Study abroad experiences are one of the most exciting, interesting and efficient ways to learn a language. Such experiences are often life changing for many individuals and their impact on many students’ lives can be considerable. Students frequently experience an exhilarating widening of their intellectual and social horizons through immersion in a new culture and their contact with the people who inhabit it and who have spoken the language since birth. It has been often said that people don’t really understand their own culture until they are fully immersed into a new one since it is at that time that one fully grasps the full extent of the arbitrary nature of one’s society’s collective customs, ways of thinking, cultural priorities and values. It is at such times that one becomes aware of the world’s cultural diversity and the full concrete impact of the word “culture” in one’s daily life.
It is not uncommon for students to opt for a language major after such an experience and many of our students have launched their professional careers and personal lives in cultural settings beyond the English world as a result of their language studies either here or abroad and the personal contacts with individuals from other cultures which their education experience has facilitated. Many of our former students now live and work in non-English speaking countries and environments such as France, Belgium, Quebec, Germany and South America. For many students, it is on the streets of these environments, where they interact with native speakers in their daily lives, that a language suddenly comes alive. Most students who return to continue their language programs after a study-abroad or immersion experience will find that their fluency and command of the language has greatly increased within a short period of time and will enjoy greater self-confidence in their language courses. Our department strongly encourages students of French, German and Spanish to complement their language studies at the University of Saskatchewan with participation in a study abroad or immersion program and it recommends the following options for students of French:
French Immersion & Study Abroad
Students of French have several options for French immersion or study abroad learning opportunities.
- Canadian « Explore » Spring & Summer French Immersion programs
- French courses in Paris on Paris film and theatre
- Study Abroad opportunities at other universities in France
EXPLORE French Immersion Bursary Program
The Canadian Federal Government offers 5-week French Immersion language bursaries for study in Quebec and other provinces through its program « Explore ».
- Cost: Explore program federal bursaries cover the costs of tuition fees, books, room and board. In order to be eligible for these bursaries, students must be Canadian citizens and be registered as full time students during the year preceding or following the Explore program. Students who have just completed high school (Grade 12) can apply for these bursaries. The program is also open to students who do not qualify or who do not receive bursaries and wish to cover expenses on their own.
- Living Arrangements: Explore programs are offered in all Canadian provinces. In some Explore programs students stay in university residences while in others they live with host families. Students frequently find that they are exposed to more French through the latter living arrangement – i.e. through staying with a French-speaking family wherever this option is available. Students should also note that while the larger urban settings such as Montreal or Quebec City offer a wider range of cultural experiences, there is much more English spoken in these environments than in those in smaller cities where students stay with families.
- University Credit: Credit for these programs is not automatic since there are university credited and non-credited Explore programs, depending on their nature. University credited programs are typically more structured along the lines of regular university courses. That is to say that their focus is usually both written and oral (vs just oral) and that students must typically write a substantial (2 or 3 hour) final exam at the end of the course. Students who are interested in receiving credit for this program should check the Explore website for a list of the programs which offer university credit, prior to making their program selection when they apply and should consult with the U of S French section coordinator and advisor at the time of application and program selection, if they require assistance. It is also worth noting that most of these programs require students to write a placement test which determines which language course students should take. In some cases, students who have passed their previous French course with some difficulty may be placed in a course equivalent to the last level they took and may therefore not receive credit for essentially doing the same course over again. Many students opt for the non-credit option because they prefer a less structured immersion experience. Students wishing further information on this issue should contact the French Section Coordinator and Advisor at the Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultural Studies at the time of application and / or subsequent to their placement test.
- Application Deadlines: Students should check the Explore website for the exact deadline which is usually sometime in February. Typically students begin to apply for these programs sometime in early December and are asked to identify their destination preferences at that time. Recipients of language bursaries are decided through draws held in April and are notified at that time.
- For more information, visit the Explore website at: http://www.jexplore.ca/
U of S French courses taught by U of S faculty in Paris
The Department of Languages, Literatures, & Cultural Studies offers senior students of French the possibility of taking courses in Paris during Intersession. Since these courses may not be available every year, planning and consultation with the French Section advisor and coordinator is advised.
Contact Prof. Anne-Marie Wheeler, French Section Coordinator, for further details on these courses at firstname.lastname@example.org
Paris on Film
This course will explore the role of France as the birthplace of cinema. Over the past century its capital has been not only the subject but also the star of many of the films that ushered in the major aesthetic movements of our time: from modernity through surrealism, cinéma vérité to the new wave. This course is offered in Spring & Summer Session, with two weeks of classes in Saskatoon and two weeks of study in Paris. The classes will provide students with the vocabulary and skills to "read" a film, while contextualizing clips from representative films from the last century of French cinema. In Paris, students will make site visits to la Cinémathèque française, and will access research materials at the Forum des Images at the Georges Pompidou Centre.
Prerequisite(s): FREN 125 or FREN 128 or permission of the instructor
Theatre in Paris
This course examines French theatre. It is offered in Spring & Summer Session, with two weeks of classes in Saskatoon and two weeks of study in Paris. The classes will provide a general, century-by-century introduction to the evolution of theatre (theatrical life and aesthetics) through the analysis of excerpts from the major works of the French repertoire. In Paris, two plays will be studied, chosen from among the offerings at France’s two main theatres: La Comédie-Française (1680) and l’Odéon (1782). An exclusive backstage tour of the theatres, and a discussion of their histories, will also be included. Students will also be privileged to spend an afternoon at Le Conservatoire National Supérieur de Paris, France’s premiere drama school, to witness some of their workshops. This class will also include lectures and discussions with some of France’s most famous stage directors and theatre specialists.
Prerequisite(s): FREN 125 or FREN 128 or permission of the instructor.
French Study Abroad Options at other universities in France
Students who would like to study French abroad during one or two regular academic terms may also want to consider study at the following French universities.
- Université Marc Bloch (Strasbourg)
- Université Robert Schumann (Strasbourg)
- Institut de Formation Internationale (Rouen)
- Université Paris Sorbonne Nouvelle