HiF functions with the assumption that all students will speak French most of the time; to that effect, the program maximizes opportunities for sustained practice.

“Seulement en Français”

Upon arrival, students will sign a pledge to speak only French with students of the program, in their home stay, in Paris universities, during all HiF activities, and in all Reid Hall spaces. 

The language pledge is an integral part of our program. The more students speak French, the easier it will become for them. Presumably, this is one important reason why they choose HiF.

While at first it might seem difficult, awkward, or not “cool,” speaking French with the group, members will become absolutely natural once the habit is established. Students should remember that the level of their overall fluency in French will depend on their commitment to speak and write French as much as possible during their stay in France.

Those who completely immerse themselves can expect to achieve an Intermediate-High to Advanced level on the American Council of Teachers of Foreign Language (ACTFL) oral proficiency scale.

Language Pledge and Technology

  • The multitude of great electronic tools of communication can be detrimental to student linguistic progress while abroad. Indeed, switching back and forth from French to English (on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) or streaming English-language programs will hamper students’ progress.
  • At Reid Hall, students must abide by the HiF language pledge. Staff will be speaking solely in French and will remind students that, à Hamilton, on parle français tout le temps! 
  • Program computers are reserved for course-related work, not for social media, especially not for social media in English.
  • Similarly, HiF hopes that students will use person-to-person communication as often as possible with the director and other staff. Every occasion to speak French is an opportunity to improve their language skills.

Prepare for Immersion

Here are a few tips for students to polish their French until the time they leave.

  • Practice out loud
  • Find someone with whom you can speak French
  • Listen to French podcasts, vlogs and YouTube in French
  • Watch series in French on Netflix (with or without subtitles) such as “Call My Agent” (“Dix pourcent”); “The Returned” (“Les Revenants”); “The Hookup Plan”(“Plan Coeur”); “Deep” (“En Immersion”); “The Break” (“La Trêve”); “Spiral” (“Engrenages”); “Marseille”; “No Second Chance” (“Une Chance de trop”); “La Mante”; “A Very Secret Service”; “Le Chalet”
  • Read newspapers and magazines in French online such as Le Monde, Libération, Le Huffington Post en France; Les Echos (for financial, economic news and other news), Les Inrockuptibles (culture, music, movies)

French people of all backgrounds and ages are generally well-informed about events in their own country and abroad. Discussions and debates—about politics, films, books, music, food, etc.—often occur over a meal or coffee, so students should try to learn about a number of these areas in their own country, in France and in the world.

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Student Blog

Students share their discoveries, challenges, and adventures during the Hamilton in France program.


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