This course is designed to help students develop a thorough understanding of French culture through observation, discussion and research. Students’ experiences in daily life will serve as point of entry to analyzing complex themes such as social codes, habits, media and history. Each theme is studied in regards to the five fundamental linguistic skills: reading, writing, listening, speaking and intercultural communication. The focus is put on motivation, creativity, and group work: presentation of a book or film, ideas to become better acquainted with Paris, investigating and reporting, etc.Research has demonstrated that study abroad can enhance every aspect of language ability. One of the most important general findings of this research is, however, that study abroad is most beneficial for the development of abilities related to social interaction. Students who go abroad are able to learn how to produce language in a variety of situations, such as the making of requests, the use of compliments and apologies, and they also may develop skills to interpret such interactions within the local cultural context…In short, study abroad has been show to enhance the aspects of communicative competence that are most difficult to foster in classroom settings (IES Abroad MAP for Language and Intercultural Communication, p. 6).
Students who enter this course will have mastered most of the outcomes of the Independent Abroad level as defined by the IES Abroad MAP for Language and Intercultural Communication. Among other characteristics, these students are able to converse at a rate of speed approaching normal conversation. They are creative, spontaneous, and self-reliant as they solve problems, interpret texts, negotiate, and express their opinions, likes, and dislikes in the culture. Although they still make errors and experience communication breakdowns, these students tend to resolve these challenges on their own. Students who enter this level can already understand a variety of colloquial expressions and slang.Students entering this level can succeed in a range of moderately complex university courses designed for native speakers. Before registering, they should consult with the appropriate IES Abroad academic advisor on course selection.By the end of this course, students will have started to acquire the subtlety of expression and control of complex structures that characterize Competent Abroad learners. However, Emerging Competent Abroad learners have only partial mastery of these structures and quite often resort to simpler and more direct modes of expression, particularly when negotiating linguistically difficult or unfamiliar situations. Students at this level begin to understand some local cultural attitudes, values, beliefs, and behavior patterns. However, there will be numerous gaps and inconsistencies in their knowledge, and they lack the depth of understanding and sophistication of those who have spent more time living and working in the local context.