President to Announce New Fund for Bilingual Programs
French President Emmanuel Macron will launch a new fund to support French-English bilingual programs in the U.S. on September 20 during his trip to New York for the opening of the UN General Assembly. Macron’s support of bilingual education has already been evidenced by his decision to “restore” bilingual classes in France.
The fund, which is supported by corporations including Chanel, Axa, Bic, and Best Buy, will provide $150,000 per year for five years to cover human and material needs for bilingual programs launched in public American schools during the last few years. There are some 150 such programs across the country.
According to French Embassy’s Cultural Counselor Bénédicte de Montlaur, “It’s about creating a support mechanism that can make the difference.” Schools benefitting from the fund, which has already reached $1.4 million, will be announced in October, so funding requests are required this month.
Funding specifically for the instruction of French teachers, of which there is a shortage despite the boom in bilingual programs, will also be offered.
France Welcomes Community College Students
In another move to promote relations between these old allies, the Cultural and Scientific Services of the French Embassy in Washington launched a two-part program entitled “Community College Abroad in France”, in partnership with Community Colleges for International Development and the n+i network (50 top engineering schools network in France). The Community College Abroad in France program includes two components: a 10-day, non-degree-granting summer bootcamp in June 2017, and a four-year degree-granting program starting Summer 2017.
Part of the “Transatlantic Friendship and Mobility Initiative”, a dual initiative of the U.S. Department of State and the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs launched in 2014 to increase and diversify student mobility cross-Atlantic, the Community College program echoes the French Embassy’s mission to reach new audiences, in this case, American students traditionally underrepresented in study abroad programs.
Seventeen community college students from across the US specializing in engineering and environmental science took part in this Juen’s 10-day, non-degree-granting pilot bootcamp in Paris. The program included a series of professional and scientific visits to learn about air quality control (Ballon d’air de Paris), environmental management practices for water distribution (Usine d’Austerlitz), innovative urban transportation, and lighting management in Paris.
Offering graduate studies abroad, the four-year degree-granting program in France is open to a small group of hand-selected students, following the completion of their two-year Associate degree at a U.S. community college with honors. Selected students are offered the opportunity to complete a Diplôme d’ingénieur (Engineering Degree) within four years of graduating from a community college.
Students begin the program with a pre-Diplôme d’ingénieur, a preparatory year in France, which allows them to become acquainted with new methods of study and to strengthen their French language skills. This is followed by a 3-year work-study Diplôme d’ingénieur at one of the 50 top engineering schools of the n+i network.
The program is designed to offer students professionalized training while enabling them to auto finance their degree. Students attend classes part-time while completing a paid part-time internship.
The French Embassy also offers one student a scholarship to finance the pre-Diplôme d’ingénieur year in France. This year, the laureate is Daniela Markovic from the honors college at Lonestar College in Houston Texas. She will start July 2017.
Community College Abroad in France aims to open up the classic junior-year-abroad experience to community college students. Amid soaring tuition prices in the US, they make up a significant portion of America’s post-high school student body but rarely find the means or programs to do some of their studies internationally.
A according to the Community College Research Center at Columbia University, 39% of all undergraduates in the 2015-16 school year in the U.S. were at two-year community colleges, but only 2% of them studied abroad.
Focused on students studying engineering and environmental science, the program – which aims to expand next year – also brings top talent from U.S. schools to France, and in doing so, gives the American community college system a chance to counter enduring stigmas, sometimes even among its own students.