A Note from the Directors
Bienvenue à Wellesley-in-Aix!
2014-15 marks Wellesley College’s 34th year in France and the WIA program remains committed to helping you to achieve your goal of fluency in French and cultural immersion while taking advantage of the many opportunities in Paris and Provence. You will find that Aix is a relaxed, student-friendly city and no doubt appreciate its architectural treasures, lively outdoor markets and cafés, and surrounding natural beauty, notably the Sainte Victoire mountain immortalized by Cézanne.
We believe that language is the key to successful integration and an authentic cultural experience. In 2012, students rated the WIA program as the top choice among immersion programs in the Abroad 101 Study Abroad Rankings. Program staff and your French hosts support your efforts to become more fluent in French, acquire a deeper understanding of France and gain a different perspective on issues, from social and political matters to educational philosophies to family life. The ability to step outside one's own culture, understand a different viewpoint and communicate in a world language other than English is a valuable skill whether you choose a career in diplomacy, international business or law, politics, international relations or journalism, to name a few.
The program opens in Paris with a pre-session that includes guided museum visits with an art historian, cultural activities, and preparation for your academic and homestay experience in Aix. During this time, you will get to know other program participants and the Directors and also have free time to discover Paris on your own. We will then travel to Aix together where orientation continues and introduces you to Aix, Marseille and, of course, your French hosts and the local universities.
Once in Aix, you will be enrolled in courses at AMU and Sciences Po alongside French and international students and taught by professors from these French institutions. Indeed, the specificity of Wellesley-in-Aix is direct enrollment in French institutions in order to maximize opportunities to interact with French peers in a student-centered environment and to observe and experience a different educational system.
We encourage you to choose the full-year option if at all possible. Why? Because it takes time to adjust to living in a new language and culture and to feel truly comfortable. Most past participants report that a semester passes quickly and that a 9-month sojourn contributes to deeper relationships, greater linguistic progress and integration, and increased self-confidence. Moreover, there is a wealth of sites and regions to explore in Provence and France, each with their own historical, artistic and gastronomic traditions. Regardless of your major, if you plan carefully from your first year, a longer stay is usually possible.
Thanks to its small size and experienced staff, Wellesley-in-Aix is able to offer individual assistance in the form of academic advising and tutorials; health and safety advice; cultural tips and suggestions on meeting locals, exploring the region, and finding extra-curricular activities in which to get involved, etc. In our role as advisors, resource people and "cultural informants", we try to help students make the most of their time in France on all levels: academic, linguistic and personal. Profitez-en!
If you have further questions, fee free to contact the Wellesley-in-Aix Office (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Monique Fecteau, Resident Director in Aix
Scott Gunther, Campus Director, 2014-15