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Department of French and Italian

Studying FRENCH Abroad

NU Programs | NU-affiliated Programs | Summer Programs | Internships | Post-BA Opportunities

The number of students studying in French-speaking countries increases every year as NU students increasingly see the value of learning a culture through living in it. While a good majority of these students are majors or minors in French, many in other disciplines and schools look to study-abroad experiences to fully appreciate and expand the cultural insights they have acquired in NU classes and to enhance an understanding of global concerns that will serve them well in their future careers in international business, law, medicine, and other disciplines.

Despite the sometimes heavy course load of double majors or considerable school requirements, students in all six NU schools can avail themselves of the opportunity to study French abroad if they plan carefully from the very outset of their career. Depending on the time available, students may choose from summer, semester or full-year programs. French majors frequently seek honors for a Senior Thesis based on research initiated during a study-abroad program.

NU organizes six programs in France: three are exchange programs in which students are directly enrolled in the French university, while two are taught by NU professors in English, and the sixth is a hybrid, combining an internship with regular study abroad. Further options are offered through traditional study abroad programs with which NU is affiliated. For those short on time, summer options are available. Credit-bearing and non-credit internships are also possible.

Haven't had time to go abroad as an undergraduate? You can still do so after graduation, through the French government assistantship program.

If study abroad is on your to-do list, you are encouraged to consult with Prof. Margaret Dempster, Study Abroad Adviser for French, at the earliest opportunity.

Northwestern University Study Abroad Programs (FRANCE)

The Office of International Program Development has created several NU or exchange programs in France, of particular interest - but by no means limited - to students of international relations, economics, science, engineering, global health.

Exchange program with the Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris (Sciences Po)

Exchange program with the Ecole Polytechnique (Paris)

Exchange program with the Université de Strasbourg (Louis Pasteur school)

French Field Study Program (internship in Fall with IFE; spring semester at Sciences Po)

Exchange program with Ecole Supérieure de Physique et de Chimie Industrielles Exchange (ESPCI ParisTech)

European Union Studies (Sciences Po, Paris): courses in English + language study
Health Policy in France and the European Union (Sciences Po, Paris): courses in English + language study
Critical Theory, Literature, and Media (Sciences Po, Paris): courses in English + language study

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NU-affiliated Programs

In these programs students receive transfer credit and remain eligible for financial aid, even though the programs are not run by NU. The first four offer semester or whole year programsin France, Smith in Geneva, Switzerland is a full-year course only, while SIT offers semester-long programsin Africa.

Sweet Briar College Junior Year in France (Paris)
IES Abroad Paris French Studies (Paris)
IES Abroad Nantes (Nantes)
University of Minnesota (Montpellier)
School for International Training (Cameroon)
School for International Training (Madagascar)
School for International Training (Senegal)

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Summer Programs

For students who simply cannot spare even a quarter away from NU, summer study abroad is an attractive option; for those who can, summer study can be combined with semester or full-year programs to enhance the study-abroad experience. Programs to consider are listed below:

Northwestern Summer Program:
IES Arles (France)

Non-NU Summer Program:
University of Minnesota (Montpellier)


Some study abroad programs offer internships, usually only for full-year students. Only one program specializes in this: Internships in Francophone Europe program (IFE). To receive credit for an internship you must obtain pre-departure approval.

Non-credit Internships

Internships can be found through the French-American Chamber of Commerce (FACC) and the French Embassy. The French Embassy arranges fulltime internships of 3 months or less; the French American Chamber of Commerce arranges for professional training positions of 3 to 18 months. Both programs provide the following services: recruitment of qualified Americans with companies in France; government authorization to work and reside in France for individuals who have received a company offer. There is no charge for these services.

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Post-BA Opportunities

Teaching Assistantships

The Cultural Service of the French Embassy oversees a program that places American undergraduate and graduate students in French schools as assistants to English teachers. This program is particularly attractive to students who have just graduated from college and who seek an opportunity for an extended stay in France. The program allows them to spend 7-9 months in France while earning a salary, improving their knowledge of French, and gaining valuable teaching experience. Applicants have to be American citizens or hold a Green Card; they need not be French Majors though a good knowledge of French is required. Majors in Political Science, International Relations, Communications, Journalism, History, Art History, Music or Education, with a minor in French are particularly encouraged to apply. Assignments can be tailored to research interest.

The program runs from the beginning of October to the end of April or later; students give English conversation classes (12 hours a week) and earn a liveable monthly salary of 740 Euros or more. Students may enroll in this program while studying at a French institution of higher education.

For more information about this program and to download applications, see the program website.

For more information, contact Professor Margaret Dempster.

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Studying ITALIAN Abroad

Living and studying in another country will deepen your way of seeing the world. You will meet new friends who can last a lifetime, and acquire skills and experience that can be gained no other way.
Italy is one of the leading destinations for university study for students from everywhere in the world for many reasons, especially these:

  • the millennial richness of its history,
  • its centrality in the contemporary universe of business and politics,  
  • the magnificence of its art and architecture,
  • the beauty of its cities and countryside,
  • the vitality and charm of its people

The United Nations estimates that well over half the world's art treasures are in Italy. These artworks are precious not only because they are peak achievements of human ability, but because they are keys to understanding human exchange, history, and psychology.
Study in Italy is likely to open worlds you haven’t dreamed of yet.

During each term, approximately 30 NU students are on programs in Italy.
Northwestern has chosen to affiliate with a restricted selection of very high-quality, well-run, rigorous programs in Italy, offering our students options for full-year, semester, or summer study. Our guiding principle is that students enter into Italian culture as much as possible at an authentic level, acquiring enough proficiency in the language to be able to get to know the country and its people on its own terms.

Clicking on these links below will take you to a Study Abroad Office site with full descriptions of these programs. You may also ask any Italian instructor for information, particularly Paola Morgavi at

Northwestern Affiliated Study Abroad Programs (ITALY)

Bologna Consortial Studies Program (BCSP)
BU Padua Language & Liberal Arts
IES Abroad Milan Music Program (affiliated for Music majors only)
Intercollegiate Center for Classical Studies in Rome
SU Abroad Florence
Università Bocconi (Northwestern Exchange)

Summer Programs

Padua Language and Liberal Arts Program

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