Learning Abroad in French

Learning Abroad in French

“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, Department of French and Italian

Department Recommendations

Review the following suggestions from the Department of French and Italian before beginning your study abroad research.

Seek cultural immersion

Improve second language skills

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.

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 U Credit Abroad Search for classes 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.

College/Department Scholarships for UofM Students

CLA students can apply for CLA Study Abroad Scholarships in addition to other Learning Abroad Center scholarships.


Africa and the Middle East


MSID—International Development in Senegal

  • 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.



Study Abroad in Montpellier

  • Located in the 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.

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
Global Seminars
  • 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! 
Freshman Seminars
  • 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.

Non-Credit Opportunities

  • Non-credit opportunities can be a great option for students who do not need academic credit but want to gain skills and experience abroad related to their field of study.

Student Experiences

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.