Institute for Field Education

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Gateway Program in Detail

Applied French Practicum.

This third program element provides students the opportunity to improve by applying French beyond the classroom. For the Practicum, students choose from three activity plans to form an individualized learning experience.

A. Students choose a type of field experience:

  • conversational internship.
  • volunteer work + research on a subject of French society or culture.
  • research on a topic of current events including interviews, meetings, informational visits to relevant sites.

B. All students participate in a language workshop which includes several facets:

  • the workshop itself meeting once a week for an hour and a half, covering phonetics, conversation on various topics, oral expression, and also focuses on French methodology for writing a report;
  • periodic training sessions to boost oral expression and confidence led by a theater professional trained in techniques for this purpose;
  • individual advising on the planning, research and writing of the written component associated with each activity plan (more...).

The Activity Plan Options

I. Conversational internship
Oral Component: This activity plan consists primarily of a part-time internship, taking place four half-days per week (a total of sixteen hours spent at the workplace). Placement for this type of internship focuses on dynamic, interactive places, such as not-for-profit social organizations, public schools, cultural centers, NGOs to name a few. Students will be placed broadly in their area of interest, but the placement strategy focuses on host organizations where student-interns will have ample opportunity for interaction.
Written Component: The conversational internship is completed by each student writing an internship report, working with their IFE advisor.

II. Volunteer work + research on a subject of French society or culture
Oral component: In this activity plan, conversational opportunities are provided by a part-time volunteer placement with a social organization. Students also pursue research on some aspect of French society or culture of interest to the student and related to their volunteer work. The research plan includes conducting interviews and attending events, as well as documentary research. For example, a student might by volunteering with a cultural center become interested in the role of culture in peoples’ lives in Paris and France.
Written Component: Students produce a research report, written with the help of their IFE advisor (who is also instrumental in establishing the research plan).

III. Research on a topic of current events
Oral Component: In this activity plan, students work with an IFE advisor to define a topic based on a current issue in French society. They establish a research plan involving a number of interviews, surveys, visits to and contact with related organizations, etc. (Example: Paris after recent attacks and the government’s public security policy in the light of civil rights.) Students attend meetings and events related to their topic, conduct regular reviews of news media, as well as carrying out documentary research. The student’s base for work is the IFE Paris Center (a lively Francophone environment) when not in the field or working at a library or archives.
Written Component: Students produce an independent field study research paper with the help of their advisor.

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