At Warwick, we view the year abroad as an important and integral part of your degree programme, one which is both personally and academically enriching, and is highly valued by employers for the specific skills that it brings with it.
Students on all degree courses involving French Studies will spend the third year of their degree in France or a Francophone country (e.g. Belgium, French-speaking Canada), with the possible exception of the BA in Modern Languages, French and German Studies, French and Italian Studies, Italian with French, and German with French (more details can be obtained from the German and Italian pages).
The majority of our students spend the year doing one of three things:
- Working as a language assistant in a school
- Studying at a university
- On a work placement
Most students apply, during the first term of their second year at Warwick, through the British Council, which handles all the adminstrative details, for a post as a language assistant, teaching spoken English in a primary or secondary school in France (or other francophone country) during their third year. This is the most popular option amongst Warwick students, since the posts are reasonably well-paid and they enable you to become integrated into a French-speaking community fairly quickly. Some of our students have chosen to go to countries other than France using this scheme, for example to Canada (Québec) or to the Indian-Ocean island of Réunion.
Studying at university
The department also has ERASMUS exchange programmes with several French universities and it is therefore possible to spend your year abroad as a full-time student at one of these universities, following courses alongside native French students together with other visiting students. We currently have exchanges with the universities of Caen, Dijon, Nanterre, the Sorbonne, Grenoble, the Institut Supérieur de Traducteurs et Interprètes in Brussels and the Université Antilles-Guyane on the French Caribbean island of Martinique. One of our students recently made the UK Erasmus student of the year final.
It is also possible to arrange an alternative work or study placement, either in France or in a French-speaking country, subject to approval by the School. In recent years, we have had students who have worked in France doing a wide range of jobs, subtitling French television programmes in English. For instance, working in a French bank or with a private company, in the Opera House in Paris, in an EU institution in Brussels or Strasbourg, or have done charity work in francophone Africa. Other students have arranged to study French at the Institut Britannique in Paris and at the École du Louvre, one of France's best-known schools of fine art.
During the year abroad
Whichever option you choose, during the year abroad you will continue to have a Personal Tutor at Warwick, and you will undertake academic work for the School, which is designed to prepare you for the final-year work you will do in spoken and written French language. You are also encouraged to read as widely as possible in order to prepare for final-year option modules.
In addition to the year abroad, all students are encouraged to spend further time abroad during vacations. The School is able to offer advice and information about the ways in which this can be done (paid work, voluntary work, language courses, etc.). Students usually find vacation residence to be a particularly rewarding way of 'trying out' living in France as it allows them to be immersed in French culture and the French way of life as well as gain extra confidence in the language.
If you are an international student, you may not be eligible for the assistantship scheme or the ERASMUS exchange programme. You will, however, be able to study at a French university of your choice or find work. Please contact the School if you have any queries about this.