Bucknell en France

Founded in 1987, Bucknell en France provides an opportunity for all Bucknell University students, regardless of major or background in French, to enrich their Bucknell University education by studying in France for an academic year or a semester. The program is located in Tours, a prosperous and culturally rich city of 135,000 (484, 000 metro area) situated in the very heart of France, 150 miles southwest of Paris in the Loire Valley. Bucknell en France is administered by the Bucknell University French & Francophone Studies program in cooperation with the Université François Rabelais, a French university of 28,000 students. Students are accompanied by a Bucknell Professor-in-Residence who is a member of the French & Francophone Studies program. They are also supported by a permanent program coordinator in Tours. Students live with host families, take courses in a variety of disciplines, go on excursions, and participate in cultural and athletic activities in the city.

Students remain officially enrolled at Bucknell University and at the same time are registered as students of the Université François Rabelais. Courses are taught in French, integrated into the Bucknell University curriculum, and students receive Bucknell University grades and credit. Courses approved by a student’s adviser and department chair or program director count toward the major or minor. Our French host university offers courses from a wide variety of disciplines such as art, art history, biology, chemistry, economics, education, engineering, history, language, linguistics, literature, management, philosophy, political science, psychology, and translation. Student schedules are individually tailored to match their curricular needs, interests, and level of French proficiency. The first two weeks of study are spent in intensive language study at the Institut de Touraine. While a semester’s stay in Tours is highly beneficial, students who remain for the year have significantly more time to increase their language proficiency, integrate more fully in the French culture, travel in France and Europe, and consolidate the benefits of their experience abroad.

Students who do not meet the minimum language requirement for participation in the regular Bucknell en France program may enroll in a semester of intensive French at the Institut de Touraine, where they can earn credit for the equivalent of three Bucknell University French courses. A fourth course is offered by the Université François Rabelais.

Some highlights of the Bucknell en France program include guided integration into a French university system with on-site academic support; individualized language assessment throughout the semester/year; preparation for the internationally recognized DELF exam (Diplôme d’études de langue française); engagement in Service Learning consisting of English tutorial to French students providing students a “mirror” in which to contemplate their own linguistic and cultural assimilation; contextualized excursions to various regions in France (e.g., Normandy, Provence, or Dordogne in southwestern France), Loire Valley châteaux, and patrimony sites in Tours; visits to artisanal sites (e.g., winery, goat cheese farm, glass blowing studio, florist); workshops on French cooking; integration into experienced French host families; contact with French student mentors; drama workshops with professional coaching for pronunciation, speech, and body language; daylong internships (e.g., bakery, chocolate making, student teaching, archaeological digs); and extracurricular opportunities (e.g., choir, rugby, fencing, archery, yoga, hip hop, soccer).

The academic calendar of Bucknell en France is similar to Bucknell University’s with adjustments for the French academic year. The first semester begins in early September and ends in mid-December. The spring semester runs from early January until mid-May.

Students are placed with host families and so have an opportunity to experience life in French society, to make friends among the French people, and to speak French in all aspects of life. Students have a private room and typically take breakfast and the evening meal daily with their host family. They eat lunch on their own in town or in one of the student restaurants. Returning students consider their experience living with the French family to be one of the most valuable aspects of their study in Tours.