While classroom instruction significantly contributes to the acquisition of a second language, everyday, meaningful interaction with the target culture and people amounts to more effective learning. For this reason, the French major requires academic study, normally 8 credit hours for a summer program, 15-16 credit hours in a semester program, in a French-speaking country of the student’s choice. Students may choose to study for a semester or year abroad, or they may participate in a summer with approved programs that Wheaton does not offer.
The French section is, however, committed to providing students with the coursework and experiences needed to complete the major. Every other summer, groups of up to 20 students head off to France. In addition to a rigorous academic experience, students have the opportunity to visit many sites of historic and cultural importance in the company of Wheaton professors who help them process the material they are learning, all the while keeping issues of faith in the forefront.
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Led by a student with advanced skills, students meet in the cafeteria for casual conversation and language practice over dinner at least once a week. Any member of the campus community who is interested in using or improving language skills is welcome to join the group.
Internships, part-time jobs, volunteer and ministry opportunities
Both through direct communication and by way of the Center for Vocation and Career, the French Section is often made aware of internship or employment opportunities that require proficiency of varying degrees in French. A number of Wheaton students also find occasion to use their French skills in volunteer and ministry positions both in the area and in short-term trips out of the country, such as the annual Spring Break Honduras Trip.
The Language Learning Center
The Language Learning Center is a facility intended to provide the resources current language students, those studying on their own, faculty and staff need to pursue the study and improve of their language skills. It provides computers for writing projects, language specific software, a growing catalog of foreign language and language-related videos and DVDs, equipment for viewing them and audio equipment for listening to class-related materials. Its website also provides numerous language-related links.