In order to guarantee a successful, fully immersive experience for Villanova students spending a semester to a year at la Catho, the program offers one course, required for all students in the program, whose explicit purpose is to help them better understand, and reflect upon, their new living environment. Students will receive a Villanova letter grade for this course, which will impact the VU GPA.
The three-credit Villanova course, taught entirely in French, consists of the following components and requirements:
- a weekly seminar on intercultural communication, whose content will build upon, and prepare students for, the other components of the course
- Five interdisciplinary cultural seminars on Lille and the North of France organized thematically (introduction to Lille’s history and its cityscape, Lille and the textile industry, coal mining in the North of France, gastronomy, and art and culture)
- Five cultural excursions directly connected to each seminar (respectively : a guided tour of Lille’s center city, Vieux Lille, and Euralille; a visit of Roubaix and the Piscine de Roubaix; a visit of the Centre Historique Minier de Lewarde; and a visit of the Palais des Beaux-Arts de Lille)
- A weekly, 1-hour conversation with a French student
- Participation in a regular activity involving the Lille community. The range of activities can be very broad, including sports clubs, volunteering projects, weekly cooking lessons, danse lessons, book clubs, theatre groups, etc)
- One student-organized trip to a French city other than Lille or Paris. Each student will provide a detailed itinirary to the instructor, who will help the student refine it before validating it. In order to make the trip a culturally worthy experience, students will not be permitted to travel with other native English speakers, and they will preferably travel with a French person of their acquaintance, with whom they will solely speak French.
Seminar on Intercultural Communication
Working Across Cultures: An Introduction to Elements of Intercultural Communication
The intercultural communication module is designed to allow the students to put in place an individual intercultural development plan based on their individual IDI (Intercultural Development Inventory) profile. The objective of this plan is to allow the students to reflect on how best to use their time in France and the activities proposed by the program to develop their intercultural communication competence. A second IDI at the end of the program when the students have returned to the USA will allow all the participants (the students, faculty and administrators) to evaluate how successful the program has been in increasing the intercultural sensitivity of the participants.
The first IDI will be conducted via email before the students arrive in France. This will be followed up by an individual debrief during the pre-rentrée intensive French session where students will be invited to devise their individual intercultural development plan.
Classes will be designed based on the idea that the best way to help students develop intercultural sensitivity and competence is by helping them to reflect on their experiences as they occur. This means having a “just in time” rather than a “just in case” approach.
Students will be invited to use the techniques of ethnography and reflexivity to understand and analyze their experience. An adaptation of the PEER model will be proposed to the students as a framework to use in their interactions with others, especially for the preparation of their weekend trip. The PEER model involves students Preparing, Engaging, Evaluating and Reflecting on their interactions with cultural others.
Below are comments and links to the 5 interdisciplinary cultural seminars and excursions on Lille and the North of France.
Seminar #1 Art & culture in Lille
This seminar includes:
. a guided tour of Lille City Center, Vieux Lille, Euralille
. a Visit of the Palais des Beaux-Arts
Link to Palais des Beaux-Arts :
Seminar #2 History of Lille and the North
This seminar includes :
. A course on the History of Lille and the North and the connection with First World War.
. A visit of Tyne Cot Cemetery, the biggest British cemetery on the European Continent
. A visit of Ypres in Belgium and In Flanders Fields Museum (history of First World War in Flanders)
. A dinner at restaurant Makt 22 on Ypres Grand’Place
. The “Last Post” Military Ceremony at night
Seminar #3 The industrial revolution + visit of the Centre Historique Minier de Lewarde
This seminar includes :
. A presentation of the industrial revolution in the North of France
. A visit of the Centre Historique Minier de Lewarde (coal Mine)
. A debate on the video of Germinal, a film inspired from Emile Zola’s novel
Seminar #4 Les Châteaux de l’Industrie : how former factories were turned into fashion centers and art museums
This seminar includes :
. a course of this topic
. a visit of La Piscine de Roubaix : a former swimming pool turned into an art museum
Seminar #5 The French Gastronomy
This seminar includes
. a course at ISA Engineer school
. a visit of our sensorial analysis laboratory
. a tasting session of sweet and savory products
. a visit of our student brewery
. a dinner in a French restaurant in Lille city center