Your academic experience with French and Francophone Studies continues beyond the classroom through regular cocurricular programming. Study abroad, which offers the best opportunity to learn the language and experience the culture, is available and strongly encouraged. 

Study Abroad

Students are encouraged to enhance their French studies by participating in one of Holy Cross’ unique study abroad programs. With sites in Dijon and Strasbourg, France, as well as in Yaoundé, Cameroon, students have the opportunity to take courses at academic institutions of high repute while they increase fluency in the language and experience a French-speaking culture firsthand.

All students, and French majors and minors in particular, are encouraged to study abroad at one of Holy Cross study abroad sites. Study abroad in France or Cameroon is easiest for students in the humanities, social sciences and fine arts. Students in the sciences are still eligible and encouraged to go abroad, but will need to plan their coursework more carefully.

A GPA of at least 3.0 and French proficiency equivalent to the completion of Composition and Conversation (FREN 301) are required to study in France. Students who wish to study in France after completing only Intermediate French 2 (FREN 202) may do so, but will be required to take an additional French language course during their first semester abroad. Students who wish to study in Yaoudé must have completed at least two courses at the 300-level (including FREN 301) prior to leaving. Participation in Holy Cross Study Abroad programs qualifies for financial aid from the College.

Students who study in France spend the month of August in Tours, France where they undergo four weeks of intensive language study at the Institut de Touraine. Students may then opt to study for a full academic year in Dijon or Strasbourg, or choose to study for the fall semester only with the option to extend their stay for the full academic year. Students who choose Yaoundé typically spend the fall semester there, though a full academic year is also possible.

Dijon, France 

aerial photo of the central square of the historic heart of Dijon, France

An aerial photo of Place de la Libération, the central square of the historic heart of Dijon, shot by Jacob McDonald ’21.

Located in the Burgundy region of France, Dijon (best known internationally for its mustard!) is a medium-sized city with a large and vibrant university, Université de Bourgogne, and is only one hour from Paris by high-speed train (TGV). Its large student population of about 30,000 means that it abounds in restaurants, cafés, and cultural activities geared to students.

Courses available include French literature, linguistics, psychology, political science, history, art history, economics, classics, sociology and more. Holy Cross students who are also English majors may pursue studies in the English department there.

Strasbourg, France

Strasbourg is the capital of Alsace, the French region often referred to as the crossroads of Europe because of its proximity to Germany, Switzerland and Luxembourg. Strasbourg is also the seat of the European Parliament, an important political institution that makes the city an excellent choice for those interested in political science.

Students may enroll in a variety of courses at the Institute of Political Studies, at University of Strasbourg, or for courses in religious studies, at the Faculté de Théologie Catholique.

Yaoundé, Cameroon

Francophone African countries offer a stimulating environment for students in Africana Studies, International Studies, French, and History. Students will have the opportunity to learn about the historical legacy that has made Africa what it is today: from conquest and domination by European powers, to independence struggles, to political turmoil and the development of democratic institutions.

Holy Cross' program is a partnership with Middlebury College’s study abroad program in Yaoundé, Cameroon. Students will draw up an individual plan of study choosing courses in French, Francophone literature, economics, accounting, political science, law, sociology, anthropology, history, mathematics, religious studies, visual arts and more. Please note that students who wish to study in Yaoudé must have completed at least two courses at the 300-level (including FREN 301) prior to leaving.

For more information, contact our study abroad liaison Thibaut Schilt or visit the Study Abroad website.


Student achievements in French are rewarded by membership in the National French Honor Society, Pi Delta Phi, and by various prizes awarded at every level of instruction.

French Honor Society – Pi Delta Phi

Pi Delta Phi was founded at the University of California, Berkeley, in 1906. The purpose of this society is to recognize outstanding scholarship in French and Francophone studies, to increase the knowledge and appreciation of Americans for the cultural contributions of the French-speaking world, and to stimulate French and Francophone cultural activities.

Holy Cross students interested in joining the society must have taken courses beyond the intermediate level series and have a French GPA of 3.0. For more information, contact Jean Ouédraogo.

Bourgeois Prize 

Awarded each year to the student who writes the best French essay. For more information, contact Thibaut Schilt .

Shirley Verrett French Prize - In memory of Rev. Lionel P. Honoré, S.J. 

Awarded each year to the top French major in the graduating class as determined by the French faculty. For more information, contact Thibaut Schilt .

Edna Dwyer Grzebien Prize

Awarded to the student who demonstrates outstanding ability in two or more languages. For more information, contact the chair of the Department of World Languages, Literatures, and Cultures, Susan Amatangelo.

French and Francophone Studies Program Prize

Awarded each year to the top French minor in the graduating class as determined by the French faculty. For more information, contact Thibaut Schilt .

Concours des 10 mots 

Contest held every year at all levels of French language up to Composition and Conversation. Students are invited to write a story or a poem including 10 specific words. The best text at each level is awarded a prize by the French section.

Café Français

Foreign Language Assistants meet weekly with students of French for conversation and games over culinary specialties from Francophone countries. For more information, contact the French Foreign Language Assistants.

Celebration of Francophonie

Every year in March is the Mois de la Francophonie, a global celebration of the diversity of those who speak French. As part of this celebration, the French and Francophone Studies program organizes an annual event to acknowledge this dynamic and beautiful language and the international reach of those who speak it. Information on this annual event is made available at the beginning of the spring semester.

French Film Series

Movies in French (with English subtitles) are screened every three weeks, usually on Monday nights. Throughout the semester, students enrolled in French courses are required to attend a number of screenings.

French Cultural Event

Each fall, the French and Francophone Studies program organizes a cocurricular cultural event in French (a play, a poetry reading, a lecture) open to students of all levels. Information on this annual event is made available at the beginning of the fall semester.

Teacher Education Program

The Teacher Education Program (TEP) at Holy Cross prepares students for licensure in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Students majoring in biology, chemistry, classics, English, French, history, mathematics, physics, Spanish and visual arts are eligible to apply to the program. In addition to taking courses in the major, students enroll in education courses specifically designed to promote excellence in teaching.

The Holy Cross TEP places a special emphasis on issues surrounding urban education.

For more information, visit the Teacher Education Program site or contact Thibaut Schilt, the TEP coordinator for French.