Learning Abroad for French Majors

"Studying abroad is essential for any student seeking a deep and nuanced understanding of a language and culture other than her own. It is a joyous, exhilarating, and genuinely life-changing experience, an experience for which there is no substitute. It is much harder, later in life, to have such a rich intellectual and personal adventure. And until recently, it has been a uniquely American thing to do. It was only in the past few years that European universities have recognized the value of study abroad and set up their own, similar programs, such as the EU's Erasmus." —Catherine LeGouis

Study Abroad In France and Francophone Countries

Where to Study
Mount Holyoke College has its own study abroad program in Montpellier, France, and is also affiliated with the Sweet Briar College Junior Year in France Program. Study Abroad in France or in a Francophone country is open to both majors and non-majors. Students are encouraged to have successfully completed at least one 4-credit course each semester they are enrolled at Mount Holyoke prior to their departure for study abroad (excluding independent study).  It is particularly desirable for a student to be enrolled in a 4-credit French course the semester immediately preceding the semester or year abroad.  Students should also have completed at least one course in culture and literature at the 200 level (215, 219, 225, or 230).  

  • Please consult the French department and the Center for Global Initiatives for details about these and other programs.
  • Eligible students who are selected to participate in the Montpellier program may use their Mount Holyoke financial aid to do so.
  • Mount Holyoke financial aid for Sweet Briar, as well as for other approved study abroad programs, is awarded on a competitive basis.
  • Scholarships, specifically for study in France or Italy, are available to qualified undergraduates from the Mary Vance Young Scholarship Fund.
  • Information about financing study abroad may be obtained from the Center for Global Initiatives.
When to Study
Study abroad during the junior year is encouraged.
Credit Transfer
French minors may bring back the equivalent of one 4-credit course at the 300 level to be used toward their minor. French majors may bring back two 4-credit 300-level courses, in addition to the advanced language work required for the major (a phonetics course and a course focused on written French). Many other departments and programs grant transfer credit to be used toward a major or minor for course work done in France as well. Please consult directly with the chair of the relevant department or program for details.
  • French majors who spend a full year/two semesters abroad are allowed to bring back a maximum of three courses (12 credits), in addition to the required 4 credits’ worth of advanced language course work, for a total of 16 credits maximum toward the major.
  • French majors who spend only one semester abroad are allowed to bring back a maximum of two courses (8 credits), in addition to the required 4 credits of advanced language course work, for a total of 12 credits maximum toward the major.
  • French minors who spend a full year/two semesters abroad are allowed to bring back a maximum of two courses, for a total of 8 credits maximum toward the minor.
  • French minors who spend only one semester abroad are allowed to bring back a maximum of one course, for a total of 4 credits maximum toward the minor.

Acceleration: Students who start at the 101 level, and wish to accelerate in order to go abroad, should follow the Accelerating for Study Abroad Guidelines.

Summer Internships and Research Abroad

French majors are encouraged to pursue a summer internship or research project, since it allows them to apply and develop their skills and explore possible career paths while engaging with cultures and perspectives outside the United States. The Mount Holyoke College International Internship Program typically offers a number of funded summer opportunities in Francophone countries. 

Students have the option of developing their own summer internship or research project. Support for unpaid opportunities is available through the Lynk Universal Application Form (UAF), which offers students access to funding from a variety of College fellowship sources to cover travel and living expenses for the duration of the project. Students with a family contribution of less than $5000 may also receive a $500 grant to apply towards their summer earnings contribution. Both the McCulloch Center for Global Initiatives and the Career Development Center have student evaluations of past international internships on file.

Montpellier Students Abroad