The French program at UW-Madison strongly believes that study abroad contributes immensely to the positive academic experience of our undergraduate students. Our signature programs in Aix-en-Provence and Paris and our hand-picked programs in Belgium, Tunisia, Morocco, and Switzerland all provide enriching potential for linguistic growth and cultural exploration.
As a French student, you can study abroad during almost any time in your college career, but there are some important facts to consider. The information below will help in your planning and conversations with a French advisor.
Prospective French Students
It’s never too early to start planning your study abroad. When you have some free time, visit the Study Abroad Resource Room (1st floor, Red Gym) and mark your calendar for any Study Abroad Fairs you can attend. Meet with advisors at IAP to learn more about your study abroad program options and contact a French advisor to see how your time abroad can fit into your academic plan.
The more complex and/or ambitious your French undergraduate program is (the number of additional majors or certificates, athletic or other heavy extracurricular involvement, etc.), the more important advance planning will be to allow a study abroad experience.
French Course Considerations Abroad
Note the difference between content and language courses. Content refers to courses that deal with subjects such as literature, civilization, history, marketing, etc. Language refers to courses that concentrate on perfecting the use of the French language such as writing, conversation, phonetics, etc.
To receive French Department credit, the foreign course must be taught in French. All written work and readings much be in French.
The fact that a course is taught in French does not automatically imply that it will receive French department credit. Content must be predominately French/francophone in nature.
Credits are determined based on contact time in class. Generally for study abroad programs, 15 hours of in-class contact time is equivalent to 1 UW-Madison credit.
A 2-credit course will satisfy course requirements for the French major or certificate (even though equivalent courses in Madison are 3 credits). However, the 24-credit minimum at the 300-level or higher for the French major and the 15-credit minimum for the certificate, are still required.
French certificate students: 5 courses are required for the certificate starting with French 228 and 271. 3 must be taken on the UW-Madison campus.
For more information about how specific courses abroad may be equated back on campus, consult this handout.
Mapping Your Study Abroad Experience as a French Major
There is no best time to study abroad as a French major or certificate candidate. If you are also majoring in another discipline, you will ultimately want to find the fit that works well for all of your degree programs by consulting with your academic advisors.
Each study abroad program has specific requirements or prerequisites for participation. One of the more important considerations is the amount of French required before you study abroad. If you find you may not be at the required level in time to participate in a program, consult with a French advisor to see if there are alternative paths available to attaining that level.
Questions to Ask
To Ask Your Academic Advisor
- What classes must I complete for my degree (breadth/depth, major requirements, etc.)?
- Do I need to be on UW-Madison’s campus for any courses in my major?
- How many electives do I have outside of my major?
To Ask Your Study Abroad Advisor
- What classes can I take abroad?
- How and when do I select courses for my program?
- When will I know course equivalents for my program?
- What is the class structure like abroad?
Identifying Programs That are Right for You
France: Academic Program in Aix-en-Provence
This signature program offers students three different tracks depending on your French language level, major, and duration spent on the program. For students with five semesters of French or more, the program provides the opportunity to directly enroll at one of two French universities with all course work taught in French while still receiving onsite support from the program’s onsite Assistant Director and a faculty member. Students with lower French or who can only spend fall semester in Aix will have the opportunity to enroll at a French language institute.
France: UW in Paris
This signature program offers students the opportunity to spend a spring semester in Paris taking a combination of classes at the CIEE center and at local French institutions all taught in French. A UW Madison professor will accompany the group offering an enhanced experience on the program.
Belgium: CIEE Business, Communications and Culture at Vesalius College in Brussels
France: UW Film in Paris
France: CIEE French and Critical Studies in Paris
France: Institut de Touraine French Language Program
France: Institut d’Etudes Politiques Exchange
Switzerland: SIT Global Health and Development Policy
Tunisia: SIT Emerging Identities in North Africa
Search all IAP programs
Research all programs using the IAP Program Search page. The above is not an exhaustive list of all programs. There may be other programs that are a better fit for your individual needs or interests.