Summer in Tours: FAQ

The Application Process

A: Any student currently enrolled in an accredited U.S. college or university, and with some previous formal exposure to the French language (even only in High School). A cumulative G.P.A. of at least 2.7 is strongly recommended.

A: No. There is no cut-off level in terms of proficiency, as long as you are not a “full beginner”: one year in High-School, one semester in college, or a 36-hour session form a private language institute (Inlingua, Berlitz) is a minimum.

A: You may be. In this case, we would need one of your referees to be a French language professional who can testify that you are not, in fact, a “full beginner” in French.

A: The number of applicants may exceed the limited number of spaces (for logistical reasons, having more than 20 students in Tours is not manageable at this point). Therefore, while you may meet the requirements, there is always a chance that you will not be accepted; naturally, the number of qualified applicants has a direct bearing on this probability.

A: Beyond the minimum requirements (2.7 G.P.A., previous formal exposure to French), we prioritize, in descending order: 1) good academic standing (not being on academic probation), 2) motivation as demonstrated in your statement of purpose, 3) seriousness of purpose and character as described in reference letters. Special consideration may also be given to Georgetown juniors who cannot go study abroad for documented reasons, Georgetown students who have applied for study abroad and have been given a conditional answer, and generally all those who have a compelling reason to attend the Tours program.

A: 1) Make sure that your application file is complete, and delivered to the OGE office by the stated deadline 2) Take time to carefully compose your statement of purpose, explaining as specifically as possible why you want to (or need to) enroll in this program (not just “go abroad” or “go to France”). Try and get letters from referees who can write cogently about your seriousness of purpose, your maturity and motivation.

A: Ideally, one of these letters should be from a teacher who can vouch for your qualities as a language student (preferably but not necessarily in French): seriousness, motivation, hard work, etc. The other can be from any academic professional (professor, instructor, dean, coach) who can vouch for your character, maturity, self-reliance, etc. Alternatively, you may submit a character reference from an adult in a position of authority with whom you have worked or studied, who has mentored or supervised you (employer, priest, pastor, supervisor). Do not submit recommendations from relatives, friends or peers.

A: Yes, but it is limited. Each year, the French Department’s E. Joseph McCarthy Fund awards a limited number of scholarships. There is a separate application process, and scholarships are given away on a first-come first served basis. See details on the French Department’s web pages here. There are also scholarship opportunities through Georgetown’s Office of Global Education and outside sources such as the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program and The Corp’s Hoya Snaxa Scholarship.

A: No—program orientation will take place in April. No further activities will require your presence on campus between the end of classes and the start of the program in Tours.

A: FREN 119 and either FREN 222, 223, 224 or 282, depending on previous coursework. See the chart here.

The Program

A: Six weeks: about 2 continuous weeks for the initial Cultural Immersion Workshop (CIW) followed by 4 weeks of courses at the Institut de Touraine.

A: Students typically have weekends off and are encouraged to explore the city of Tours and its surroundings.

A: No. You make your own travel arrangements. We provide detailed suggestions on how to get to Tours, however. (A Practical Guide is made available to all who enroll.)

A: Everyone is required to arrive in Tours on the Wednesday when the program before 5pm as there will be a mandatory orientation meeting at 7:00pm that night followed by dinner.

A: If you want to arrive earlier, you will have to contact the hotel and book a room on your own (if one is available). They may redirect you to a comparable hotel nearby if they are completely booked.

A: Yes, all activities are mandatory, because they are, in fact, part of the curriculum and your participation is reflected in your grade.

A: Unfortunately, visiting families and friends may not come along for program activities, mostly for logistical reasons, but also because these activities are part of the curriculum (and because your friends or relatives would all have to speak French).

A: You should not (plan to) leave before the program is officially over, that is until the day when the last class at the Institut is held. In some exceptional cases—and only by arrangement with your Institut teacher(s)—you may arrange to leave earlier. If you leave early, it is your responsibility to make sure that all of your coursework (papers, tests, etc.) is completed to your teachers’ satisfaction (any missing coursework will of course affect your grade). The GU program director will not intervene in this process.

A: If you wish to stay in Tours after the end of the program you might be able to arrange with your host family to stay with them for an extra day or two, although we cannot guarantee that they will agree to it, and they are not contractually bound to host you after the program is officially over.

A: Courses at the Institut officially end at noon on the last Friday of the program dates. Students may plan on leaving Tours that day at any time after 12pm.

If you wish to fly out of France and directly back to the U.S. that day, however, you should take into account that getting to Paris CDG airport will take one hour and a half by TGV from Tours, and that international flights require registration at least 2 hours prior to departure. Therefore, supposing that there is a Train leaving at 12:30 pm, and supposing that you take 30 minutes to get to the train station in Tours / St Pierre des Corps, you should book a flight leaving Paris no earlier than 4:30 p.m. (30 min + 90 min + 30 min to get to the registration counter + 2 hrs before departing). I would advise a 5:00 or 5:30 take off to leave ample room for unexpected delays. All of this depends on available trains, which may not run at convenient times.

Alternatively, students may elect to spend the night of Friday with their host family, and leave Tours on Saturday.

A: For logistical reasons, this program cannot accommodate multiple course choices. All students take the Cultural Integration Workshop (FREN 119), then are placed in one of several levels at the Institut based on their proficiency level at the time.

A: Assuming satisfactory completion of the program, each student will be award six credits. For students currently enrolled in a lower-division French language program, they will receive credit up to the Advanced II (FREN 102 or FREN 112) level. Students arriving in Tours who have already completed the Advanced French sequence may receive credit for FREN 151, FREN 250, and other possibilities, depending on a number of factors. Prior to the start of the program, each student will receive a personal letter from the Program Director detailing exactly how his or her credits will be applied to their degree.

Miscellaneous

A: Of course! Students should indicate any dietary restrictions on their OGE health form as well as communicate them directly to the Program Director. Our Housing Coordinators in Tours and Paris will then do their best to place each student in an appropriate home.

A: Oui! With the exception of the on-site orientation at the very start of the program, all program activities will be conducted in French. Students will sign a Language Pledge in which they agree to speak French at all times (even amongst one another when no professors are present). While this may seem daunting at first, it is the only way to improve your level of French and ensure that you leave France having made as much progress as possible.  

A: Yes. Students are free to travel as they like as long as they are present in Tours and Paris for all official program events and their classes AND as long as they provide the Program Director with a detailed travel itinerary in case of an emergency.

A: Most likely, no (unless you already subscribe to an international calling plan). Upon arrival in Tours students are strongly encouraged to purchase a prepaid SIM card for their phone, which provides them with a French cell phone number and an easy way to communicate with their host family, the Program Director, and their local friends. All students must have a way in which the Program Director can reach them via phone (in case of emergencies). SIM cards in France are rather cheap and typically cost no more than 20 – 25 euros.

A: The program fee covers tuition for six credits, room and board at the hotel (for the first two nights) and with the host family (for the remainder of the program), meals (breakfast and dinner daily in Tours; daily breakfast, three dinners per week and daily lunch at the CCIP in Paris), academic fees, international health insurance, and all official program field trips, activities, and excursions. The program fee does NOT include transportation to and from France, passport or visa fees, any additional meals, or individually organized activities or excursions.

A: Depending on your nationality, you may be required to obtain a short-stay visa to live/study in France for these six weeks. It is the student’s responsibility to verify with the French Embassy as to whether or not a Visa is necessary AND to obtain said visa before departure.