We strongly encourage majors and minors in French to study abroad, and we support the goals of those who are interested in business, government, sociology, etc., where the need for individuals competent in foreign languages is increasing constantly. We believe such students should study a foreign language at least through FRE-251 and then spend a semester abroad taking courses in their area of specialization. French students are encouraged to participate in approved programs in Dijon, Nantes, Paris, Bamako, Fort Dauphin Antanarivo and Dakar.
- IES Abroad Nantes
- IES Abroad Paris - Business and International Affairs
- IES Abroad Paris - French Studies
- LAC - French in Montpellier
- Champlain College Montreal
SIT - Study Abroad
- Health, gender and community empowerment in Bamako, Mali
- Biodiversity and natural resource management in Fort Dauphin, Madagascar
- National Identity and social change in Antanarivo, Madagascar
- International development in Dakar, Senegal
- National identity and the arts in Senegal
Gusties Exploring La Francophonie
Kalyna Rieland- Dakar, Senegal
Caroline David- Montpellier, France
My name is Caroline David and I am a Honors Psychological Science and Religion double major. I graduated in May 2016. During the spring semester of my junior year, I studied abroad in Montpellier, France.
I have heard French since I was a baby- my father is French and moved to the US when he was in his twenties. My entire paternal family still lives in France, so I was hoping to find a place to study abroad that would facilitate travel to visit everyone.
The LAC program in Montpellier is organized by the University of Minnesota, but there were many students from the U, Penn State, and several liberal arts colleges in the US. This program was a perfect fit for me: they offered integrated classes with other French students (in which you are the only or one of very few Americans, as opposed to taking classes for only Americans), I could live with a host family, and Montpellier is a beautiful city in southern France that is conveniently about an hour by train from my grandparents :)
My host parents, Claude and Chantal, were integral to my experience in France. They were more than happy to correct my grammar and made delicious food. They also frequently had dinner guests, which allowed me to converse with many people with different accents about a wide variety of subjects (I can now talk about life insurance in French…handy). We had a lot of fun joking at dinner, making orange marmalade, watching the news, and even assembling Ikea furniture (always a relationship builder).
Montpellier is home to a large number of international students, many of whom go to Université Paul Valery, where LAC students attend classes. I met students from other programs in the US as well as many European Erasmus students. I decided to take completely different classes from what I had been taking at Gustavus, including political science, 16th-18th century history of France, a class about immigration, grammar, academic writing, and sociology. It was an awesome continuation of my liberal arts education at Gustavus, and I learned about France in a deeper way than I had through my experiences with my French family. I learned about the election system, and even went with my host parents when they voted. I made friends with a cafeteria worker who asked me to translate a menu to prepare for a visit from American administrators. I learned about the French education system firsthand, and took my first oral exam for my history class.
When I wasn’t in class or hanging out with my host family, I spent a lot of time exploring sunny Montpellier. It’s an old city with rich history from the period of conflict between Catholics and Protestants. There are tons of shops and windy streets, delicious ice cream, and it’s sunny probably 300 days a year.
I learned a lot about the world and myself during my time abroad. It was really refreshing to me to delve deeper into my love of France, beyond baguettes, family traditions, and chèvre. My time in France also inspired my senior religion thesis about the headscarf debate in France. Studying abroad really allowed me to embrace my independence, navigate new situations, and help me feel connected to all kinds of people