Key Features

“The Community Service Project was well matched with my studies and a reason I chose SIT.”

—Daniel Dominguez, St. Edward’s University

Urban planning tour in Toulouse

Students in the France: Language, Community, and Social Change study abroad program explore the theme of cultural identity in today's diverse France as well as its contemporary cultural, political, and economic ties with its ex-colonies. Scholars, cultural-political, and ethnic community movement leaders, nonprofit organizations, performance artists, and local experts teach students through lectures and presentations while also guiding them in their fieldwork.

The France program has three main components:

  • Orientation in Toulouse to familiarize students with the program's components and objectives, logistical issues, and health and safety issues
  • Homestay in Toulouse and simultaneous courses at L'Institut Catholique de Toulouse (ICT) and the Community Service Project (CSP)
  • Educational excursions designed to expose students to different regions and cultures within France and Tunisia

Each program component introduces students to different perspectives on cultural diversity and assimilation across a broad spectrum of communities.

Community Service Project (CSP)
The CSP is a field-based project, which provides students with an opportunity to critically examine a topic, community, or situation related to social change in France. Students are able to utilize SIT's broad network of individual and nonprofit organization contacts when working on their projects. Examples of projects include tutoring at a school in an immigrant neighborhood, participating in a community-based organic agriculture organization, volunteering in a local hip-hop arts group, supporting low-income or homeless individuals by working at food banks or reduced price groceries, and working at re-used and recycling organizations. A successful CSP expands language immersion and community involvement while giving back to the student's host community.

Read more about the Community Service Project focus areas and related project sites.

L'Institute Catholique de Toulouse

Students are based in Toulouse, France's fourth-largest city and home to a world-class arts and culture scene. During their 12-week homestay in Toulouse, students attend lectures at L'Institute Catholique de Toulouse or at nonprofit organizations on a variety of subjects related to social change in France, such as French colonization, postcolonization, immigrant urban culture, and French economic policy. Students also take part in activities designed to introduce them to the city's rich culture, such as seeing productions by the Toulouse National Theatre, joining meetings with poetry slam workshop participants, and attending a contemporary Occitan music concert.

Toulouse is an ideal setting for a rigorous and meaningful language immersion experience. The city is the second largest urban university area in France; however, the city center is small and accessible. Toulouse's student population encourages and promotes a lively arts and culture scene, helping to sponsor a wide array of events. Additionally, the city is ideally situated between the Pyrénées mountains and the Mediterranean, giving students access to beautiful wilderness and the sea.

Language teaching

Language Learning
Students are immersed in French language study through their intensive language classes, seminar courses, and interactions with host families and others in the community.

Formal course instruction is complemented with 10 hours of quotidian French or "Daily French." This experience allows students to get acquainted with "real" everyday French. Students learn how to use and recognize structures, intonations, onomatopoeia, and vocabulary that are indispensable to communicate in France on a daily basis. Students study such examples as the language used in rap songs by young immigrants or in political speeches as a strategy to reach constituents.

Costs Dates


Duration: weeks

Prerequisites: None

View Student Evaluations for this program:

About the Evaluations (PDF)

Spring 2013 Evaluations (PDF)
Fall 2012 Evaluations (PDF)

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