Course Description

Course Name

France: How Does it Work?

Session: VPRS1322

Hours & Credits

42 Contact Hours

Prerequisites & Language Level

Note: A placement exam will be required when you arrive on site.

High Advanced

  • Prior to enrolling in courses at this language level, students must have completed or tested out of a minimum of five semesters (or eight quarters) at the college level.


  • Prior to enrolling in courses at this language level, students must have completed or tested out of a minimum of four semesters (or six quarters) at the college level.


"From daily life to the political life, everything you would want to know"

Objective: To discover how life in France operates, by visiting essential functionalities of the country; for example, a courtroom or the Senate.

-From the large political institutions to the various administrations, who does what?
-To be born, live and die in France: the population, French territory, the national budget, political life, work, pastimes, health, education, culture, transportation, etc.

-Written papers: based on field trips, or as commentary to a text; weekly review of course material
-A comparative oral presentation: "How do things function here and in my own country: What are the differences and similarities?" (For example: the education system).
-Comprehensive final exam

(Attendance on the field trips and in the classroom is required; participation factors into the student's grade)

Style of Instruction and Resources:
-Most class periods will center on a visit, or a film/documentary, that illustrates the chosen topic, for example: the town hall.
-Students will review explanatory tables and will be presented with government documents.
-Role playing may be utilized to reinforce certain notions acquired during the visits.

Tentative Weekly Schedule:

Session 1: Presentation of France: The territory; Administrative division; The stages of history.
Session 2: Health: health professions; Social Security and mutuals; prevention.
Session 3: Education and the organization of education: cycles; training ; the diplomas
Session 4: Work: Sectors of Activity; trade unions ; public service ; unemployment
Session 5: Leisure and cultural life: leisure activities; tourism ; The defense of heritage
Session 6: Political France (1): the institutions; powers
Session 7: Political France (2): political parties; the elections
Session 8: France Politics (concluded): A sitting in the Senate
Session 9: Immigration: Historical; Policies; integration
Session 10: Partial Testing + Transport: Automotive; National and local networks; The example of the RATP
Session 11: Justice: litigation, misdemeanors and crimes; The various courts: a sitting in the courthouse.
Session 12: The budget: revenues: taxes; Expenditure: the various budget items
Session 13: Final Test
Session 14: Summary Report: Role Play

*Course content subject to change