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Off-Campus Study

ISEP at Université de Caen - Language & Culture Program (French)

Caen is a growing city famed for its two Roman abbeys and its 11th-century castle which houses a museum. Normandy’s beaches and monuments make it an enjoyable area to visit. Paris is about two hours away by train.

The campus of Université de Caen is walking distance from the old city, where students can enjoy quaint streets with shops and cafes. Students actually walk through a moat and castle from the old city to reach the main quad. Université de Caen’s campus has a very open and “U.S. campus” feel. The original campus was destroyed during World War II. A new campus was rebuilt, giving Université de Caen a more modern feel. 

Students can enjoy multiple student restaurants on campus where meals cost around three euros. There is a student union on campus as well with a coffee shop where students often gather. The campus also has an excellent gym with workout facilities and a lap pool that students can enjoy for a small fee. It’s very easy to get involved in student life at Université de Caen. Students should take advantage of the many student associations and club sports! 

 

Located in the Normandy region not far from the D-Day beaches and the English Channel, the Université de Caen offers courses for a full immersion experience or French language and culture courses for international students at the Département de Formations en Langues. Students studying in Caen for a full-year with a high level of French have the opportunity to teach English in local middle or high schools.

The French language learning program would be suitable for a student that needed a little more hand-holding, but the direct-enrollment program is best for a student that is independent.  A student must be comfortable with advocating for themselves on campus and comfortable with the local language to thrive in this location. Student services and especially class registration may not be at all similar to what is done at the College and may be difficult for some students to adjust.

Learn more about Université de Caen here! Read the ISEP Country Handbook to learn more about visa requirements, educational system, and culture.

Program Type

Exchange

Locations

Caen, France

Languages of Instruction

French - 1-2 semesters of college level French or 4 semesters of high school French may be approved

Program Dates

Fall 2018: September to January

Spring 2019: January to June

All dates are tentative and may change.  ISEP will alert all accepted students of final dates.

Eligibility

To be eligible to participate in this program, students must meet the following requirements:

  • Good academic and judicial standing during time of application AND time of participation in program
  • Undergraduates must have completed at least two semesters of study at Lake Forest College AND have junior status or higher before participation. 
  • At least 18 years of age by the program’s departure date. 
  • Be able to stay at the host program for the duration of the semester, including through the exam and travel periods
  • Minimum GPA of 2.75.  
  • ISEP-Exchange- Full Year or Semester enrollment in the Département Formations en Langues - Language Requirements: A minimum of 1-2 semesters of university-level French or 4 semesters of high school French may be approved, must be completed prior to the program. 

 

Students applying to ISEP must apply for an Exchange option (in any country) as a first choice but may apply to a Direct option as a back-up.  Direct options may have an additional cost.


ISEP Exchange chance of placement for US students is generally Very Good.

Location

A growing city with a population of 200,000, Caen is famed for its two Roman abbeys and its 11th-century castle which houses a museum. Normandy’s beaches and monuments make it an enjoyable area to visit. Paris is about two hours away by train.

Academics

The Université de Caen offers an excellent French Language and Culture program to students at all French levels from the Département de Formations en Langues. Students attend French language, civilization, literature, and teaching methodology classes alongside non-native international French speakers. Courses are tailored to fit the students’ language levels and are fully immersive. Upper-level French students can take one or two regular university courses in French along with their Language & Culture courses. All students must take French language exam to determine their French language level on arrival. 

Students typically spend 20 hours in class per week. A term runs for 13 weeks.  Lake Forest must take 30 ECTS credits to earn the equivalent of 4 Lake Forest credits.

Program Website

Course Description

For a list of program descriptions by language level, please click on the following links: 

DUEF A1
DUEF A2
DUEF B1
DUEF B1+
DUEF B2
DUEF C1
DUEF C2

Website for Course Availability

 

STUDYING AT A FRENCH UNIVERSITY

French universities operate in ways that are quite different from the system with which you are familiar. Understanding the differences will help you plan your program of study in France, use your time effectively while you are there and return with transferable credits. French students follow a highly structured curriculum specific to the degree they are pursuing from day one at the university. They do not take “liberal arts” or general education requirements for 2 years before focusing on a major or area of study as most U.S. students do. 

Your Responsibility as a Student
In general, French students have to assume more responsibility for their own lives on campus than American students. They do not have as many campus support systems as American students, and they too may experience frustration when they first begin their studies! The amount of information you receive before you leave and during the first days or weeks of your stay abroad may seem overwhelming. However, if you review the material sent to you by ISEP and your host institution carefully, you will be ready to meet the challenges of adjusting to a different system and find your coordinator and professors more willing to help you than if you had not prepared yourself.

French professors are not as accessible as their American counterparts. Increasingly, however, professors do have office hours or may be available if you make an appointment. They will also be willing to answer questions and discuss problems before or immediately after class. It would be a good idea to introduce yourself to the professor at the beginning of the year, explaining that you are an international student. Do ask other students in class for advice or assistance if you do not understand something.

Please understand that the academic system is quite different. Classes are usually lecture-based, instead of discussion or group work. Classes are often much larger than those found at Lake Forest College. Grades are based heavily, at times almost entirely, on one end-of-term exam, though some courses will also offer a midterm.  Professors are often more formal than those in the United States.

All courses/modules may have prerequisites.  Some departments may have limitations on numbers of courses that can be taken within or outside it.  Be aware of these limitations.

See the country’s handbook for more information.

 

ISEP Placement info: http://www.isep.org/Coordinators/us_placement_notes_english.asp

 

REGISTRATION AND COURSE SELECTION

Registration (inscription) is the process of enrollment into the university; you will fill out many forms and hand in several passport-size photos in order to receive the various university cards signifying your enrollment.

Course Selection: 
As an exchange student, you have greater flexibility in choosing courses than French students do. You do not need to take a complete package of courses at one level. However, if you focus on courses in one or two departments, you will find it easier to put together a schedule, your program of studies will be more cohesive, and you will have a better chance of getting to know French students because you will be seeing the same group on a regular basis.

Selection of courses is done during registration. You should expect to have to go to each building that houses the faculté (department) of the course you wish to take, find the administrative office, ask for a course listing and sign up for the desired course. Students should be aware that the registration process can take several days. French universities are not as “service-oriented” as those in the United States and there are many students for few administrators. Ask questions of your ISEP host coordinator if you have trouble registering. Also, the add-drop process is very informal. You may want to observe several classes before making your final selection and to make sure that you will be able to follow the course and fulfill all course requirements. Remember to consult about any changes in your course selections with your host and home coordinators and advisors. Be sure to keep track of your courses, including course titles, hours, professors, and assignments for after your exchange. In all cases, you must verify all of your course information with your host coordinator to ensure that you have enrolled properly.

The actual number of hours in a class varies according to the department or subject and the amount of work expected of students outside of class. Courses usually meet 1-2 hours each week, meaning you will probably be taking a higher number of courses than at home. Most current ISEP students in France are taking 12-15 units per semester.


EXAMS AND GRADING

Student performance is assessed in two ways:

  • Short quizzes given throughout the semester allow instructors to check what their students have learned in each unit.
  • Examinations covering all of the material presented during the semester are given at the end of each semester, generally just before the February break and again in June, before the summer break.

The atmosphere at a French university may seem low-pressure, but be on your guard. Even if a class does not require regular assignments, you must keep up with the reading and attend classes. Final examinations are given at the end of each course. ISEP students should check with professors to determine when the exam will be given as most professors do not provide a syllabus at the beginning of a course. As a foreign student, you may not be required to take the final exam. You may be able to substitute written assignments for the exam. Check with the professor to find out whether you are expected to take the exam in order to get a grade (in many instances, the exam might be the only evidence that you have taken the class) or whether you can substitute other assignments. Taking a final does not automatically entitle you to a grade since you must pass your exams to receive a grade. Also, make sure to register for the exam in addition to taking it.

If you make any special arrangements with a professor, obtain the agreement in writing signed by both you and the professor. Provide a copy of the agreement to both your home and host ISEP coordinators and keep a copy for yourself. Without an agreement in writing, it is expected that you will take all final exams. Credit transfer is not guaranteed if you fail to take exams or provide written proof of other arrangements.

 

Course Approvals

Check to see if your department has pre-approved courses here. If not, don’t worry. You can work with your advisor.

 

Student Life

Founded in 1432, the Université de Caen enrolls 24,000 students including about 2,000 foreign students from 50 countries. 

 

ORIENTATION

The Service Relations Internationales and the ISEP Coordinator will welcome students to the University upon arrival. Staff will assist students with registration and a choice of courses. Students will visit the campus and will be designated a professor/advisor for academic assistance. 

ARRIVAL DETAILS 
Airport pickup may be possible for an additional fee.

Housing and Meals

ISEP students live in residence halls on campus, in single-occupancy rooms and receive a stipend for meals. 

Financial Information

For all approved programs for guaranteed financial aid transferability, students pay their Lake Forest College tuition plus a program fee. The program fee for a semester with the ISEP Exchange to the University of Caen includes orientation, on-site director, college fees, housing, and a stipend to cover the equivalent of 19/meals per week.

 

Here is an estimated budget for the Fall 2017/Spring 2018 semester:

Budget Item

Amount

Lake Forest College Tuition

$22,412

Program fee (estimated)

Note: Spring may have added cost

 

$5,100

College Deposit (credit)

($250)

Total Expected Billed by Lake Forest College

$27,512

ISEP Fee Deposit due on Stage 2 Application

 

 $325

College Deposit due on Acceptance (non-refundable, but shows as credit on bill for off-campus term)

 $250

ISEP-required health and repatriation insurance ($90/mo estimated)

Note: Some countries require national insurance. Check ISEP

 $360

Additional Meals

 $600

Estimated Airfare

 $1,300

Estimated Personal Expenses (passport, visas, immunizations, textbooks, supplies, personal expenses, additional national insurance, if required, travel insurance, additional travel etc.)

 $1,100

Total Out-of-Pocket Expenses

 $3,935

Total

 

$31,447 

 

Tuition rates and program fees are subject to change each year, but this information was up-to-date as of February 2017.  We will notify applicants, and update this page if the program fee or other estimates change.

Keep in mind that you may spend more or less in certain areas like personal expenses, travel, meals, or airfare, depending on exchange rates and your own spending habits. Classroom or lab fees are not included in this estimate and will depend on your course registration choices.  

Don’t forget to apply for scholarships! A great listing can be found here.  

Do check your student account on My.Lakeforest for your aid awards, as much of this will go with you. If you want to compare your program to the cost of being on campus, those numbers can be found here: https://www.lakeforest.edu/admissions/tuition/fees.php

You can discuss with Financial Aid your specific aid package and your expected family contribution.