Global Francophone Cultures

The Global Francophone Cultures program provides a unique opportunity for students to engage in a comparative study of three distinct cultural contexts – Canada; France; and Sénégal—in the Francophone world while developing competency in French language.  The GFC program is suitable for both first-year and upper-class students who have no previous French language study through the equivalent of four semesters of college French, and who would like to gain fluency through immersion in French-speaking cultures.  Participants will extend their intellectual and personal growth through an integration of classroom learning, cultural and linguistic immersion, and opportunities for engagement with diverse communities through living and studying in all of the program locations.  

  • Based in Québec City, Canada; Rouen, France, and Dakar, Senegal
  • Spring semester
  • Pre-requisites: 2.8 GPA recommended to apply; 0-4 semesters of college French, or the equivalent of high school French. 
  • First-year, Sophomore and Junior students are eligible to apply.
  • Live with homestay families

       FYS Application                       Upper Class Student Application 

Location     Academics     Cultural Engagement and Excursions

Housing     Calendar     Orientation      Program Contacts


The program explores three distinct Francophone cultures in Québec City, Canada; Rouen, France and Dakar, Sénégal.

Québec:  The program begins with a 2-week stay in Québec City at Linguabec, a language and culture institute connected to Laval University.  During their time in Québec students reside in home stays, study intensive French and learn about Québecois culture.  Classes are typically scheduled in the morning with afternoons and weekends reserved for exploration of the distinctly Québecois culture of the Old City of Québec and its environs.  The group then flies together to the program site in Rouen, France.

Rouen:  For the majority of the semester, the GFC program is based at the University of Rouen.  Rouen is a city of 125,000 people, 75 miles northwest of Paris. The University of Rouen is a modern university with about 30,000 students. In Rouen, students reside with host families and take courses in the University's International Relations Department. There are opportunities to socialize with French students. While in Rouen, participants will take a course, La Francophonie, which will tie together their experiences in the three program locations.

Sénégal:  The program includes a week-long educational excursion to Sénégal, which consists of a cross-cultural immersion program including Wolof language instruction; lectures and discussions from a variety of academics and professional experts in Dakar, the country's financial and cultural center and one of the world's most dynamic cities.   It also includes visits to sites of contemporary and historical significance such as Gorée Island, Saint Louis and Toubab.  Students are housed in host families throughout their time in Sénégal, learning from their families and Senegalese culture and daily life.

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The spring semester is designed for students with minimal exposure to French who are interested in developing competency in the language and in exploring three distinct francophone cultures. Students earn 2 units in French for the Language and Culture course that is taught throughout the program.  Students take two other courses, La Francophonie¸and either the FYS course (for first year students) or the program leader’s course (for upper class students.)  Both of these courses are taught in English.  The content of the FYS course and the program leader’s course varies each year depending on the academic expertise of the Accompanying Faculty Member.  

FR 107 or 108: French Language and Conversation is comprised of several components:  the intensive language and culture component in Quebec; Oral and Written Expression; Grammar; and Civilization (2 units):

FR 284/AFS 284: La Francophonie (1 unit)

FYS Spring 2017: Rap and Hip Hop: The Francophone Experience

SOC 200 Spring 2017: Francophone youth culture and concerns

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Cultural Engagement and Excursions


Each year the program organizes two extended excursions – to Paris and Sénégal – and several day or overnight visits. These excursions are designed to enhance the learning that takes place in the classroom and include visits to a variety of sites with historical, political and cultural significance.  In recent years the program has visited Mont-Saint-Michel; Bayeux; the D-Day landing beaches in Normandy; Fontainebleau; Giverny and the Loire Valley.

Co-curricular Cultural Activities

Not all learning on the program takes place in the traditional classroom setting.  Students will have an extensive schedule of visits to museums, galleries, theaters and monuments that will complement their classes. These visits are planned with the goal of furthering the students' understanding of French and Francophone cultures.   These visits are included in the cost of the program.

Individual Cultural Engagement

In order to encourage students to explore cultural venues of particular interest to them, students are offered reimbursement, according to program guidelines, for attending cultural activities of their own choosing such as the theater or the symphony, visiting museums and monuments and other selected events.

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The family experience constitutes a central element of the program.  Students are housed in host families in Canada, France, and Sénégal. The homestay families in France are distributed throughout Rouen and the Mont-Saint-Aignan area and students should plan to commute to classes. Students are expected to be sensitive to cultural differences and open to understanding and sharing fully in the life of the host-families. Host families typically provide breakfast and dinners (and all meals on weekends in France). A stipend is provided for lunches not provided by the host families. 

Once accepted to the program, students complete a detailed, confidential housing preference form in order to be matched with the most suitable family.  The form includes questions regarding dietary preferences, and allergies, level of independence desired, etc.  The program attempts to accommodate individual requests but this may not always be possible.  Housing assignments in Québec and France are usually sent to students by early December.

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Spring 2016

January 4                                       Immersion experience (full-year Students)

January 10 to 22                            Stay in Québec

January 23                                     Arrive in Paris

January 23 to 24                            Orientation in Rouen

January 24                                     Installation in families

January 25                                     Registration at the University of Rouen

January 26 to February 5               Two weeks of classes

February 7 to 13                            Stay in Paris

13 February to 21                          February Holidays

February 22 to March 24               Five-week course

March 25 to 27                              Excursion

March 28 to April 15                      Three-week course

April 16 to April 24                         Stay in Sénégal

April 25 to May 6                           Two-week course

8 May                                            Holiday

9 to 13 May                                   Exams

Saturday, May 14                          End of the program for all students (GFS and full-year)

Printemps 2016

4 janvier                                       Début des expériences d’immersion (full-year students)

10 au 22  janvier                          Séjour à Québec

23 janvier                                     Arrivée à Paris

23 au 24 janvier                           Orientation à Rouen

24 janvier                                     Installation dans les familles

25 janvier                                     Inscription à l’Université de Rouen

26 janvier au 5 février                  Deux semaines de cours

7 au 13  février                             Séjour à Paris

13 février au 21 février                 Vacances

22 février au 24 mars                   Cinq semaines de cours

25 au 27 mars                              Excursion

28 mars au 15 avril                      Trois semaines de cours

16 avril au 24 avril                       Séjour au Sénégal

25 avril au 6 mai                          Deux semaines de cours

8 mai                                           Férié

9 au 13 mai                                 Examens

Samedi 14 mai                             Fin du programme pour tous les étudiants (GFS et full-year)

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Pre-departure: The CIIS office organizes in-depth orientation sessions on campus prior to the students' participation in the program. This includes a program specific session(s) in which the students will learn more about the program, local culture, academic expectations, and any other important information. There is also an orientation session lead by the CIIS office on culture shock, and what to expect, as well as safety and security while abroad.

On-site: Students begin their orientation to Francophone cultures with their two-week stay in Québec City. Along with intensive French classes at the Universite Laval, the SLU professor accompanying the group - and the host families - will help students with cultural adjustment issues. The orientation to French culture will continue when the group arrives in France, and additional orientation to Sénégal is provided before and during the component there.

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Program Contacts

If you are interested in learning more about the Global Francophone Cultures program please contact one of the following people.

CIIS OfficeKelley Lawson-Khalidi, Director of Off-Campus Programs - Questions about eligibility, program logistics, and other off-campus opportunities.

Faculty Coordinator: Dr. Abye Assefa - Questions about program academics.

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Students admitted to St. Lawrence are able to apply to the Global Francophone Cultures FYS Program on-line. Applications are due by September 10.

Admission to the program is based on the quality of the application and the applicant’s previous academic record. Candidates for the Global Francophone Cultures FYS Program must also present evidence of maturity, responsibility and cultural sensitivity. If you have questions about the application process or about the program, please contact the Center for International and Intercultural Studies at St. Lawrence University at 315-299-5991 or

       FYS Application                       Upper Class Student Application