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. Interested seniors should contact CIIS.
  • 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 the IFAN museum, Maison de Senghor and Gorée Island.  Students are housed in pairs in host families throughout their time in Sénégal.

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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) (Fulfills HUMANITIES distribution requirement)

FYS Spring 2017: Rap and Hip Hop: The Francophone Experience (1.5 units)

Francophone Youth Culture(s) and Concerns:  (1 unit)

This course explores Francophone youth and concerns that affect them in contemporary French society and that are influenced within a global context.  As we learn about the structural and cultural world(s) inhabited by Francophone youth in France, and about the ways in which youth identity is

constructed and interpreted by self and others, students will choose specific topics to explore.  These might include, for example, language, drug and alcohol use, politics, social movements, resistance strategies, music, dress, food choices, media, technology, censorship, education, employment, housing, immigration, sex and gender, dating, marriage, family, or religion.  Students will then examine these topics/concerns within the French and global historical, social, political, economic, and cultural contexts that give rise to them and within which they are lived and experienced by Francophone youth in France.

Independent Project:  Engaging Francophone Cultures through Ethnographic Fieldwork:  (.5 units Optional)

This course provides students interested in deeper and personal engagement in Francophone cultures the chance to design, pursue, and share their own particular interests.  This project might involve neighborhood mapping, comparisons of some aspect of Francophone culture or any topic students would like to examine as part of their  Francophone experience and could take the form of a research paper, a journal, or a short documentary film.  An introduction to various fieldwork as well as an understanding of the ethical considerations of field work, will be provided followed by techniques to analyze and understand students’ findings as they complete their projects.  

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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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Please find program calendar 2017

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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. Elun Gabriel - 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