During their study abroad experiences, many students choose to pursue opportunities in service learning. Service learning is integral to the IWU and French & Francophone Studies mission statements: using specialized knowledge of French, cultural competency and sensitivity, and a comprehensive worldview, service learning prepares students for citizenship and life in a global society.
Service learning courses offer academic credit for valuable volunteer experience. Coupled with a built-in classroom seminar that focuses on the theoretical background of social politics and social action, service learning gives students incredible linguistic exposure and cultural insight that is not possible in a typical course or even in a homestay environment. Former students have done everything from work with immigrés in a French NGO to assist in a museum, to develop activities for children in a hospital cancer ward, to work for a charity to collect food. The placement opportunities for service learning are endless, and your skills in English as well as your working knowledge of French are important assets.
Students may also explore internship possibilities, either during study abroad or in the US over the summer. Although typically such experiences do not carry academic credit, they can open doors for further job possibilities: you can set yourself apare as you build your résumé, developing your professional and personal skills in a hands-on environment. Summer internships in Chicago at French-affiliated business are possible, particularly for students who have already taken French 310 Business French.
"I volunteered at Caméléon, a French organization that builds and runs schools in the Philippines for women and children that have been abused. As the best English speaking worker at the organization, I spent a lot of time translating reports, presentations, newspaper articles written about the organization's events, and emails. Through the course I also visited many different NGOs, such as the international headquarters of Doctor's Without Borders, and I took part in a traditional couscous meal at a school in Paris for immigrants from Africa and the Middle East trying to learn to speak French."
- Megan Rogers '14