• Prof. Caitlin Killian, Sociology Department.
  • Prof. Marie-Christine Massé, French Department

The French Southwest will provide the cultural context of our intensive French language DIS program.  From its pre-historic sites to its globally competitive high-tech industries (such as Airbus, biotech and aerospace industries), the Southwest of France offers an ideal setting to explore a regional culture that is strongly rooted in history and tradition, but also dynamically involved in modern life, and a major economic center in the European Union.

Our DIS will be based in Toulouse, the regional capital of the Southwest and fourth biggest city in France, also known as the Ville Rose (“Pink City”) for its distinctive brick architecture. Investigating aspects of present day Toulouse, students will discover the cultural and economic vibrancy of a French city with a strong provincial identity.  Toulouse is also host to rich and diverse cultures such as Occitan and Basque cultures, and just to name a few, home to Toulouse-Lautrec and St Exupéry.  While Toulouse was for several centuries in the shadows of Paris, it is slowly recovering its former rank as a major European metropolis.  As such, it faces increasing challenges: how to accommodate a rapid growth, how to upgrade transport and develop housing and infrastructures, in short how to reinvent the city in the 21st century.



Mandatory enrollment in a French class:  Students will be required to enroll in a regular French language course during the spring preceding departure (French 30 or anything more advanced course). This class will constitute the minimum linguistic preparation we require for this DIS.Pre-departure sessions:  In addition, students will have to attend a series of meetings, scheduled as a no-credit recitation, in preparation for our theme and our stay in France.  Lectures, discussions of readings and journals will prepare students for taking full advantage of the activities planned on site.
Dates of the program TBA
Courses The French Conversation/ Civilization course:  The group will be divided in two linguistic levels (French Intermediate/High Intermediate).  Classes will meet Monday through Friday mornings for 3 hours and provide language practice as well as discussions of cultural issues.  The course work will be reinforced by meeting with local speakers.
Workshops Because this region is known for its traditional arts and Toulouse is home to so many traditional artists and craftsmen, we would like students to participate in two workshops in which they will learn first hand the how it is done but mostly the importance of these arts for the region.  The choice is large but we are thinking about workshops relating to food, theater, ceramics, wood sculpting, etc.  One workshop would be in Toulouse over several afternoons and the other one will be a one day workshop in the Pyrenees.
Tutors Studerts will meet with their French tutors twice a week.  The tutors are French students who will take Drew students to various events going on in Toulouse.
Independent time Students will also have independent time to stroll around Toulouse and to interview people in various neighborhoods.
Homestay Students will live with a French host family, eat regional food, and share the lives of the people living in Toulouse. Families only speak French to students and are supposed to make them feel part of the family.  Students have breakfast and dinner with their families during the week and they can arrange to eat meals with their families on Sundays.





Toulouse has a rich architectural heritage, a vibrant student population, and a wealth of museums with some high-profile modern art.  It also has a vibrant cultural life (photography, cinema, opera, dance).Excursions and cultural events around Toulouse will include:  visits of a medieval city such as Carcassonne, and we will visit Toulouse-Latrec’s museum in Albi.

A two-day Excursion in Ariège-Pyrénées:  Visit of the Parc National des Pyrénées, a National Natural Reserve in Ariège, (comprising many of the endangered animals of the region such as the bear of the Pyrenees, the wolf and the Isard).  Students may have the opportunity to follow shepherds and their herds for the transhumance period (practice of changing pastures dating from the Middle Ages, the only problem is that there is no set date for this practice, so it could happen when we are there or it could happen the weekend after if the weather does not cooperate) or at the very least participate in the festivities surrounding this pastoral event.  On the way to Ariege, we will visit the medieval ruins of Monsegur (the Cathar castle site of one of the most terrible massacre of the Cathars). Romanesque churches and monasteries, fortified villages, as well as prehistoric caves.

One night in Paris before returning to the US.




La ville de ToulouseLa Dépêche du Midi


Les Radios à Toulouse