Bridging Loan, a no-interest/no-fees loan that funds the upfront deposit and flights costs, is available for this program for eligible students.

    Cancellation Policy

    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.
  7. Prepare

    Complete pre-application advising.

    Be aware: All programs require a $50 application fee. This fee will be charged to your student account upon submission of an online application.

    To complete the online application for this program, you will need to select or provide the following information on the online application:

    Center Name TC Learning Abroad Ctr
    Education Abroad Term See Dates page for term options
    Program Name Teaching Practicum in France
    Track Name Teaching Practicum in France
    Country France


    May & Summer Programs – University of Minnesota Students

    Use your University of Minnesota internet ID and password to log into the Education Abroad application system. Your student account will be charged a $50 application fee for each application you submit.

    Apply Now

    May & Summer Programs – Non-University of Minnesota Students

    Once you submit your application, Learning Abroad Center staff will create a University of Minnesota student internet account for you. You will use this account to access the Education Abroad Application System, and other University of Minnesota services. You will be charged a $50 application fee for each application you submit.

    Our staff will contact you within 2–3 business days with your internet account information, and additional application instructions.

    Apply Now

    Fall 2021 & Beyond Programs – All students

    All students, both UofM and Non-UofM should use this apply button if applying for a program Fall 2021 or beyond (academic year, winter break etc.). You will be charged a $50 application fee for each application you submit.

    Apply Now


    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

    Additional Items Required for non-UofM Students:

    • Transcript
    • Home Institution Nomination

    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 your 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 be assigned an acceptance checklist, which you will complete to confirm your participation in the program. If you decide not to continue with the application process, log into the online application system and submit a Cancel Request.

  8. 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.

    Additional step-by-step visa instructions will be provided to you through your online application. 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:

    1. Obtain a passport or verify that your passport is valid for 6 months after your program end date.
    2. Register with Campus France online.
    3. Apply for your French student visa online.
    4. 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.

  9. Program Contact

    For further information or questions about this program, send an email to

    Maria Mantey or call at 612.626.7535.

  10. Contact Program Alum

    Below is a list of additional students who participated in past program sessions. They are ready and willing to answer your questions about this program. Feel free to contact them during your decision-making process or anytime during your pre-departure preparation to get a student perspective.

    Elizabeth Suppa: Elementary Education major (Apartment), Spring 2019

    Amanda M.: Early Childhood Education major (Homestay), Spring 2020