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Learning Abroad

Learn about Allison's experience in Montpellier and Feven's experience in Dakar, as well as other students' experiences in Montpellier and Dakar.

Study, work, internships, or volunteer experiences abroad can greatly enrich a major or minor in French studies, Italian studies, and French & Italian studies. In a French- or Italian-speaking country, you will be surrounded by the language at all times and will absorb far more than you can in the Twin Cities alone. Many students report that their learning abroad program is the highlight of their college career.

The University of Minnesota runs outstanding programs in Montpellier, FranceBologna, Italy; and Dakar, Senegal. We urge you to take advantage of one or more of the hundreds of opportunities available worldwide, including opportunities in Europe, Africa, and Canada.

Visit the department's LAC pages for French studies and Italian studies.


The Department of French & Italian provides academic advising to help students select programs and courses abroad in French or Italian studies, to understand how learning abroad fits into a major or minor program, and to plan the courses that they will take upon their return to campus. Students hoping to study abroad should see both a departmental advisor and an advisor in the Learning Abroad Center. Practical advising—including questions such as financial aid, application forms and deadlines, living arrangements, and so on—is provided by the Learning Abroad Center. Students should also consult with the academic advisor assigned to them in their college concerning their progress toward graduation.

Students must meet with an advisor in their department during the semester prior to their departure. No advising is available during the summer. All students hoping to count coursework abroad toward another major or minor must meet with an advisor in that department prior to departure.

Departmental advisors for study abroad include:

  • French studies majors, minors, and certificate students: Trina Whitaker (contact
  • Italian studies majors and minors: Susan Noakes
  • French & Italian studies majors: choose the appropriate departmental advisor listed above for the language/culture they will be studying abroad.

We usually suggest that majors and minors study abroad after completing 1003, 1004, or 3015. This schedule will allow you to move through the intermediate/advanced levels of language learning rapidly while surrounded by native speakers, take some integrated courses abroad (if you have already completed 1004 or 3015 on campus), and then return to campus with time left to benefit from FREN 3101W (for students in French studies) and some of our most advanced electives in linguistics, literature, or culture.

Majors should seriously consider studying abroad for a full academic year. Programs during the academic year will allow you to make more progress in language proficiency and cultural understanding than summer programs. 

Some students assume that they cannot fit a long-term study abroad program into their schedule because of requirements for other majors/minors. However, if you enroll in an integrated program (i.e., one that requires you to take courses at a local university), then you can often complete courses that count toward other majors and minors you may have or toward liberal education requirements. In other words, a course in “Modern History of France” will count toward a French major/minor, but may also count toward one in history. All students hoping to count coursework abroad toward another major or minor must meet with an advisor in that department prior to departure.


Students can apply for a number of scholarships through the Learning Abroad Center, which provides advising relative to costs and financial aid.

Each year, the Department of French & Italian also provides a small number of scholarships. The competition takes place during spring semester, and information on scholarship criteria, amounts, and the application process will be posted here at that time. Since there is only one competition per year, students planning to study abroad during spring semester should plan to apply for departmental scholarships during the preceding spring semester.