Study Away

Programs in Francophone Countries

Kate Emerson '10

Bowdoin students of Francophone Studies have the opportunity to study away for a year or a semester in a variety of exciting programs in Francophone countries. Study Away is an integral part of students’ experience as a Francophone Studies major at Bowdoin. Students find that their experiences abroad teach them as much about themselves and their own culture as they do the foreign culture they live in while abroad.

Department-recommended programs in Francophone Europe and Francophone Africa:


(Y/F/S) The Middlebury School in Cameroon

(F/S) SIT, Fort Dauphin, Madagascar (Biodiversity and Natural Resource Management)  
For students also majoring in Biology or Environmental Studies.

(Y/F/S) CIEE, Dakar



(Y/F/S) Wellesley-in-Aix (not yet on the approved list, but we hope soon to be).

(Y/F/S) Middlebury College in Bordeaux


(Y/F/S) Bowdoin-Sciences Po Lyon Exchange


(Y/F/S) IES Nantes

(Y/F/S) Hamilton in France

(Y/F/S) Middlebury Program in Paris

(Y/F/S) Middlebury College in Poitiers

(Y/S) Dickinson in France

The “Comprehensive List” of Bowdoin-approved programs, with links to each of the pre-approved programs listed above, is available via the Off-Campus Study website, along with general information on  study away.

Some students have also participated in semester and year-long programs that are not on the approved list.  Enrolling in one of these programs requires a petition to the Study Abroad Committee and a meeting with the OCS office before November 1st.  If you find a program appropriate for you, please come discuss it with one of us and we will aid you in preparing your petition.

For example:

(F/S) School for International Training (SIT): in Cameroon

(Y/F/S) CIEE Rennes

(Y/F/S) Brown in France (Lyon and Paris)

A few SUMMER programs:

(Not meant to replace study abroad during the academic year. Students have sometimes combined a summer of study with a semester of study abroad when a year-long program was not possible. On approval of the Department, students can earn 1-2 general or major credits for summer study.

Bryn Mawr Institut d'Avignon

Middlebury College, VT
The Betty Ashbury Jones MA '86 School of French

Sciences Po Paris Summer School

New York University Summer in Paris
Priority deadline:  February 1
General deadline: March 1

La Sorbonne, Cours de civilisation pour les étrangers
Summer deadline: none

All members of the Francophone Studies section are happy to speak with you about your study abroad plans. Please make an appointment with one of us.

Returning students are also a fantastic resource for information about individual programs. We encourage you to read their evaluation forms in the OCS office. We hold a meeting every October about programs in Francophone countries where students have the opportunity to hear in depth from fellow students about their experiences abroad.

Credits and Your Francophone Studies or Romance Languages and Literatures Major:

Bowdoin awards up to 4 general credits / semester, 8 general credits / year for courses taken during study away.

The Francophone Studies Department awards, for courses taken in French in the humanities and social sciences, upon approval by the major advisor:

  • up to 3 credits toward the major for a semester of study away in a French-speaking country
  • up to 4 credits toward the major for a year-long program (or a summer + a semester)

Please note :

  • 2 courses counted toward the Francophone Studies or Romance Languages and Literatures major may also be counted toward another major, but not all departments have this policy. Most will only “double count” one course. Be sure to talk with faculty from other departments for which you wish to receive credit.
  • Courses taken abroad will not count as credits towards the Francophone Studies minor. All courses toward the minor must be taken at Bowdoin.


When applying for study away, you listed and received provisional Department approval for courses on Bowdoin’s Off-Campus Study application form based on courses regularly offered by the program, currently offered at the university, or taken by students in the past. However, often these will not be the courses you are actually able to take when you get there. Once abroad, when you are choosing your courses, you should consult with your advisor in Francophone Studies at Bowdoin via e-mail to receive approval. Final credit for these courses will be awarded upon submission of course materials, so please keep all course syllabi and papers completed in the courses you wish to have count toward the major.

As you know, the Department accepts for the major a maximum of three courses taken abroad for a semester, or four for a year (or a summer + a semester). We suggest that you favor university courses, taking as many courses outside the program as possible, alongside French-speaking students.

When selecting courses, remember that if you are majoring in Francophone Studies or Romance Languages and Literatures and have not fulfilled your requirements at the 2400 level prior to your departure, you must fulfill these requirements abroad. Please be sure to select courses that can fulfill these requirements in consultation with your advisor. For the culture course (2407, 2408), courses dealing with current events and politics tend to work well. For the literature courses (2409, 2410), look for courses that ideally deal with more than one literary genre and traverse at least two historical periods (often literary history courses will work well). Students returning from study away should not take courses at the 2400 level, but will take 3000-level seminars instead. One upper-level literature or cinema studies course taken abroad may count as one of the three 3000-level courses required for the major.

If you will be completing your first 3000-level course or fulfilling a 2400-level requirement while abroad, please write to your Francophone Studies advisor before registration for your next Bowdoin semester begins with information about that course so that she can notify the registrar that you have the prerequisites to enroll in a 3000-level course and obtain the appropriate override from the professor teaching the course you wish to take. This will avoid your not getting in to a 3000-level course during on-line registration, because until the credits actually go through upon your return, you will not officially have the prerequisite. 


  • Dive in! You have no time to lose! Your experience will be over before you know it. Take chances, try new things, force yourself outside your comfort zone. Do everything you can to experience the world beyond the American group and the program.

  • Meeting people and making them your friends will probably be hard work. You will need to go out of your way to make friends your age. Do not stick with the American group out of comfort. This is not the time to be shy. It is the time to put your most outgoing self forward and be daring. Introduce yourself, ask for help, put yourself out there. Be open to friendships with people of all ages. Don’t hesitate to ask native speakers if you can copy their notes from class—you might make a friend.

  • Ask for a host family who wants to interact with you and spend as much time with them as possible. Not all host families are like that—be the squeaky wheel.

  • Participate in any and all opportunities your program offers that will allow you to meet people. Seek out any and all activities in the community.

  • Find and join extra-curricular activities that take you outside of the American group. Try something, anything, that puts you in contact with native speakers (dance, art, singing, sports, volunteer work, church, you name it!). Sometimes these opportunities take effort to find and guts to try but are so worth it! Program directors can also sometimes help you find activities, so don’t hesitate to ask for their help.

  • If there is an opportunity to do an internship, take it; it is often the most intensive language-learning environment and often provides the best opportunity to meet people through whom you can become more integrated into the local community.

  • Of course you will want to travel, but please seriously consider balancing travel with truly making your home in your host country. Traveling within your host country or with French speakers is a good way to really get to know your host country and keep speaking French.

  • Make a pact with other members of your program to speak the language of your host country all the time and honor it. Stay away from those who don’t.

  • As crazy as it may seem, limit your time in English on the phone, texting, Skype, Facebook and e-mail as much as you possibly can. It is simply a fact that switching constantly between the languages will greatly hinder your linguistic progress and constant contact with the States will keep you from truly making the most of your time living in another culture.

  • Live your experience to its fullest!



  • Within one month of returning to campus (before October 1 in the fall or before March 1 in the spring), schedule a meeting with your advisor to discuss your courses taken abroad. Romance Languages and Literatures majors whose advisor is in Hispanic Studies or Italian Studies should also meet with a member of the Francophone Studies faculty for final course approval. It is your responsibility to schedule this meeting.

  • Prior to the meeting, you will have: 1. assembled all materials for courses taken abroad for which you hope to receive major credit and 2., written a 3-4 page personal reflection (three double-spaced pages minimum) in French describing your experience abroad. The narrative should be submitted to your advisor as an email attachment a week prior to your meeting. This narrative is required for the receipt of major credit for courses taken abroad. The narrative will describe your academic and cultural experience abroad, telling us what you learned, the specific classes you took, your outside activities, and how your world view has changed. How did the courses you took and the social and cultural experiences you had change your approach and understanding of your study of Francophone literatures and cultures? How did these courses complement those previously taken at Bowdoin? How did your experience in another country change your views about your own? How did you change?

  • You will also be asked to complete an evaluation for the Off-Campus Study Office, which will provide us with useful information for future advising.