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Next-Level Immersion: Living and Learning in Toulouse, France

click on this photo to access a video about the Dickinson in France program.

click on this photo to access a video about the Dickinson in France program.

video by Joe O'Neill

Students share study-abroad experiences in quintessential college city

When most travelers think about France, they think about world-famous landmarks in Paris. But to truly experience French culture and all that it offers, you must venture off the well-beaten path. 

The Dickinson-in-France study-abroad program brings students into the heart of Toulouse, France’s second-largest university city. Students stay with a French family, take classes at a local university and get involved with the local community. 

“This program is all about taking your French background, as a student, to a new level of immersion—and really living the life of a French student in Toulouse,” says Julia Carnine, resident director of Dickinson-in-France. “Coming to this program is going to bring you into being a real French speaker—not just someone who studies French in a classroom.”

The key to the program is Dickinson’s Toulouse Center, located in the heart of the city. The center is staffed by Dickinson professionals who orient the students to their environment, provide a meeting place for Dickinsonians studying in France, and help students fully engage in the French way of life through off-the-beaten-path excursions and other learning opportunities.

Dickinson staff—on campus and abroad—make the application and Visa process easy, says Tatum Jones '24 (international business & management, French & francophone studies). Meals with a host family help sharpen language skills, adds Malin Alusic-Bingham ’24 (law & policy), who’s picked up insider’s tips on Toulouse from her hosts. Also important: Students can ensure that the classes they take will apply to their major, notes Ellie Parker ’24, whose French accounting class applies to her major in international business & management.

The college’s volunteer-hours requirement deepens the experience. One program participant even got involved with French improv while abroad. Thanks to Dickinson connections in the local community, he fulfilled his study-abroad volunteer hours while providing music for an improv theater in Toulouse.

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Published November 14, 2023