Take your French studies to Nantes where you’ll have the opportunity to immerse in local culture and practice your language skills. Nantes is the perfect location for language studies as you will not hear much English and it does not have a tourism feel, but an authentic French feel. Students will live with a host family for a majority of time in Nantes. This program is designed for students who have completed Beginning French 2 or higher. The program offers a variety of courses including: Intermediate French language, Media Studies, Cinema, Advanced Grammar/Stylistics and Art History. Students on the six-week program will choose two courses for a total of six credits. Courses will be taught in French at an appropriate level for you.
You will start your journey in Paris, where for four days, you will immerse in French culture, cuisine, and history in the capital city of France. You will then travel by train to Nantes for the remainder of your program. In addition to class time, you will have additional cultural programming that complements the academic work. There will be several activities around Nantes and also two full-day excursions to the Loire Valley and Mont St. Michel.
As an engaged and active participant in this program, you will have the opportunity to develop:
- French language skills that will enable you to interact with native speakers
- Language comprehension, speaking and writing skills
- An understanding of the relationship between the United States and France
Students will spend the first few days of the program exploring Paris before heading to Nantes by train. Nantes, once a vital port city in the 19th century, Nantes is now the sixth largest city in France with a population of over 500,000 people and is a leader in technology and international industries. It was recently ranked one of the best cities in France for its quality of life. Situated at the mouth of the Loire River just 30 miles from the Atlantic Ocean and is only two hours by train from Paris and allows quick journeys to the capital and easy access to other destinations in Europe. Rich in tradition, yet unspoiled by tourism, Nantes offers a quintessential image of French society. English is rarely heard in the street which is perfect for you and your classmates to practice your French. You will spend the first few days of the program in Paris in the Montparnasse area of the city. Students will stay in double-occupancy hotel rooms.
Temperatures and precipitation vary based on the season. In May & June, the temperatures average 65-75 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and 45-55 degrees Fahrenheit at night. Temperatures cool off at night and there’s also always potential for rain. It is a good idea to pack a light, waterproof/resistant jacket.
While in Nantes, you will stay in homestays with French families. Host families live all over Nantes and you will have up to a 45 minute commute by bus or on foot to the IES Center where you will take your classes. You can expect the following at the homestay:
- A private room
- In order to facilitate immersion, only one student lives with each host family
Breakfast daily as well as five dinners each week
- Other meals will be at your own expense, so please budget accordingly
- The campus facility in Nantes is equipped with a full kitchen for preparing lunches.
- Wi-Fi at your homestay and at the IES Center
- Courses will be held at the local IES Center
We do our best to provide the most accurate information about housing and amenities but due to the nature of the locations in which we offer programs and limited availability, these items are subject to change. Contact your program manager with any questions.
You'll earn a total of 6 credits on the Pitt in Nantes program. You will have the opportunity to choose 2 courses from the six courses that will be offered. The Today’s French Cinema course and Advanced Grammar and Stylistics course are taught by guest faculty member Elisabeth Sauvage-Callaghan who has close ties to the University’s French and Italian department. The Media in French Culture and Intermediate French 1/Intermediate French 2 Combined Course are typically taught by a Teaching Assistant from Pitt’s French and Italian department. The Art History course is taught by a local French faculty member. The courses will be taught in French and will be comprised of lectures, guest speakers, city tours, and cultural activities. In these courses you will study:
- Intermediate level intensive French language
- Important historical, cultural and modern aspects of France
- Historic and modern relationship between the United States and France
If you are seeking to count these courses towards a major, minor or certificate, please meet with your academic advisor to discuss this program and what the courses will fulfill for you.
The “big screen,” as the French like to refer to cinema, can be viewed as a mirror of society, as it constantly contributes to reflecting and even shaping French identity, both collective and individual. In this course, we will focus on French films released since the year 2000 to examine how 21st century French cinema has dealt with important national concerns – such as race, immigration, the working world, political life, as well as feminist and LGBTQ issues. Students will be introduced to the basic concepts and vocabulary necessary to analyze films. We will examine how French films differ from Hollywood productions in their treatment of current social issues. We will also take a look at films that have drawn the largest French audiences in the past 17 years, and at what this tells us about French movie goers and the current state of cinema (think: French vs. Hollywood) in France.
This course focuses on the art and history of Nantes and will include visits to the Musée des Beaux Arts de Nantes, to the cathedral, and to the city's historic neighborhoods.The nineteenth century in France is a privileged period for artistic creation, particularly as regards pictorial art. From the beginning to the end of the century, major artists will the public, new approaches to the world, innovative practices sometimes of our contemporary era. The study of these artists and their works, necessarily involves taking into account the 3 large fields of influence on them, namely the artistic context, the economic, social and political context and the finally the family context and friendly. This program mainly focused on pictorial creation opens however on a more general approach to architecture in the nineteenth century, enriched by a visit to a monument historical Nantes (Passage Pommeraye) and on the study of the sculptor RODIN.
This course approaches the study of grammar as choices that speakers and writers make to express their meanings in various contexts. In this way, grammar is learned as a concept for meaning making, rather than as isolated rules for word and sentence formation. By approaching grammar in this fashion, students will improve their proficiency in French and will expand their language resources for communication. Students will write compositions/essays, will complete oral tasks, and give oral presentations that will lead them to use grammatical structures necessary to express themselves in various types of written and oral discourses. They will also be asked to reflect on, and analyze various grammatical forms in context to develop strategies for learning grammar from texts and interactions. Grammar will be taught within the context of language use, and this course will stress the importance of form and meaning connections in language and communication.
This intermediate language course builds on the skills acquired during the first year of study while further developing linguistic and sociolinguistic competence in French. Because the focus is on communication, the course is taught entirely in the target language. Course objectives for French 0103 are as follows: 1) speak French well enough to ask and answer questions in various situations beyond what is needed to simply "survive" in a francophone culture, i.e., the ability to talk about self and surroundings in some detail; 2) understand enough spoken French to grasp main ideas and some supporting details in short conversations related to topics above; 3) read well enough to understand principal themes and most details in simple literary and non-literary texts; 4) write longer and more cohesive paragraphs; 5) cultivate a deeper understanding of French-speaking cultures; 6) gain a better understanding of how French works as a language. Course taught in French
This course builds on the linguistic and sociolinguistic skills acquired in French 0103. The focus is on communication and instruction is entirely in the target language. Course objectives for French 0104 are as follows: 1) speak French well enough to ask and answer questions in various situations beyond what is needed to simply "get along" in a francophone culture, i.e., the ability to talk about self and surroundings with a bit of detail; 2) understand enough spoken French to grasp main ideas and some supporting details in short conversations related to topics above; 3) read well enough to understand principal themes and most details in simple literary and non-literary texts; 4) write longer and more cohesive paragraphs; 5) cultivate a deeper understanding of French-speaking cultures; 6) gain a better understanding of how French works as a language. Course taught in French
Media have always been part of society; in addition to older media such as cinema, television, the radio and the press, the last decade has witnessed the emergence of new media such as social networks and platforms. This course will focus on six different media, all prevalent in France and all with their own way of communicating information about French culture and society. Through each of these media, you will familiarize yourself with current French issues and you will learn to examine and discuss (hyper) contemporary content with authentic documents such as press articles, graphic novels, films or YouTube videos.
The University of Pittsburgh partners with IES Abroad on this program. Founded in 1950, IES Abroad is a not-for-profit study abroad service provider. IES Abroad has an academic center in the heart of the city center. IES maintains and staffs the center year-round. In addition to your faculty members, the IES Nantes staff is a resource for you. Whether it’s an academic issue, question with your housing or questions about independent travel, the IES Nantes staff is here for you. They offer support 24/7 for any emergency circumstance. You will commute to the center daily for your courses. Take a Virtual Tour of Nantes and the IES Nantes Center HERE
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Dr. Elisabeth Sauvage-Callaghan recently retired from Clarion University where she was an Associate Professor of French. She has directed the Pitt in Nantes Program since 2014, and is looking forward to directing it again. Dr. Sauvage-Callaghan’s goal is that her students become proficient in all four language skills (listening, speaking, reading, and writing) and, most of all, fall in love with the French language, the French people, and the francophone culture. Her research focuses on French popular culture.
Items Billed by Pitt
|Study Abroad Fee|
|Total Billed by Pitt||Coming soon!||Coming soon!|
Estimated Additional Out-of-Pocket Costs
|Meals and Personal Expenses||$1,000 - $1,500|
As a part of your Nantes program fee, the following are included in the program:
- Tuition for six credits
- Airport transfer upon arrival
- 4 days in Paris
- Train ticket from Paris to Nantes
- Accommodations with a host family for the duration of the program
- Day trip to Loire Valley. Here you will visit two chateaux
- Day Trip to Saint Malo and Mt. St. Michel: guided tours
- International travel health insurance for program duration
- Local transportation in Nantes
- Some meals with host family are included. Breakfast daily as well as five dinners each week are included
- You must have completed Beginning French 2 or higher by the program’s start date.
- Due to the nature of the program, the schedule is subject to change. There may be instances where a guest speaker or visit needs to be rescheduled. We ask for your patience and understanding in advance.
- Remember that this is an academic program and that you should expect to invest the same amount of time and effort on your courses abroad as you would on a course at Pitt.
- You are expected to speak in French a majority of the time during this program.
- There are required excursions and activities outside of normal scheduled classes.
- Independent travel cannot conflict with any scheduled or rescheduled events/activities