Sweet Briar College JYF in Paris

Orientation, Advising and Support

The JYF in Paris program gives students the tools for a deeper understanding of French culture and education system through our intensive orientation and ongoing support to ensure students’ academic success.

Orientation Course

The semester begins in Paris with an in-depth orientation to the city and the French university system to help prepare students for life in the city and as students in France. The two-week fall orientation includes intensive and practical training in French composition, grammar, translation and conversation as well as cultural activities and excursions to visit museums and historical landmarks in Paris and the Loire valley. A recommendation of one unit of credit is made (equivalent to 3 semester credits) for those who successfully complete the intensive orientation session in the fall (Students are responsible for verifying their home school’s policy on credit for the orientation). Spring semester orientation is one week, due to the earlier start of the university of Paris, and no credit is offered for this orientation session.

Training on French methodology is a very important part of JYF’s orientation. Students will need to understand the structure, lexicon, rules and expectations of the French university system and learn how to navigate it.

Orientation is also a time for the JYF group of students to get to know each other as well as to discuss safety issues, take care of administrative requirements and adjust to their “new home”.

Individualized Advising

From application through the end of their time in Paris, students receive individual advising from the JYF in Paris staff on matters academic, housing, extracurricular and other needs.  During orientation, the Program Director works closely with each student on course selections, enrollment and other academic matters.

Academic tutorials

Academic support is provided by tutorats led by specialists in their field for designated courses in literature, art history, history, political science, international relations and economics. For other subjects, JYF will, in most cases, provide a tutor as needed. These tutorials provide students with an opportunity to discuss course-related questions, clarify assignments, get feedback on their work and address problems they may be encountering in their classes.

Ongoing Student Support

Starting during the application process, JYF staff are available to support students as needed with academic, health, or personal matters throughout their time in Paris and after their return home.

Emphasis on Language and Cultural Learning

Sweet Briar College – JYF in Paris has always placed great emphasis on students’ language and cultural learning during their stay in Paris. JYF is committed to helping students develop their linguistic and intercultural competency.  JYF assists students in getting the most out of their study abroad experience through facilitating immersion, creating opportunities and guiding students through thoughtful and meaningful reflections and discussions. The rest is up to the student!

Language competency:
Students often cite language proficiency as one of their main goals for coming to Paris and for choosing the JYF program. This requires practice.  Students are encouraged to speak French as often as possible especially at the JYF center or in the presence of French speaking people and to interact on a regular basis with their host family and seek out opportunities to encounter French speakers. While this may prove difficult or seem artificial at times, the rewards are well worth the effort.

Upon arrival JYF students undergo a baseline language assessment and again with the Test de connaissance du français (TCF) to gauge their French level at the close of their program.  The results of such a test are useful for personal, academic and professional reasons: to measure your own personal achievement, to demonstrate the French level required to attend a French university or to illustrate your language proficiency level to a potential employer after graduation.

Intercultural competency:
Just as with language ability, research has shown that intercultural skills essential in today’s global society do not necessarily develop simply by virtue of living in another culture. JYF seeks to help students to deepen and maximize their cross-cultural experiences by gently pushing students out of their comfort zone. JYF identifies local groups and activities to facilitate engagement, encourages exploration of the local community and challenges students to discover a newly developed self-confidence. However, learning from their experiences also requires active reflection on students’ part. During their semester in Paris, JYF’s reflective assignment encourages students to reflect on a facet of their experience and express themselves in French. The resulting students’ reflections are posted on Le Blog through the semester.

After 10 months in France …, I can say with confidence that I learned a new language. I can write, read, and have an intelligent discussion with someone. Learning a language is a priceless skill.
Esteban Bachelet (Kenyon College)